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June 1, 2011 / shawnbrookwilliams

8 Graphic Novels I Recommend

People are always asking me, “What graphic novels do you recommend?” This short list below is not based on any particular genre, release date, format, or what have you – just some books I’ve read and that I like – and there are many more great ones out there too!

BLANKETS
by Craig Thompson
592 pages
ISBN 9781891830433
released August 5, 2003
Blankets is an almost 600 page autobiographical story set in rural Wisconsin. Craig tackles relationships with: his family, the Christian religion, and a love interest he meets at a youth camp. This melancholy black and white graphic novel really captures young love with beautiful ink brushed pages. One of my all time favorites.

TRICKED
by Alex Robinson
320 pages
ISBN 1891830732
released August 23, 2005
Tricked is a funny and heartfelt story of about 6 characters that loosely interact with each other. These folks from all walks of life; musician, waitress, older man etc… are wonderfully written and understood.

BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON
by Dash Shaw
720 pages
ISBN 9781560979159
released June 4, 2008
Bottomless Belly Button is very offbeat (one of the cast has a frog head, but it’s hardly mentioned), but devilishly interesting. On one hand BBB is about exploring a dysfunctional family and another it’s just a goofy mature tale.

I KILL GIANTS
by Joe Kelly and J. M. Ken Niimura
184 pages
ISBN 1607060922
released May 26, 2009
A young girl with very serious problems at home escapes  in her imagination, sorta. The manga influenced art is great and adds another level to the imaginative story. A moving tale that takes a little while to figure out where it is going, and it takes a while to get this yarn out of your head afterward too.

BLACK HOLE
by Charles Burns
368 pages
ISBN 0375714723

released January 8, 2008
Charles Burns is an excellent artist with strong blacks and great line work. This is a really sexy twisted kind of tale. Weird characters and the story wanders a little, but the art is amazing. This is one of those books 12 year olds read with a flashlight under the covers and hide it from their folks.

CONTRACT WITH GOD
by Will Eisner
208 pages
ISBN 039332804X
released October 1978
Contract With God is often considered the first long form comic or graphic novel in history. This autobiographical story features growing up Jewish and poor in a tenement building in New York . Lots of revolutionary storytelling tricks used to there finest. A solid book by a master of the comics medium.

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS
by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley
224 pages
ISBN 1563893428
released February 1986
Perhaps the best Batman in the comic book format; gritty and dark. A semi-retired Bruce Wayne and a female Robin battle a new twist on the Joker street gangs. With a pretty cool Superman versus Batman duel also. Very Noir with some very great art.

FUN HOME
by Alison Bechdel
232 pages
ISBN 0618871713
released June 5, 2007

A young woman raised in a funeral home with a sketchy upbringing. This is often labeled a kind of Lesbian book, but I remember that as only a small subplot. A little depressing at times but also a kind of funny, quirky book.

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One Comment

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  1. butchjax / Jun 1 2011 10:17 pm

    I haven’t read (or heard of) any except Fun Home which I read last year or so. I enjoy her regular comics and found this quite interesting as well. I’ll probably come back to this list at some point when I have a bit of time to read more.

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