Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Five Books Worth Reading: Comics & Graphic Novels

excerpt from Saga
90% of “best graphic novel” lists pretty much read Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and Batman:Year One. So you don’t need me to reiterate the merits of those titles. Instead, you should check out Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga. I wasn’t a fan of Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man and Runaways was always a bit of a mixed bag, but Saga is totally different. It’s ostensibly a Romeo & Juliet story, but it’s wrapped up in a package of warring aliens and just the weirdest, mind-bending artwork. Saga is crazy. And also awesome. 

excerpt from Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen & Faith Erin Hicks. I’m currently obsessed with the work of Faith Erin Hicks right now (see also, The Adventures of Superhero Girl) who illustrates this manic story of the eternal struggle between high school nerds and cheerleaders – featuring pranks, rule breaking, and a robot battle royale. It’s like an 80s teen movie but with less Duckie and more chainsaws.
excerpt from Boxers & Saints

Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang is a moving portrait of the Boxer Rebellion. Boxers tells the story of Little Bao taking up arms to defend his country from the secondary devils (Christians) while Saints tells an opposing (yet overlapping) story of Four-Girl, a Chinese Christian who hopes to find a cause worth fighting for. Yang manages to not fully vilify either side, as in war, there are no easy answers.

excerpt from Hark! A Vagrant
Do you like literary and history based humor? I do! Which is why I really love Kate Beaton’s, Hark! A Vagrant. She hilariously skewers everything from Napoleon to The Great Gatsby. Her stuff is really great and I think her comic of Nancy Drew at the Salem Witch Trials is one of the funniest things I’ve read.

Finally, you should check out Joss Whedon’s run of The Astonishing X-Men. In typical Whedon fashion, he pulls a young female in (Kitty Pryde, in this instance) to be the point of view for his take on the X-Men. Issues #1 - #24 include the award winning “mutant cure” storyline (unceremoniously ripped off by Brett Ratner & Co for the universally despised X-Men: The Last Stand film). Also in typical Whedon fashion, he expertly blends humor and heartbreak making this one of the top superhero comics.

~Meredith T. 

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