When I say graphic novels, I am referring to, basically, extra-long comic books, bound in book form, or collected editions of monthly comic books. The collected editions generally unite around 6 months worth of comic book, usually collecting the complete story arc. Original graphic novels are long-form stories, usually not released before in a monthly fashion. Make sense? If not, and you want to know, ask me. I'll try to help you understand.
So, anyway, here are my top five, not necessarily in any order, it's hard enough limiting it to five. These are all books that I would recommend if someone were to ask for something to read and had never read comic books before. I'll mention the writer and artist names. If there's just one name, that means he wrote and illustrated it.
Blankets by Craig Thompson. An original autobiographical graphic novel. Set in Craig's adolescence. It's a very touching tale of growing up and young love. It tells of his first love, his struggles with his home family life, some of his difficulties with religion, and how he attempted to grow up. Very, very good stuff.
Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon. Based on the true story of a group of lions that were set free from a zoo by the bombing of Baghdad by American troops. A very emotional and politically charged tale. I can honestly say I did not see the ending coming, and that's pretty rare for me. The art is as incredible as the writing, and the animals look like animals, while still conveying relatable emotions.
Bone by Jeff Smith. This was a monthly comic, now collected in two versions. All in one volume, as thick as the really big telephone books and in black and white, as the individual issues were. There is also a series of smaller collections that have been colored by Scholastic, with Smith's blessing. I like both. Bone is a great fantasy tale, with a healthy blend of comedy. Jeff Smith is truly a master of comedic timing in graphic form.
Mouse Guard by David Peterson. What if field mice had their own culture, built their own cities? What would it be like? Mouse Guard presents this story. The Mouse Guard are mice charged with escorting normal citizens between the distant mice cities, keeping them safe. The writing was wonderful, with a great story. And the art is breathtaking. I had never thought of crabs as being deadly until I read this story.
Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. This is a story set in a future where Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and all their comtemporaries have been forced into retirement by a younger, more violent generation of superheroes. In this story, they have to come out of retirement in order to save the world from the younger "heroes." Very intelligent and touching story, and Alex Ross' painted artwork shows us how superheroes might really look if they walked among us today.
There you go. My favorite graphic novels.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to searching for a place to live in Draper. I start work there on Monday, and I don't want to have to make the 40 minute commute any more than I have to.
I tend to discover new things about myself in the books I read, the music to which I listen, and the movies and tv shows I watch. I'm going to discuss these discoveries here. I may occasionally deviate from this plan, but that's my choice, right?