Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Graphic Novels You Should Probably Read

Who says graphic novels can't be stunning? Artistic? Moving?

Graphic novels are just another medium to tell a story. And people who knock the format don't understand they are knocking a vessel, a medium for storytelling, and not the actual stories themselves. This is a total injustice to some fabulous works of art out there.

The graphic novel memoir is one of my favorite mediums for storytelling. Here are some beautiful graphic novels that I'd eventually like to own.

Blankets (New Hardcover Edition)Blankets

"Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith." -GoodReads Rating: 4.09

The Complete PersepolisThe Complete Persepolis

"Here, in one volume, is Marjane Satrapi's best-selling, internationally acclaimed memoir-in-comic-strips. 'Persepolis' is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna, facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming, both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up. Edgy, searingly observant and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom." -GoodReads Rating: 4.29

Fun Home: A Family TragicomicFun Home: A Family Tragicomic

"This breakout book by Alison Bechdel takes its place alongside the unnerving, memorable, darkly funny family memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr. It's a father-daughter tale pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings and like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis a story exhilaratingly suited to the graphic memoir form. Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned "fun home," as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift . . . graphic . . . and redemptive." -GoodReads Rating: 4.17

Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I LearnedPedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned

"Told entirely in sequential art, here is the story of the life-changing friendship between the author, a cartoonist from Long Island, and Pedro Zamora, an HIV-positive AIDS activist, which was filmed day by day on MTV's Real World San Francisco.

As a speaker and educator, a guest on many talk shows (including Oprah), and when his tragic death received front-page coverage in the press, Pedro taught a generation that AIDS was not a punishment for moral defects or a mere killer that reduced humans to wraiths. Rather, he showed how those afflicted with the disease could live and love nobly with intelligence, humor and great humanity. Judd Winick's compelling memoir allows each of us to experience the vitally important message Pedro brought us." -GoodReads Rating: 4.05

American Born ChineseAmerican Born Chinese

"A tour-de-force by rising indy comics star Gene Yang, American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable. American Born Chinese is an amazing ride, all the way up to the astonishing climax. " -GoodReads Rating: 3.89

Here is a short book trailer I found for Blankets. It's my favorite of all of these. The art in this book and the narrative complimented each other so well.


  1. I'm partial to the "Love and Rockets" series by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez.  Not for children or even teens; most definitely for adult consumption.

    The "Cerebus" graphic novels by Dave Sim are a nice distraction too.  Sometimes the story gets a little tied up on itself, but the artwork flickers between minimalist and exquisite.

  2. Ooohh! Thank you so much. You have such timing for recommending things because just today, I finally picked up an available hold you recommended: No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life. I look forward to watching it. :)

  3. I'm only just exploring graphic novels myself and did a post on an Agatha Christie graphic novel a few days ago.  American Born Chinese was mentioned in the comments.
    I cant imagine how I could forget all about Persepolis. This is a handy list, thanks for sharing.

  4. I love reading graphic novels. I recently read some classics that were converted into graphic novel form, like Sherlock Holmes and Jane Eyre.

    I’m a new follower—awesome blog by the way! Stop by my blog and follow
    me too? :)


  5. I haven't read any of these, but I did recently read a graphic novel that was very good.  It was called "Anya's Ghost" by Vera Brosgol and the writing and artwork were phenomenal.

  6. Thank you for saying so! I have to check out those Agatha Christie graphic novels. 

  7. The classics in graphic novel format are a lot of fun. Thanks for following!

  8. I've seen reviews for that, here and there. I should check it out. 

  9. You know how I feel about Graphic novels. I love how they are so much more than just a story, but also artistically moving and a form of expression.

    These are great choices. Especially Persepolis. Great post!


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  11. Graphic Novels You Should Probably Read 
     <--  that's what i was looking for
    Dissertation Literature Review


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