I love art… a lot. I also love reading a lot (although not as much as I love art) so naturally I’m a big fan and advocate of the graphic novel. I hands down think every person on earth should be reading more graphic novels. Here are a few of my absolute favorites that I’ve read in the past year. If you feel I’ve missed a few or you have a few extra ones you’d like to suggest please feel free to share in the comments below!
Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang: Although this graphic novel is technically two separate books I still consider it as one cohesive story. The story is masterfully told from the point of view of two very different people on opposite sides of the Boxer Rebellion which took place in China during the summer of 1900. Not only does it bring to light a conflict that isn’t well known to Western Society but it also teaches a very powerful lesson about how there are two sides to every story.
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud: I don’t think it would be far fetched to say that this book transcends the description of masterpiece. It tells such a cohesive and beautiful story about the meaning of life, art, and love. I insist that all people read it as soon as possible.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: Not only is this a beautiful and intimate story it is also pertinent to current affairs regarding the Middle East and their politics/culture. I think this book could go far in helping us understand a highly misunderstood people and their way of life.
Maus by Art Spiegelman: Ok, ok, I’ll admit it, I’ve never actually read this book. It’s been on my to-read list for ages but I’ve always had a hard time experiencing any sort of media about the Holocaust. It is just such a heavy topic that I feel that I have to be emotionally prepared in order to get started. Don’t worry though, I’m coming around to it… slowly.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson: This is a fun story about friendship and villainy and I dare anyone to read it and not be charmed by a young shape-shifting girl named Nimona. The art style is simple and the story is witty and fun. I’d recommend reading it with your kids ages 10+ for added fun.
A Game for Swallows by Zeina Abirached: I’d put this story in the same category as Persepolis. It’s simply told and the illustrations are fairly straightforward. It also teaches about a conflict that is fairly important to modern politics but that we don’t hear a whole lot about in the media.
Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore: This is a classic when it comes to graphic novels and really, would any list about graphic novels be complete without something by Alan Moore in it?
Shoplifter by Michael Cho: This is a fairly straightforward story about taking chances and following your dreams. I found it to be very inspirational in my own life. Not to mention it’s a very quick read, if you’re looking for something simple and thought provoking to read on the bus or while waiting for a class to start this is a good one!
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang: Mr. Yang does such a great job of intertwining mythology with everyday life and teaching us that we should accept ourselves and be kind to those around us. It is an uplifting story and one I would be happy to share with kids ages 10-18. I think it could act as a great gateway to discuss issues such as bullying at school and self image.
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh: I debated as to whether or not to include this one as part of my graphic novels list but since it is catalogued with the rest of the graphic novels at the library I figured it could stay. Not only is this book laugh out loud hilarious it’s also full of very personal stories and insights. The deliberately primitive drawings add extra humor to the stories and oddly help to make the whole thing more relatable.