Alright, enough is enough. I’m tired of people putting down graphic novels, illustrated texts and the medium of comic books in general. Just because a book uses pictures as well as words does NOT make its message any less potent. In fact, sometimes it aids in the storytelling process…a picture is worth a thousand words after all.
But I realize this is easy for me to say, especially as I’ve been reading comics since I was 5. So, I’m going to help my readers out and recommend some of what I feel are the absolute best graphic novels out there that are also still in print.
These are books that will make you think, make you laugh…maybe even make you cry. Regardless, they are all worthwhile, and should be read as soon as possible.
Midnight Nation by J. Michael Stracynski
The compelling story of David Grey, a police lieutenant who takes the time to investigate a homicide that no one else cares about. Through a series of strange occurrences he finds himself without his soul, stuck on the other side of life where the lost, forgotten and abandoned fade away to. Accompanied by Laurel, an older-than-her-years guide, David must travel from Los Angeles to NYC on foot in under 1 year to reclaim his soul…or else he will belong to the Dark One forever. Delving into themes of Christian mythology, the state of America today, and the loss of empathy for the less fortunate and broken, this book will open your eyes to new ways of looking at the streets of your neighborhood after dark.
Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
What if your family owned a normal house that just happened to have keys that opened strange and magical doors? Imagine a stepping over a threshold and changing into a different species, sex, race, or age. Maybe go back in time or turn into a ghost, become a giant or control the shadows. Everything and anything is possible for those who live in Keyhouse, but this power is coveted by another…and they will do whatever it takes to claim a certain key for their own…
Usually available in 2 parts, this is a retelling of the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust, using animals as the different ethnicities. Don’t let the “cartoon” aspect of it fool you…This is just as powerful a read as any other survivor memoir.
Sandman or Death series by Neil Gaiman
This incredible author has numerous novels and trade paperbacks under his name, but the stories he brings to life in his graphic novels are just as spectacular. A great many artists come together to beautifully illustrate each tale, so is also a wonderful impromptu portfolio of current art. Working with various world mythologies, and new age ideas about life, death, the essence of dreams and the endless pursuit of happiness and justice, these 14 graphic novels are a good way to change the way you look at the world.
Readers, discuss if you want, or talk about other comics you wish to have mentioned in following parts. I’m breaking it up since it’s such a huge list, but more books are always welcome!