Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Graphic novels I recommend

In my youth, I used to collect several titles of comic books.  Then I drifted away.

Maybe ten years ago I started collecting certain titles of graphic novels.  Most of them are ones that I happened across at the library, and liked well enough that I bought them for myself, to keep.

Plus -- when you borrow books from the library (nothing wrong with that; it's what libraries are for), the author doesn't get any royalties.  When you purchase the book, she/he does.  So you're a patron of the arts -- supporting the artist.  FWIW.

Note that the below are from my perspective.  If your aesthetics diverge sufficiently from mine, then you won't like these.

Also, all of these are "played straight":  they are not parodies or any-such.  And they're well-written.  Otherwise, I wouldn't like them.

Some of these are single-issue offerings, or only had a limited number of volumes and thus have no new offerings.  Dangit.

Brody's Ghost -- a slacker guy, set in the near future, discovers that he can see the ghost of a murdered teenage girl.

Daisy Kutter:  the last train -- steampunk western with a strong female protagonist, a sharpshooter.  Out of print, but good if you can get it. (Ah!  They apparently had a successful Kickstarter-funded reprint.  So used copies are now around $45 on Amazon.)

Strong Female Protagonist -- a small proportion of the population among a certain birth cohort develop super-abilities when they're 14 or so.  One of them, in her early 20s, abandons her super-identity and goes to college and tries to live a "normal" life, which doesn't completely work out.  Great writing and art.  It was originally a webcomic, but the first four chapters are available as a graphic novel.  Apparently they'll continue to bundle the chapters into graphic novels as they accumulate enough material.

Usagi Yojimbo -- a rabbit samurai in an alternative universe feudal Japan.  He is imperfect but honorable, and an excellent swordsman. 

Concrete -- kinda nerdy speechwriter for a senator gets kidnapped by aliens, gets his brain transplanted into a concrete-like body with strength and invulnerability (and excellent eyesight), but without a sense of taste and touch. 

Raina Telgemeier -- the author/illustrator, not the series.  Tends to write autobiographical pieces.  I have Smile and Drama.  Eventually I'll pick up her other works.

The Walking Dead -- inspired the t.v. series, which I refuse to see.  Probably more grim than the t.v. series -- but I wouldn't know.  More about survival in a post-apocalyptic world than about zombies.

Ex Machina -- a civil engineer gets zapped by some sort of alien device, and is able to communicate with -- and control -- machines.  Becomes mayor of New York.  More interesting than how I made it sound.

The Arrival (by Shaun Tan) -- no words, just pictures; a man immigrates to a new country, and has to adjust to a new culture; fanciful but plausible "alien" technologies (clearly does not take place on earth); a great book for anyone of immigrant stock; a little pricey, but still worth getting.

Honorable mention:  These are pretty good -- but not quite good enough that I actually bought them.

Fables -- various fairy tales and folk tales living together in a semi-hidden neighborhood in New York City.  Serious, and sometimes a little grim (pun intended?).

Powers -- a former super-hero lost his powers, and is now a cop.  Deals with various other super-beings.

The Shepherd's Tale -- tells the back-story of Book, from Firefly -- how he came to be a shepherd.

Again -- if you share my tastes, then you'll like these.  If you don't, you may not like 'em.


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