Must-Read Graphic Novels

By Alexandra Wilson We are in a new age of comic books and graphic novels. Yes, we’ve already had the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Ages, so this boom in...

By Alexandra Wilson

We are in a new age of comic books and graphic novels. Yes, we’ve already had the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Ages, so this boom in diverse and quality storytelling means we’re in uncharted and unnamed territory.  Despite this, some graphic novels are timeless and remain a must-read for any comic book fan – no matter the era. Here are the books that should definitely be on your reading list (in no particular order).

 

Watchmen_Color_by_JPRartWatchmen

 

One of the many reasons Alan Moore is considered a genius.  This sprawling, unadaptable novel is packed to the brim with symbolism and cynicism, making it the perfect complement to (and critique of) superhero stories.  Characters like Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, and The Comedian have been replicated throughout comic book mythology, and as they say – mimicry is the best form of flattery.

 

Maus I_IIMaus (Parts I and II)

 

The first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize deserved it. “Maus” tells the story of a father and son (who is also the author) in the context of the Holocaust, and the artistic depiction with different religions as different animals adds a new thematic layer to the story. Yes,”Maus” has two (lengthy) parts, but don’t let the story’s length detract from how compelling it is.

 

Batman_thelonghalloween_1The Long Halloween

 

Happy Holidays! Well, not really, if you’ve already familiar with the plot.  “The Long Halloween” continues the story of “Batman: Year One” and intertwines the narrative with those of all Gotham’s major players. As a bonus, “The Long Halloween” was written by Jeph Loeb, who is now in charge of Marvel’s TV slate. After reading this novel, we’re sure that Marvel is in good hands.

 

Fun Home a Family TragicomicFun Home: A Family Tragicomic

 

If you’re a theatre geek, you’ll know that a musical based on ‘Fun Home” just won the Tony for Best Musical. If you’re a movie geek, you’ll know that the Bechdel test has helped define films for a modern generation. If you’re a comics geek, you should read “Fun Home.” It’s a dark but hilarious look at the writer/artist’s life (cartoonist Allison Bechdel) as well as a traditional coming of age tale.

 

Dark Phoenix SagaThe Dark Phoenix Saga

 

Technically, this storyline is an extension of what was going on in the X-Men comics at the time, but Claremont’s story is now considered a modern masterpiece making it too good to exclude. Whether you choose to break the narrative into two parts (the “Phoenix Saga” and the “Dark Phoenix Saga”) or not, Jean Grey’s decision to prioritize her humanity through death has helped transform the Marvel Universe to what it is today.

 

V_for_vendettaxV for Vendetta

 

The movie adaptation did not do this book justice.  “V for Vendetta” portrays a totalitarian society and has a cast of characters that, dare we say it, is more compelling than that of “Watchmen.” It may not be Alan Moore’s most popular work, but it is one of his best – especially looking at modern day politics and seeing what he did (and didn’t) predict.

 

Persepolis-books1and2-coversPersepolis

 

Though controversial due to what it depicts, “Persepolis” tells the story of a young girl growing up in Iran. As an autobiography, Marjane Satrapi tells her story compellingly and the hyper-minimalist art adds to the disparity between the cultures it portrays. Thank goodness it was translated from French so the rest of the world could read it!

 

Comments, Suggestions, Did we miss something/hit it out of the park let us know below

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