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  • Ross Johnson 2:00 pm on 2018/03/20 Permalink
    Tags: beginner's guide, blankets, graphic novels, i kill giants, , ,   

    12 Graphic Novels for Beginners 

    So you want to get into graphic novels. There is no question the comics medium isn’t ubiquitous in pop culture, but that doesn’t make it any less intimidating for the newbie. That cultural saturation also has its downsides: the stream of superhero movies (many of them great) tends to reinforce the notion that comics are all about flights and tights. There are brilliant books about superheroes, yes. But there are also funny and poignant autobiographical comics, moving takes on history, as well as works of science fiction, epic fantasy, horror, and adventure. Here are just a few suggestions of comics and graphic novels to get almost anyone started on a new reading obsession.

    Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
    Saga has become one of the most successful and buzz-worthy comics ever, and one that’s commonly used as an example of everything modern comics can be. It’s a sci-fi love story, a war story, and a refugee tale that takes place in the middle of a bitter, bloody conflict between the winged citizens of Landfall and the horned, magic-wielding citizens of its moon, Wreath. A prison guard, Alana, falls in love with her charge, a warrior named Marko. The two escape, and the book begins with the birth of their daughter Hazel, a creature both sides of the conflict would like to exploit, or destroy. The two struggle to keep their family together in the face of hatred and pursuit by a variety of colorful creatures. It’s a brilliant marriage of art and story, with artist Staples capturing genuine emotion alongside stunning vistas and truly weird creatures.

    March, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
    Congressman and revered icon John Lewis is among the last people you’d expect to write a graphic novel, especially one as confident and successful as this three-part memoir of the civil rights movement. Inspired by a 1958 comic book that inspired him, “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story,” March tells of the movement from Lewis’ perspective, centered around the events of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march. By talking personally rather than broadly about his life and those years, Lewis and co-author Andrew Aydin go well beyond the standard history lesson. The story is inspiring, the black-and-white art (by Nate Powell) is gorgeous. March establishes one of our unlikeliest graphic novel writers among the very best.

    Bone, by Jeff Smith
    The three main characters are cutesy, whimsical blobs named Phoney, Smiley, and Fone…but that’s a trick. Writer/artist Jeff Smith lures you in with the promise of a lighthearted story of the three Bone brothers trying to find their way back to Boneville, but just as you’re thinking that the all-ages tale is charming, but little else, the cousins are drawn into the dark story of Thorn and her secretive grandmother. Their rural valley is threatened by an ominous presence, the Lord of the Locusts, and the Bones reluctantly undertake a legitimate heroes’ journey to save the valley. It’s full of adventure and heartbreak, and with a resonance that only increases over the expansive page-count.

    All-Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
    Doomed planet. Desperate scientists. Last hope. Kindly couple. That’s how writer Morrison and artist Quitely sum up Superman’s origin in the book’s opening, and it sets the stage for a tale that gets right to the heart of the superhero myth. Superman is given a death sentence and, rather than struggle to save himself, he undertakes a series of adventures (Herculean labors, really) that will ensure that he leaves the world better than he found it. The tasks are alternately action-packed, colorful, fun, and bizarre; the book refuses to shy away from the big and bold, and the glorious ending makes the title literal. It’s a distillation of everything great about Superman, and caped heroes in general.

    Blankets, by Craig Thompson
    At a time when comics were still struggling to attract a wider audience, Thompson’s autobiographical work drew notice outside of the usual circles. It wasn’t the first graphic novel to tackle childhood drama and mature themes, or even the thousandth, but the critics’ acclaim wasn’t misplaced. With art that’s sometimes realistic, sometimes dreamy and surreal, Thompson tells a story about growing up in a devoutly religious midwestern family and dealing with abuse, bullying, first love, and first loss. It’s a great book about the weird, confusing march through adolescense, both the good and the bad.

    Lumberjanes, by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke A. Allen
    If you’re looking for a girl-centric adventure for young and old alike, Lumberjanes is an excellent place to start. “Friendship to the max!” …is the motto of five pals at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, where mystery, excitement, and monsters are the norm, and a diverse group of campers is more than ready to take on a variety of supernatural threats. The Lumberjanes are a little punk rock, very funny, and extremely tough, and the book is a delightful story of friendship and bravery from an creative team made up entirely of incredibly talented women.

    I Kill Giants, by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Nimura
    Kelly and Nimura’s I Kill Giants introduces us to Barbara Thorson, who battles giant monsters. Except that she doesn’t, not really. Her fantasy world is a coping mechanism she uses to deal with depression and feelings of powerlessness in the real one. The magical land that she inhabits ultimately becomes a trap: she’s lashing out and isolating herself, retreating further and further into her own mind and avoiding reality entirely. It’s a poignant story about growing up and learning to face the world and ask for help. It’s also a powerful example of the ways comics can tell fantastical stories with real-world relevance.

    The Vision, by Tom King, Garbiel Walta, Michael Walsh, Mike Del Mundo, and Jordie Bellaire
    There are brilliant superhero books that do all the things that super-comics should do, and then there are others that take those tropes and go off in wildly different directions. Synthezoid Avenger the Vision builds himself a wife and twin teenage children before moving to the suburbs to live out an entirely ordinary life. Of course, it’s not nearly that easy, and the family’s shared obsession with “normality” leads each of them deeper into the darkness. It’s creepy, poignant, and a big departure from typical superhero action.

    My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Ferris
    Visually imaginative and emotionally powerful, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is told in the form of a diary of a 10-year-old growing up in Chicago in the late ‘60s. Through a prism of B-horror movies and pulp magazines of the era, Karen Reyes recounts the murder of her upstairs neighbor, Anka, a survivor of the holocaust. In exploring Anka’s life in Nazi Germany and beyond, Karen draws connections with her own life, despite Anka’s seeming, at first, so incredibly different. The story is gripping, and the unusual art style is a perfect complement.

    This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
    Rose Wallace has been spending summers at fictional Awago Beach for as long as she can remember, but the comfortable sameness of the place is slowly giving way to the restlessness of young adulthood. This coming-of-age drama of bickering parents and life-threatening secrets is the first graphic novel to ever have won the coveted Caldecott Medal for children’s books, but it’s really about the transition into young adulthood. Mariko Tamaki’s story is charming and real, while the pencil illustration from her cousin Jillian Tamaki is gorgeous.

    Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi
    Persepolis is a funny, poignant, and deeply personal autobiographical tale by graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi. As a child living in Iran during the 1970s and ’80s, Satrapi witnessed firsthand the tumult of the Islamic revolution and the war with Iraq that followed. No dry history lesson, this is the story of a young girl’s day-to-day life under an oppressive, misogynistic regime. It’s sometimes horrific, but ultimately a masterful and deeply felt tale of a woman’s resilience.

    Wytches, by Scott Snyder, Jock, and Matt Hollingsworth
    There are many great horror comics to recommend, but for a creepy standalone, this atmospheric tale of family history that won’t stay buried is in a league of its own. The story finds the Rook family (Sailor and her parents) in a small, isolated town, having moved to escape scrutiny following the suspicious disappearance of Sailor’s bully. Naturally, that’s not the end of it: there are creatures in the woods with a deep interest in the family (non-spoiler-hint: they’re witches). It’s dark, psychological, and disturbing with lurking horror, damaged families, and teenagers called upon to be strong in the face of disbelief and hostility from the grown-ups.

    So you’re a beginner—what’s going to be your first graphic novel?

    The post 12 Graphic Novels for Beginners appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Joel Cunningham 8:00 pm on 2018/03/12 Permalink
    Tags: 20th century boys, , essenials, , graphic novels, kate beaton, scott pilgrim, sin city, vision   

    Modern Graphic Novel Classics for Every Genre 

    When a corny pleb like me is reading graphic novels, you know they’re a big deal. Over the past decade, the medium has become immensely popular, and new soon-to-be classics are published every year. Whether you are a noir fanatic with a penchant for macho detectives or a sci-fi buff who prefers stories that take place on a distant planet, there is a graphic novel out there for you. List your favorites modern classics in the comments!

    Science Fiction

    Spill Zone, written by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Alex Puvilland
    Scott Westerfeld has written several YA series, including the Uglies and Midnighters. This is his first graphic novel. It’s pretty fantastic. Several years ago, a strange disaster befell Poughkeepsie, New York. Addison, a young photographer, documents the “spill zone” from her motorcycle. It’s a dangerous task. The zone is filled with the undead, or as Addison calls them, “meat puppets.” In the zone, there are strange lights in the sewers, levitating objects, and a wolf-like creature the size of a building. Addison keeps herself safe by following a strict set of rules. Never get off your bike. Never touch anything.

    Descender: Tin Stars, written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen
    Ten years ago, the people of Niyrata depended on robots for nearly everything. That changed after the Harvester Attacks, when gigantic robots appeared outside of the United Galactic Council’s 9 planets and killed billions of people before disappearing. The bot backlash was severe. Robots were destroyed systematically. Some believe the key to learning more about the Harvesters, lies in their codex, a machine’s version of DNA. When its discovered that a child robot named Tim-21 shares the same codex as The Harvesters, forces across space will try to track the boy bot down.


    Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter, written by Richard Stark, adapted and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke
    Darwyn Cooke’s graphic novel is an adaptation of Richard Stark’s 1962 book of the same name. Since its publication, Stark’s novel has been transformed into several movies, but this book might be its best adaptation. The book’s central character, Parker, is a bad man, a criminal who makes his living in heists. When a heist goes wrong and his woman double-crosses him, Parker makes those responsible pay up in a big way.

    Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, written and illustrated by Frank Miller
    Featuring one of noir’s most ruthless dames, Frank Miller’s second Sin City volume follows one man’s tale of obsession and revenge. Dwight is Miller’s central character, he is a dangerous man who is barely in control of what he calls “the monster.” Dwight does all he can to keep the monster leashed, avoiding his triggers: women and booze. When the twisted love of his life does him wrong again, he lets the monster run free.


    Hark! A Vagrant, written and illustrated Kate Beaton
    The world has a crush on Kate Beaton. At least the world I live in. Her comics are infinitely cool and totally hilarious and cover everything from the bloodlust of the French Revolution to Austen-mania. If you want a straight-talk retelling of Jane Eyre, she’s got comic for that. You want to learn about America’s founding fathers while cackling at the grouchiness of John Adams? She’s definitely got a comic for that. There’s nothing Beaton can’t do.

    The Influencing Machine, written by Brooke Gladstone, illustrated by Josh Neufeld
    Brooke Gladstone is a cohost on NPR’s On the Media, a Peabody Award-winning show that analyzes the inner workings of the media industry. Her graphic novel takes a wide view of journalism, detailing the history of media from the hieroglyphic age to the modern era. Gladstone’s book is an education. She proves time and again that news has always been complicated. Josh Neufeld’s illustrations perfectly accompany Gladstone’s text. Neufeld is the author of his own non-fiction graphic novel masterpiece, A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge.

    Fun Home, written and illustrated by Alison Bechdel
    Since its 2007 publication, Alison Bechdel’s darkly humorous memoir has become a classic. Bechdel often renders her unconventional upbringing through literary comparisons. Her father is Jay Gatsby and Daedalus (Greek Mythological craftsman of the labyrinth) rolled into one. Her childhood was indeed a labyrinth, one she struggles to navigate even in its retelling. Fun Home (which served as the basis for a successful Broadway musical) follows the author from childhood to young adulthood, when her closeted gay father commits suicide. She analyzes his incongruous life via his obsessions, unpredictable temper and disarming charm.


    Nimona, written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson
    Superheroes may save the day, but villains have more fun. Nimona is a crime-loving shapeshifter, a force of chaos. She delights in spreading mischief and mayhem. Her life is missing just one thing: a partner in crime. Enter Lord Ballister Blackheart, a vengeful supervillain. Blackheart and Nimona would be an unbeatable duo, if Nimona could play along. After all, even villains have rules. But aimless destruction, Nimona’s forte, isn’t really a team sport. A graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson, Nimona is a comic powerhouse with a bittersweet backstory and stellar artwork—and is currently being adapted as a major animated feature.

    Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, written and illustrated by Bryan Lee O’Malley
    The first of a six-volume series, O’Malley’s work chronicles the life and times of a Canadian 23-year-old man-child. In a band, sharing a studio, happily jobless, and dating a high schooler, Scott is pushing against adulthood with all his might. But that’s until Ramona Flowers, an uber cool American, invades his dreams. She’s got seven evil ex-boyfriends, and if Scott wants a chance, he’s gonna need to conquer them all. In a rare feat, the 2010 film adaptation is also a modern classic, bringing the manga sensibility of the comics to life.


    Vision Vol 1: Little Worse Than a Man, written by Tom King, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta
    Perfect. This book is perfect! In Tom King’s take on the enigmatic Avengers character, the synthezoid superhero is attempting to live in suburban bliss with the family he created. The Visions include his homicidal Stepford wife Virginia and well-meaning teenage twins Vin and Viv. Each of them is obsessed with becoming more human-like. Each fails miserably. This book starts weird, and just gets weirder. One of my recent favorites—also check out Vol. 2, in which the rather grim story reaches its natural, inevitable conclusion.

    Superman: Red Son, written by Mark Millar, illustrated by Dave Johnson
    In your fanboy dreams, did you ever wonder what the world would be like if Superman was raised a Soviet? I sure didn’t, but I’m so glad that Mark Millar did. In the story of comrade Superman, alternate versions of Wonder Woman and Batman both make appearances.


    20th Century Boys, written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa
    When Kenji and his friends were young, they lived for rock n’ roll, outdoor adventure, and manga. Now, they are all grown up and Kenji spends his days working at a convenience store and taking care of his sister’s kid. Life has become dull. That changes when the world of his childhood starts reappearing in strange ways, ones that may be related to a dangerous cult leader.

    The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home, written and illustrated by Konami Kanata
    Just a sweet little manga about a kitten named Chi! Beware: this book is way adorable. Its cuteness may be over the top for some readers. But not for me! Konami Kanata tells the story of a lost kitten who is found and adopted by the Yamada family. As Chi delights in her new home, she begins to learn the ways of a house kitten.

    What comics would you add to our list(s)?

    The post Modern Graphic Novel Classics for Every Genre appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Brian Boone 9:47 pm on 2018/03/06 Permalink
    Tags: drawn from the facts, , graphic novels, , smile   

    10 Essential Non-Fiction Graphic Novels 

    Graphic novels may look like a simple volume of comic books or comic strips bound together, but they’re closer to works of “sequential art,” singular stories told in the form of illustrations and words. The graphic novel has emerged as a major storytelling medium over the last few decades thanks to visionary artists and writers like Alan Moore and Craig Thompson. It’s such a sensitive, intimate form that, by its visual nature, allows for so much visceral detail, it has become a useful tool for authors and artists to tell their own true stories—either their life stories, family stories, or world events that shaped them. Here are 10 of the most profound and fascinating non-fiction graphic novels. 

    The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography
    The man we all know as the Dalai Lama, because he’s been the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists around the world for more than 75 years, was once just a toddler named Llamo Thondup. Then he took on the name Tenzin Gyatso and became the fourteenth Dalai Lama. While he’s been a world and religious leader for longer than most of us have been alive, his life remains shrouded in mystery, in part because he lives in exile in India because of the Chinese takeover of Tibet. The 14th Dalai Lama’s amazing and fascinating life story, which runs concurrently with some of the biggest events in 20th and 21st century Asian history, has never been told better than in Tetsu Saiwai’s graphic tale, The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography. Saiwai presents the story in the traditional Japanese manga style, befitting this almost unbelievable true life tale of cultural heroism.

    Tetris: The Games People Play
    As great as many of them turn out to be, most video games don’t have that interesting of an origin story—somebody at a software company gets an idea, 100 people develop it, millions get entertained. The story of the classic puzzle game Tetris is far more interesting…and harrowing. Created by a Russian computer scientist named Alexey Pajiitnov during the Soviet era, the story of Tetris is one of corporate manipulation, government interference, and a peak behind the Iron Curtain. Author and artist Box Brown also fits his style to the material, drawing in a boxy, blocky style, suggesting the endless shapes of Tetris itself. 

    Maus: A Survivor’s Tale
    Maus is the Citizen Kane or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band of graphic novels—a pioneer of the form; rarely have others that came after come close to doing what Art Spiegelman did. In 1992, it became the first ever graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize. It’s the autobiographical tale of Spiegelman coming to grips with his father’s haunting and devastating memories of enduring the Holocaust as a European Jew. Spiegelman depicts those scenes as a literal cat-and-mouse game: Cats are cast as Nazis, and mice as Jewish people. That sounds flippant, but it’s anything but—Maus sensitively humanizes the Jewish war experience. Readers will be chilled and forever changed by what deceptively looks like Sylvester and Tweety Bird.

    Fun Home
    Alison Bechdel is a veteran cartoonist probably best known for the “Bechdel Test.” A viral idea taken from a 1985 strip, a movie only successfully passes the test, and is deemed less sexist than the usual Hollywood fare, if two women are shown having a conversation about something besides a man. Bechdel is also the author of, to date, the only graphic novel ever turned into a Tony-winning Broadway musical. Her 2007 memoir Fun Home grapples with lots of Big Issues, including family, sexuality, and death. Bechdel grew up in a rural Pennsylvania funeral home her father operated. Throughout the book, Bechdel replays multiple incidents from her childhood as she tries to make sense as to why her father stayed a closeted homosexual for so long, as well as why he made a tragic decision.

    Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea
    Great journalists observe first and then report, making sense of their subject along the way. In that regard Guy Delisle is a journalist and a cartoonist, providing de facto reports about what daily life is like in the far-flung locals where he travels with his wife, a physician with Doctors Without Borders. In addition to works about Myanmar (Burma Chronicles) and China (Shenzen: A Travelogue from China) is Delisle’s most revelatory work: Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea. He’s the right man for the job: Delisle wasn’t allowed to use a camera or smuggle out photos, but he could draw his experiences there and bring back to the West to demonstrate what life is really like for regular people in the closed-off nation.

    Muhammad Ali
    Okay, this one does kind of feel like a comic book, if only because it’s about a guy who was the closest thing this planet ever got to Superman. Sybille Titeux and Amazing Ameziane use striking panel art to tell the complete life story—the good parts and the bad parts—of “The Greatest,” boxer and Civil Rights activist Muhammad Ali. Sometimes graphic novels are a great way to get reluctant readers (kids especially) to pick up a book, and this one might do the trick, providing plenty of context to show not only how Ali was great but why he was so great.

    Non-fictional graphic novels are a great way to learn about the world around us, but they’re also a source for relatable, “small” tales of an individual’s experience. Smile is that kind of story, and it’s also the story of how its cartoonist became a cartoonist. Raina Telegemeier suffered terrible mouth injury as a child, and it required extensive surgeries. Smile details that harrowing journey, as well as the verbal abuse she suffered at the hands of her classmates, all of which led her on an inward journey into the world of…sequential storytelling. (It also includes a very visceral, you-are-there retelling of the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.)

    The Beats: A Graphic History
    With his long-running American Splendor series, irascible crank and cartoonist Harvey Pekar was a major proponent of biographical cartooning. He’s one of many who worked on this animated textbook about an equally important American artistic movement: the Beats. A group that included people as artistically disruptive and often strange as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg need to have their stories told through an unconventional means. A thoroughly honest self-made outsider like Pekar is the one to tell them. 

    This graphic novel is both a history book as well as a memoir, which makes it more impactful as essential examples of both genres. Author Marjane Satrapi was born to a middle-class family in Tehran, Iran, in the ‘60s, and this two-volume recollection shows what life was like before, during, and after that country’s Islamic Revolution. It’s a tale of broad change, but also small change, and how big movements can affect one’s very perception of themselves.

    The Elements of Style (Illustrated)
    As important as it is, and as many times as we’ve all consulted it, let’s be honest: The Elements of Style is a real slog. It’s a grammar and punctuation textbook, which is just going to be dry, no matter how it’s approached. Or…not? The arcane and arbitrary rules of the English come alive when illustrator Maria Kalman applies her warm, classic, and even funny artwork to the words of original authors William Strunk and E.B. White. The result is what any great book, fiction or non-fiction, all-words or graphic-based should do: Make the reader understand.

    What non-fiction comics are on your must list?

    The post 10 Essential Non-Fiction Graphic Novels appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 6:30 pm on 2017/09/25 Permalink
    Tags: graphic novels   

    12 Graphic Novels with Iconic Artwork 

    There’s a reason the word “graphic novels”  are called “novels”—these works are just as complex, deeply-imagined, and surprising as any work of prose literature. What graphic novels bring to the table, above and beyond their literary value, is the artwork, the visual expression of thoughts and ideas. The 10 books listed here are iconic examples of the magic that happens when you combine a novelistic approach to storytelling with some of the most instantly recognizable art ever produced.

    Ant Colony, by Michael DeForge
    One glance at Ant Colony and you know you’re about to experience a singular artistic vision. The story of a black ant colony under attack by red ants is stark, bold, and quirky, with the ants depicted with their internal organs showing and the landscape a phantasmagoria of dog-headed spiders and pastel-colored wastelands. You’ll be able to recognize DeForge’s work for the rest of your life—and be unable to ignore it.

    The Book of Genesis, by R. Crumb
    R. Crumb’s work is perhaps some of the most iconic in the modern day, so unique in its comical grotesqueness, even people who have never picked up a comic or graphic novel recognize it. The Book of Genesis is near-ideal pairing of Crumb’s aesthetic and subject matter—in this case a faithful, literal depiction of the Book of Genesis—perhaps the most subversive approach he could have taken. The art is some of the best Crumb has ever produced, hands down.

    Ghost World, by Daniel Clowes
    Clowes’ style has become instantly recognizable. The clean, balanced compositions of his panels are almost a series of collected still life drawings, and his soft, subtle style has sometimes been described as “no style,” which is probably one of the highest compliments you can get as an artist. There areo many iconic panels and classic works to choose from, but Ghost World is probably Clowes’ most successful marriage of art and story.

    The Initiates, by Étienne Davodeau
    The muted color art in this wonderful graphic novel, in which writer and artist Davodeau and winemaker Richard Leroy attempt to live and learn each other’s vocations, is photographic and unshowy. Depicting small moments without fuss or drama, they inspire a sense of calm as they tell the surprisingly dense and deeply-considered story of two people exchanging points of view in a substantial way.

    Sin City, by Frank Miller
    Frank Miller is one of the most famous comic book artists of all time, codifying a noir-inspired black-and-white palette (with some powerful exceptions) that packs more punch than most full-color work. The high-contrast style favors bold images over subtleties and details, yet encompasses a complete fictional universe, and remains a singular achievement in graphic novels.

    Watchmen, by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins
    Moore’s infamous deconstruction of superhero stories, drawn by Dave Gibbons and colored by John Higgins, is easily recognizable due to its carefully planned artwork. While the style of the figures and backgrounds may not seem particularly notable to the untrained eye, the care surrounding layouts, color choices, and recurring imagery combine to give Watchmen a precise structure that is slowly revealed through repeated readings.

    Scott Pilgrim’s Precious little Life, by Bryan Lee O’Malley
    Inspired by Japanese shōnen Manga, O’Malley brought a distinctively American spin on the style, resulting in a style and look that is specific to him. Whether or not the high-energy, action-packed story of confusing love, super-powered ex-boyfriends, and terrible rock bands is your cup of tea, the art is visually arresting and distinctive from the cover onward.

    Wytches, by Scott Snyder and Jock (Mark Simpson)
    Jock’s watercolor-inspired artwork in Snyder’s influential horror book is muted and cool in the literal sense, all blues and grays and blue-greens. It’s also made to look distressed and distorted, as if water damaged, very old, or both. When color does invade the page, it’s shocking, and the combination of all these techniques makes it one of the most distinctive recent graphic novels to his shelves.

    Tank Girl, by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett
    Frenetic, punk, and immediate, the original Tank Girl looks, at first glance, almost unfinished. The details sneak up on you, and the subtle way every image seems to be in motion, perhaps when you glance away for a second, slowly combines to create a unique visual experience. Mimicking the anarchic energy of the story and characters, Hewlett’s style has proved infinitely influential.

    To the Heart of the Storm, by Will Eisner
    Eisner’s one of the most influential comic artists of all time, and his compact, clean style—developed over years spent under strict budget constraints that forced him to be very economic in his storytelling—is on ideal display in his 1991 masterpiece, an autobiographical work exploring the immigrant experience in America in the early 20th century.

    Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    The artwork that accompanies Bechdel’s heartbreaking story about her childhood, in which her growing awareness of her sexuality is twinned by her growing awareness of her father’s sexuality and the harm his denial of it causes, is intricate yet cartoonish. At first glance it seems immature, dashed-off, harmless. Only by paying attention do you see small details that paint a deeper story of anger and pain subverting the loose style of the art.

    Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
    Satrapi’s tale of growing up in Iran is a must-read for anyone curious about the world outside their own experience, and it is illustrated in a bold, simple style that seems easy and no-frills at first. The simplicity of the art makes it easier for the reader to engage in the complexities of the story, with a resulting style that is instantly recognizable.

    The post 12 Graphic Novels with Iconic Artwork appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Saskia Lacey 4:25 pm on 2017/04/17 Permalink
    Tags: graphic novels,   

    5 Fantastic Coming-of-Age Graphic Novels 

    Whether you’re battling boredom in the suburbs or attending a magical school for mutants, growing up is hard to do. Trekking to adulthood is a universal journey, and teenage angst is a language we all speak. The settings of the following graphic novels may be worlds apart, but each focuses on a coming-of-age, delayed or otherwise.

    Ghost World, by Daniel Clowes
    An oldie but a goodie, Ghost World continues to feel of the moment, despite its lack of tech references. Enid and Rebecca—recent high school graduates and giggly misanthropes—do not text. Instead, they inflict their mopey brand of mean IRL. Everyone is a target: their small town, its inhabitants, and sometimes, each other. As they shuffle towards adulthood, will these two cynics stick together or part ways?

    American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang
    A National Book Award finalist, Yang’s graphic novel follows Jin Wang, a student who longs to fit in with his peers. But, as the only Chinese-American in his class, Jin has no such luck. His misadventures, one of which includes an ill-advised perm, are mirrored by two other interweaving tales. Yang’s work speaks to anyone who has been on the outside.

    SuperMutant Magic Academy, by Jillian Tamaki
    Despite obvious parallels, Tamaki’s academy is no Hogwarts. Her characters are as likely to conjure absurd acts of performance art as they are spells and potions. Episodic in nature and mischievous in tone, this book about magically inclined teens is a quick and delightful read.

    Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol
    Anya just wants someone to talk to. She’s worried about her weight, the cute boy at school, and steering clear of Dima, a fellow Russian student who reminds her of everything she’s trying not to be. Feeling disconnected and friendless, Ana meets a young girl who seems like the answer to all of her issues. The only problem? She’s 100% dead. Vera Brosgol’s brilliant graphic novel is part murder mystery, part ode to awkward adolescence.

    Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, by Bryan Lee O’Malley
    The first of a six-volume series, O’Malley’s work chronicles the life and times of a Canadian 23-year-old man-child. In a band, sharing a studio, happily jobless, and dating a high schooler, Scott is pushing against adulthood with all his might. But that’s until Ramona Flowers, an uber cool American, invades his dreams. She’s got seven evil ex-boyfriends, and if Scott wants a chance, he’s gonna need to conquer them all.

    Did we miss any of your favorite coming-of-age graphic novels?

    The post 5 Fantastic Coming-of-Age Graphic Novels appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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