This entry was posted on Sep 08 2009 by

5 Graphic Novels I Like (in no particular order)

I didn’t grow up reading comics.  I remember my older brother reading Spider-man and The Incredible Hulk, but other than a few scattered issues of Marvel’s Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle and a handful of assorted titles at the barbershop, I was never all that interested in them.  My comics-reading experience began in 2000, which sets me more in the era of the graphic novel than the single issue.  Of the many graphic novels I’ve read over the past nine years, here are 5 (by no means the only 5) that I like enough to recommend:

1. Safe Area Goražde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-95 by Joe Sacco

I read primarily nonfiction books, and I’ve always thought that there aren’t enough of them in comics (not counting autobio, of which there is plenty).  Joe Sacco does his best to fill the void, and any one of his books of journalism is worth your time.

2. Skyscrapers of the Midwest by Josh Cotter

I like my stories to be straightforward, so I’ve never been a fan of abstract writing—I find that often the abstract storyteller puts form over function, showing off in a way that one of my creative writing professors once described as the “look, Ma, no hands!” approach.  Skyscrapers is abstract, weaving reality and illusion into a single garment . . . but it works perfectly.

3. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon

Reading this allegory about a pride of lions that escaped from their zoo after the bombing of Baghdad, Iraq reminded me of Watership Down, the first grown-up novel I ever read.  Henrichon’s art is wonderful, and of all of Vaughan’s works I’ve read, I like this one the best.

4. Where Hats Go by Kurt Wolfgang

Sometimes the mark of a good book is that it demands multiple readings, but other times it’s that the book can only be read once because there’s so much emotional weight.  The latter is the case for me with Where Hats Go, the silent tale of the legacy left to a boy by his grandfather.  I was very close with my maternal grandfather (I never knew my paternal grandfather, as he passed away when my father was still a child), so this one resonated with me in a way that makes it difficult to revisit.

5. The Playwright by Daren White and Eddie Campbell

You most likely haven’t heard of The Playwright because it won’t be released by Top Shelf until 2010.  I had the pleasure of reading a galley of it, though, and it’s quite possibly the most literary graphic novel I’ve ever read.

One Response to “5 Graphic Novels I Like (in no particular order)”

  1. Jake
    3:04 pm on September 9th, 2009

    I’m also relatively new to comics. I never knew that such great stories were told through this medium. I don’t know why, but I always thought comics to be kids stuff with childish Superhero stories. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and I’m glad I gave them a shot.

    Thanks for the recommendations. I haven’t read any of the ones you listed, but I’m certainly going to check them out.


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