Graphic Novels – Linda’s picks
Linda is the library’s Fiction Customer Specialist. She’s a big fiction reader and knows the collection really well - including graphic novels.
Linda is a huge fan of graphic novels, especially Guy Delisle. Below she shares with us ten of her favourites.
Albert and the others / Guy Delisle.
“Limbs are swapped and pants are dropped in Albert and the Others, a collection of wordless strips that expose the pleasures, pitfalls, and perversities of masculinity. In this companion volume to Aline and the Others (2006), Guy Delisle delves deep into the male psyche and emerges with twenty-six alphabetically arranged strips, named after the men who tumble through the pages. These elastic protagonists risk damnation and dismemberment in a series of improbable slapstick relationships with women, which veer from the titillating to the downright macabre.” (Syndetics summary)
The squirrel mother stories / Megan Kelso.
“This acclaimed collection of graphic short stories includes personal and semi-autobiographical stories that draw heavily on the details of Kelso’s youth along with stories about the idea of America and American history.” (Syndetics summary)
Fluffy / Simone Lea.
“Lia weaves obsession, the bad faith of French existentialist note, and the rigors childhood visits upon the very young and the adults charged with their care into a delightful and insightful tale. Londoner Michael, adoptive father of Fluffy the bunny, takes Fluffy’s nursery school teacher to bed and then realizes she’s a bit of a stalker. Meanwhile, Michael’s parents and sister, living in Sicily, are dealing with each others’ obsessions, which include Christianity. For his part, Fluffy is obsessed, in the way only a small child can be, with tractors and farmers and doesn’t understand the ramifications of, and lack of ramifying factors in, Michael’s love life. Lia is an excellent storyteller, and her black-and-white cartoons expose not only the personalities of her characters but, literally, the inner workings of Michael’s mind. Elegantly simple but not simplistic, Fluffy’s world expands and contracts as we follow his and Michael’s progress, regressions, and small but realistic emotional victories. Tailor-made to introduce those willing to try that familiar (to them) format, the graphic novel” –Goldsmith, Francisca (Booklist) Used with permission
“A plucky and insatiably curious young woman, Bee works for a photofinishing technician at a one-hour lab in lower Manhattan. When pictures of a naked corpse are left for processing, Bee’s curiosity goes into high gear. “Shutterbug Follies” is a comic murder mystery filled with unlikely coincidences, humorous misunderstandings, and hairbreadth escapes.” (Fishpond)
Stargazing dog / Takashi Murakami ; translated by Atsuko Saisho & Spencer Fancutt.
“Reading this graphic novel is the emotional equivalent to listening to NPR’s StoryCorps moving, beautiful, and ultimately heart-wrenching. Murakami’s lovingly drawn, award-winning manga tells the story of a simple man’s life from the point of view of his devoted dog, Happie. Due to a combination of factors, circumstances change quickly for Happie’s nameless owner, Daddy, who was once a regular Joe with an office job and a family. Happie sticks by him through thick and thin, and, true to his name, Happie remains blissfully unaware of Daddy’s increasingly desperate living situation. As Daddy’s luck and health continue to fail, Happie becomes Daddy’s only friend and final joy. This touching story shows the cruelty of a modern society that allows those down on their luck to fall through the cracks.” –Mack, Candice. Used with permission. (Booklist)
Worst song, played on ugliest guitar / Chris Onstad.
“Riding high on the success of The Great Outdoor Fight, Achewood and Dark Horse Comics have compiled an extensively annotated collection of the first few years’ worth of Achewood comics. This is no mere companion volume to the cult-classic online strip: the entire prehistory of Achewood is set forth for the first time, and all of the celebrated alt-texts are included. Additionally, author Chris Onstad has literally littered the book with observations and rudities. TIME magazine named back-to-back Ignatz Award-winner Achewood its 2007 Graphic Novel of the Year, and legions of devoted fans consistently report that it makes them feel the way Bloom County and Calvin and Hobbes did when they were young.” (Syndetics summary)
Huntington, West Virginia “on the fly” / Harvey Pekar ; art by Summer McClinton.
“Huntington, West Virginia “On the Fly” is prime Pekar, recounting the irascible everyman’s on-the-road encounters with a cross section of characters—a career criminal turned limo-driving entrepreneur, a toy merchant obsessed with restoring a vintage diner, comic-book archivists, indie filmmakers, and children of the sixties—all of whom have stories to tell. By turns funny, poignant, and insightful, these portraits é la Pekar showcase a one-of-a-kind master at work, channeling the stuff of average life into genuine American art.” (Amazon)
Empire State : a love story (or not) / Jason Shiga.
“Shiga’s bold visual storytelling, sly pokes at popular culture, and subtle text work together seamlessly in “Empire State,” creating a quirky, graphic novel comedy about the vagaries of love and friendship.” (Syndetics summary)
The Walking Man / Jiro Taniguchi.
“Whoever takes the time these days to climb a tree in bare feet? To stop and observe the comings and goings of the birds? To play in the puddles after the rain has gone? To return a shell to the sea? The Walking Man follows a modern day Japanese business man as he strolls at random through urban Japan – often silent, usually alone – with his vivid dreams that let time stand still. Every corporate American should have a copy on their desk and, in times of stress, take two chapters, twice a day. Take a little stress out of your life and relax with The Walking Man, a little step every day. Lovingly reversed in collaboration with the creator to read left to right.” (Syndetics summary)
Pride of Baghdad / inspired by a true story ; written by Brian K. Vaughan; art by Niko Henrichon.
“During an American bombing raid in 2003, four lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo. That true story is the basis for this excellent fable by Vaughan (Ex Machina; Runaways) and Henrichon in which the animals can talk to one another and discuss the relative merits of captivity and life in the wild. After they’re unexpectedly freed, Zill, the alpha male; his one-eyed ex-lover, Safa; his current lover, Noor; and Noor’s cub, Ali, must fend for themselves in an unfamiliar land: the ruined city. They discover dangers both man-made and-despite Noor’s insistence that animals can rise above their baser natures-among their own kind. This graphic novel works as an adventure story; a meditation on the pursuit, the problems, and the meaning of freedom; and a thoughtful allegory about the war in Iraq, with every scene having a deeper subtext.” (Library Journal)