GUEST ARTICLE: Graphic Novel Recommendations

8:00 AM Tif Sweeney 43 Comments

One of today's topics is More Than Just Words, focusing on the works of books that use more than just your traditional words to tell a story.  Tif of Tif Talks Books is a fan of these non-traditional books and is here to share a few recommendations for you in the graphic novel/comic format.

A GRAPHIC NOVEL FOR EVERY GENRE AND AUDIENCE

Many years ago in a state far, far away from where I currently reside, I took a college course that introduced me to my first graphic novel.  I was so impressed with the format and the complexity of the multi-dimensional story that I knew that I had to read more.  Sadly, it took me many more years to return to the format all thanks to a push from my local library that had an amazing graphic novel selection.  Now more than three years later, I am devouring as many graphic novels and comics that I can get my hands on!  I simply cannot get enough of the format.

I have discovered throughout my reading journey that many people do not believe that you can get a high quality story out of a book meant for adults and filled with pictures.  I completely disagree.  In some books, I think you can get so much more . . . symbolism that you cannot always put into words, artwork that you can stare at for hours and still find something new, and small minute details that are important to the story to name just a few.

Today, I share with you a handful of suggestions featuring both graphic novels and comics (I use these terms interchangeably today, though they are different).  Look for the genre that you typically read, then check out the book that is recommended for you.

HISTORY
Maus I & II by Art Spiegelman

MEMOIRS
Stitches by David Small

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

FAIRY TALES
Fables by Bill Willingham (series)

PARANORMAL
For those who like the undead . . .
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman (series)

For those who prefer superheroes . . .
Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan (series)

For those who like to get lost in the fairy realm . . .
The Good Neighbors by Holly Black (series)

MIDDLE GRADE & YOUNG ADULT
Bad Island by Doug TenNapel

Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale (series)

CLASSICAL LITERATURE
The Unwritten by Mike Carey (series)

DYSTOPIAN
Y:  The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan (series)

HORROR
Locke & Key by Joe Hill (series)

SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan (series)

MYSTERY
Chew by John Layman (series)

And, just in case you need a little more convincing, I wanted to provide you with a little more inspiration from one of my personal faves . . .

From Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Now that I have shared my recommendations, fellow graphic novel/comic fans chime in.  What books would you recommend in the different categories?  Did I miss a category or must-read that you want to add?

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Tif has been blogging at Tif Talks Books for seven years.  She is also one of the original co-founders of Armchair BEA as well as a co-creator of Book Bloggers International.  In her spare time, she does a bit of freelance writing, shoots a lot of pictures, and spends time with her family.

43 comments:

  1. I love this! Thanks!

    Dystopian - V for Vendetta
    Dark Comedy - The Goon
    Steampunk - Girl Genius
    Religious Fiction - Hellboy and Priest

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head and while I'm supposed to be working :)

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    1. Rachel Noel ... You're welcome! And, thank YOU for adding your own recommendations! I'm writing these down right now!

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  2. Time Magazine rated The Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons as one of its 100 Best English-language Novels published since 1923. I haven't read it, but it is one of my husband's favorites. I would also add Alison Bechdel's graphic memoirs, Fun Home and Are You My Mother?

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    1. Rachel Reads ... Thanks for the additional recommendations! I have personally read The Watchmen. To be honest, it is not one of my favorites, but it is definitely a significant book in our history!

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  3. This is great. I'm really gaining a lot of love for graphic novels, and reviewed three on my blog today.
    In the memoir section, I Remember Beirut is fantastic. Similar to Persepolis.
    And for YA, In Real Life is so cool, and focuses on gaming culture, gold farmers and the socio-economic interplay.
    I definitely want to try Chew and Stitches!

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    1. barefootmeds ... Thanks for the other recommendations! I've written them down! I should warn you that Chew is VERY graphic!! It literally made me nauseous at one point, but it gets better ... maybe because you get used to it! ;)

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  4. Love, love, love Saga! Great post too, I love all the recommendations.

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    1. AmberBug ... I love, love, love Saga so much!!! I really need to get my hands on the latest copy actually!

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  5. Great post. I keep hearing wonderful things about Saga -- guess I need to read that one...

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    1. Steph Gorelenore ... Definitely recommend Saga! I really was not expecting to love it, thought I would actually not care for it, but was taken completely by surprise.

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  6. Great recs, Tif! I SOOOO want to start Locke and Key. Now if only I can sucker someone into giving me a gift card for July 4. LOL Otherwise, I feel too guilty.

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    1. Andi ... I definitely recommend Locke and Key. Thankfully, I've been able to get my copies from the library, but these are ones I want to own eventually. I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a gift card for July 4 too! ;)

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  7. Thanks for this! I have read only two graphic novels--Maus and Persepolis--and I loved them both. I admit I have been one of those people who thought the graphic novel couldn't be a serious literary form... until I read those fantastic books and they changed my mind. I would love to read others, so I'm very interested in more recommendations

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    1. Leila from Readers' Oasis ... There really is so many wonderful things out there. Personally, I think Maus is one of the best that you will ever find, so don't compare everything to that one! BUT, there are other really good ones out there. Since you are into memoirs, Stitches may be another good one to go with too!

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  8. Some great recs here that I look forward to looking into. I love the Fables series and have heard good things about Maus and Saga

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    1. Kristina ... Glad you found some good recommendations to check out! Fables is one of my favorite series and I'm almost all caught up with the spinoffs now!

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  9. Interesting post. I read the comics when I was a kid but haven't gravitated toward the graphic books yet. I don't really know why. I enjoy most types of books. I'll have to wander through through those bookshelves on my next trip to the bookstore. Thanks!.

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    1. Vikk @ Down the Writers' Path ... I definitely recommend that you give them a try! There is so much out there for every genre and interest that I'm sure that you can find something right up your alley!

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  10. Such an awesome post !! I love saga! :)

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    1. FICTION STATE OF MIND ... Thank you so much!

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  11. I love Fables, currently in the middle of it! Also Persepolis was the first non-fantasy graphic novel I read and it blew my mind! I'd add The Watchmen, and then Neil Gaiman's Sandman series and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home as well as probably Naming Monsters by Hannah Eaton (another graphic memoir) and probably The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffeneger. All great :-)

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    1. Bex ... I adore Fables! Which one are you currently reading? I've read all by the latest volume. I'm adding all your other suggestions to my personal list, except Watchmen. I've already read that one, though I think it deserves a re-read.

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  12. I have always wanted to venture into graphics novels, and I am happy to say I have my first book to review in July. I look forward to it, and more. Thanks for the recommendations!

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    1. fredamans ... Yay!! I hope you love the graphic novels.

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  13. I've never heard of Saga but it looks interesting. I will have to check it out. I read Maus. Loved it!

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    1. Allison Bruning ... Saga is really great! I definitely recommend you check it out.

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  14. Adventure and espionage: Blake and Mortimer by Edgar P. Jacobs
    SciFi adventure: Yoko Tsuno by Roger Leloup
    Erotic graphic novels: Manara
    Manga: Azumanga Daioh & Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma
    Fantasy: Elfquest by Wendy and Richard Pini

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    1. Sullivan McPig ... Ohhh, thanks for the recommendations! I will definitely be checking these out.

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  15. Ahh I'm reading Saga right now! I'm on volume 2!! It's so addicting :)

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    1. Marcey @ Readical ... I thought volume 2 was even better than the first. I need to get my hands on volume 3!

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  16. These are all great suggestions! I'm a huge GN and comics reader - Saga and Chew are my favorite ongoings right now, and I'm so happy to see them get some love! I would also recommend Return of the Dapper Men (Janet Lee's art is amazing, and it's loosely based on Romeo and Juliet) and Asterios Polyp.

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    1. jessi ... Chew really grossed me out to begin with because I had no idea what I was going into! But, I am still reading! I think my next one will be the fifth volume. I'm writing down these other titles to check out. I'm always on the lookout for more!

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    2. Yeah, most of my friends are freaked out by the cannibalism aspect, but the humor draws them in. :) You should also check out the new Ms. Marvel series. It's a monthly, so the first trade won't be out for a bit, but the art is gorgeous.

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  17. This post includes three GNs I've been meaning to pick up for so long now. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. Trisha .... Which ones?!? And, you're welcome!

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  18. Great post and yes and yes on the quality of the graphic novel. They have everything the fully worded novel does...character arcs, setting, plot. And that includes many middle grade graphic novels which the students at my school love! Bone and Amulet just to name two. Oh and Tommysaurus Rex and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series...well, as you know, I could go on and on, lol. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Deb @Read Write Tell ... Yes!! I have read Bone, and I thought the last third of the series was the best of the bunch. I've been eyeing Amulet for a while, but haven't read it yet. I just read Tommysaurus Rex not too long ago and will be reviewing it on my website in the next couple of weeks. Huge fan of Doug TenNapel!!

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  19. I need to read Fables! I had never heard of it until Armchair BEA because everyone is recommending it in their posts!

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    1. Courtney Reads A Lot ... You definitely need to read Fables!

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  20. I know I will have a lot more on my TBR pile now. I read soooo many comics and graphic novels all the time!

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    1. Angela's Anxious Life ... I know my list is growing! Did you want to add any more titles to my list?

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  21. I love this! Two of those titles were in my BEA post today, too :)

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    1. Natalie A ... So glad you love it! Now I gotta check out your post!

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