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'Literary' Graphic Novels


Pioscene
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Looking for suggestions for good literary Graphic Novels for christmas presents. I've got Maus and Palestine, Jimmy Corrigan, Ghost World, but what is there beyond those. Amazon's 'Cult Graphic Novel' section is pretty unhelpful, as it's filled with X-Men and Judge Dredd.

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Berlin-cityofstones-jasonlutes-cover.jpg

This is totally sweet, it's about Berlin between the wars, how stratified and politicised the place is. All walks of life make an appearance - art students, slum-dwellers, communists, brown shirts, trams, lesbians, journalists, police, children, paper sellers, jews etc etc etc. A great read.

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Good suggestions so far. I'd also add:

The Push Man, Abandon the Old in Tokyo and Good-bye - all by Yoshihiro Tatsumi

David Boring - Daniel Clowes

Tamara Drewe & Gemma Bovery - Posy Simmonds

Black Hole - Charles Burns

Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

V for Vendetta - Alan Moore

Ethel and Ernest - Raymond Briggs

Tintin in Tibet - Herge

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Alan Moore

The Contract With God Trilogy - Will Eisner

Robert Crumb's Book of Genesis - R Crumb

I Never Liked You - Chester Brown

Are these for you, by the way, or are you looking for presents for other people?

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I'd whole-heartedly recommend this one-

Summer%20Blonde%20Faber%20edition%20Adri

Four stand-alone stories, beautifully written and illustrated.

And then there's Eddie Campbell's "Alec" possibly my favourite 'comic book' of all time-

alec.jpg

Don't let the cover put you off, it's brilliantly observed slice(s) of life- Alan Moore described it like this-

I like it because it doesn't confuse being realistic with being depressing and because it is written by someone who obviously finds being alive an endless source of novelty and conundrum. I like it because it fills me in on what would have happened to Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady if they'd traded in the Lincoln for a Ford Transit and moved to Southend-On-Sea. On The Pier as opposed to On The Road.

- which is pretty spot-on. It's a book I tend to come back to time and time again, can't praise it highly enough.

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2236-1.jpg

Decent separate-people's-lives-that-eventually-all-meet-up-in-one-interconnected-event type story. Recommended. Quite hefty, ~350 pages.

Things like League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V For Vendetta are being mentioned, which I'd have thought were outside of the (admittedly rather loose) OP guidelines.

If they're acceptable, then I'll also mention the five Promethea books by Alan Moore and the Kabuki series of stories by David Mack. They have their feet firmly planted in the fantastical (dealing with parallel dimensions of the imagination and sexy assassins kicking the shit out of baddies / each other, respectively), but I'd strongly argue that the heart of both these collections comes from a place of great intelligence, insight and knowledge. They're comix, no doubt, but they appeal directly to - and require effort from - the deeper intellect on several levels.

EDIT- I'm going to repeat the earlier mention of Blankets (Craig Thompson), because it deserves it:

BLANKETS by Craig Thompson.

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Some interesting suggestions here, thanks. I should add I've got/read pretty much all of Alan Moore's books and all of the Sandman library. I've also got on their way to me - Rutu Modan's Exit Wounds, Joe Sacco's The Fixer and Guy Delisle's Burma Chronicles. But that's mostly because they're cheap on Amazon at the moment.

It's a Good Life if you Don't Weaken, Like a Velvet Glove wrapped in Iron, Berlin, David Boring, Black Hole, Summer Blonde and Blankets had all caught my eye (again though, largely because they're reasonably priced at Amazon).

The illustrated Frankenstein and City of Glass also sound rather intruiging.

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i have the complete run in individual issues. the covers are amazing, are they included in the graphic novel collections?

Hell yes, complete with Williams III's little scribbled thank-yous to their influences. :) They prefix each 'chapter' within the TPBs after a verse+lineart blurb page.

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Okay, so after a major splurge, I've got -

The Fixer - Joe Sacco

Exit Wounds - Rutu Modan

Parker Book One, The Hunter - Richard Stark/Darwyn Cooke

Berlin Book One - Jason Lute

Burma Chronicles - Guy Delisle

The Push Man - Yoshihiro Tatsumi

It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken - Seth

Black Hole - Charles Burns

All stacked up and ready to go.

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  • 1 year later...

I had previously bought a few comic books in the late 90's (Watchmen / Dark Night) but music was my real love so any spare cash went on that and beer at the time.

I always had a love of comic book art but being over 40 I thought that my time with comics had passed.

However at the start of 2010 on a recommendation I bought Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. That was it - love resurrected....

Over the course of the last year I have picked up the Sandman series, Palestine, Blankets, Maus, Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, The Contract With God Trilog, Walking Dead and the first deluxe edition of Y:The Last Man.

On order I have the next 2 editions of Y, Stitches, Swallow Me Whole, The Photographer and Grandville. Its costing a lot of money and I am having to ration myself otherwise I'll end up spending hundreds very quickly.

The only thing I can compare the feeling to is that its like being introduced to music for the first time, discovering decades of work to catch up on and trying to do it as quickly as possible. Except with music its easier. I know comics can be downloaded but for me there is nothing like holding that book in your hand.

I'll be picking up some of the recommendations in this thread, thanks RLLMUK'ers.

P

(Anyone else get strange looks on the train whilst reading comics ?)

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I read Blankets recently and found it quite an affecting read with some lovely artwork.

As for recommendations of my own, apart from what's been mentioned I really enjoyed Guy Delisle's Pyongyang - A Journey In North Korea. Quite a fascinating insight into the world of North Korea from an outsider who has found himself working there. If you've seen many of the televised documentaries on North Korea or read the great book Nothing To Envy you'll be familiar with a lot of the things covered in this graphic novel. Despite this it still finds things to add that others haven't mentioned and it's great to experience the oddity that is North Korea in this medium.

sbop5z.jpg

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I'd whole-heartedly recommend this one-

Summer%20Blonde%20Faber%20edition%20Adrian%20Tomine.jpg

Four stand-alone stories, beautifully written and illustrated.

On the back of this recommendation I grabbed ALL the Optic Nerve series and managed to get through them nearly all in an evening. Wonderful stuff, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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I had previously bought a few comic books in the late 90's (Watchmen / Dark Night) but music was my real love so any spare cash went on that and beer at the time.

I always had a love of comic book art but being over 40 I thought that my time with comics had passed.

However at the start of 2010 on a recommendation I bought Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. That was it - love resurrected....

Over the course of the last year I have picked up the Sandman series, Palestine, Blankets, Maus, Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, The Contract With God Trilog, Walking Dead and the first deluxe edition of Y:The Last Man.

On order I have the next 2 editions of Y, Stitches, Swallow Me Whole, The Photographer and Grandville. Its costing a lot of money and I am having to ration myself otherwise I'll end up spending hundreds very quickly.

The only thing I can compare the feeling to is that its like being introduced to music for the first time, discovering decades of work to catch up on and trying to do it as quickly as possible. Except with music its easier. I know comics can be downloaded but for me there is nothing like holding that book in your hand.

I'll be picking up some of the recommendations in this thread, thanks RLLMUK'ers.

P

(Anyone else get strange looks on the train whilst reading comics ?)

It's a sickness isn't it?

Comics have been my one constant for the last 20 years and whilst I love music, movies, videogames and all that usual guff, comic books are the one thing that have continued to provide just amazing entertainment year in year out. Whether it's seeing Green Lantern smack the shit out of Sinestro or welling up over another Eisner masterpiece, there is something truly unqiue and wonderful about these simple words and pictures.

Another quick reccy. I picked up Wilson by Dan Clowes yesterday, not read it yet but is guaranteed to be brilliant

EDIT:- Please don't be afraid of the spandex, there are some great writers in the superhero genre

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I'd recommened anything by Jeffrey Brown, Paul Hornschemeier or James Kochalka. Glad you picked up some Adrian Tomine, his illustrations are brilliant. Jeffrey Brown's a bit wet, but his stories are quite sweet. James Kochalka is mental, in a good way. Pick up 'Superf*ckers' for some funnies.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Since this thread has bubbled up I might as well recommend Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou which is a very entertaining account of the search for firmer foundations of mathematics, amongst other things.

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Many great suggestions in the thread, and it feels odd to be adding to them so much later, but I was just surprised nobody mentioned Fun Home, a touching memoir by Alison Bechdel.

Funhomecover.jpg

Highly recommended.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...

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