Graphic Novel Summer Review

19 Jul

Summer is the best time of the year to indulge in activities that we love. For me that means reading graphic novels, easier to read than those pesky books and they have the addition of illustration to liven up that story, as well as letting your imagination take a much needed reprieve. Some people try to argue that these are works of literature others like Alan Moore think, “That pompous phrase (graphic novel) was thought up by some idiot in the marketing department of DC. I prefer to call them Big Expensive Comics.” It does not matter how you feel towards these pictorial adventure, because the following books are not only entertaining but thought-provoking. My rating scale is based on BATMANS, because we all know he is the greatest comic hero of all time and knows which graphic novels are worth your time.

So, here is the list of the best 2-demensional stories encapsulated in a tightly bound and processed book form.

Hall of best knowledge – Witty, almost like a series of webcomics or maybe one of those calendars with some humorous cartoon. This does not give author Ray Fenwick justice, his satirical look into the mind a genius entertains us for pages, covering topics from babies to a guide to becoming super intelligent. His mix of fun art work and tiny jokes on every page make this really worthwhile. I just looked on Amazon and it only costs $1.91. This is a must by for anyone who wants a good laugh, I guarantee it is worth a couple bucks!

4 out of 5 BATMANS

http://www.amazon.com/Hall-Best-Knowledge-Ray-Fenwick/dp/1560979100/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1279552878&sr=1-3

Sloth – The last one I read from Gilbert Hernandez the guy who wrote Love and Rockets. This is an interesting story that follows the tale of a high school student after he awakens from a year long coma. This graphic novel covers many themes from his search for identity, paranoia, and the general apathy that sounds the youth of our generation, this is an emotional and interesting read examining boredoms affects on people. The art is funny and somewhat detailed, overall one of the better “indie” graphic novels I have read.

3.5 out of 5 BATMANS

<http://books.google.com/books?id=5WNQAAAAMAAJ&q=sloth+comic&dq=sloth+comic&hl=en&ei=8X8_TLKXL4T78Aar6ODzCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=book-thumbnail&resnum=2&ved=0CDAQ6wEwAQ>http://books.google.com/books?id=5WNQAAAAMAAJ&q=sloth+comic&dq=sloth+comic&hl=en&ei=8X8_TLKXL4T78Aar6ODzCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=book-thumbnail&resnum=2&ved=0CDAQ6wEwAQ

The Man who grew young – Daniel Quinn is a great story teller, in this adventure of searching for identity, which is really a theme in of all of these graphic works. An interesting and somewhat disorienting tale of a man who is seeing the world go backwards in time, as the dead are unearthed and reborn, babies become the end of life as they return to their mother’s womb. You might think it would be seemingly close to Benjamin Button, instead this story is more focused on showing mankind’s deep connections to nature and challenges the environmental damage we have wrecked upon earth. This message is too straightforward and its bluntness leaves me wanting other themes to be incorporated. Its well laid out glossy art helps bring alive a world of fantasy not too different from now, except the universe is moving backwards.

2.5 out of 5 BATMANS

http://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Grew-Young/dp/1893956172/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1279229606&sr=1-1#reader_1893956172

The Push Man and Other Stories – A great examinations of post war Japan and especially lower class jobs. Tatsumi is someone I wished had more coverage in the US, but most of his popularity is in Japan. This is actually a compilation of short manga (8-16 pages) from the late 1960s that where complied to make this book. Push Man, the title story is one of about a dozen tales depicting the hardships faced in urban Japan, from lonely men who commit suicide to the murderous minds of those willing to kill. A great mix stories that will leave the reader haunted by the deep connections you can make to a cartoon who manages to say all of five words that they say. I enjoyed the art in this graphic compilation and this is a foundation work for early alternative manga.

4 out of 5 BATMANS

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoshihiro_Tatsumi>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoshihiro_Tatsumi

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Push-Man-Other-Stories/dp/1896597858

Black hole – Finally the best graphic novel of the summer! This graphic novel by Charles burns not only has what I think is the best art on this list, but an excellent mix of different characters and interconnected conflicts. In its summation of secondary education sex, drugs, partying are as prevalent as the struggle to find acceptance from peers and lovers as well as the rejection of those with STDs all taking place in a world a lot like Dazed and Confused. A mixed of true fantasy and brutal reality, this book was originally 12 individual comics, but in the book form it becomes an impressive endeavor. Best graphic novel of the summer, go to your local library or bookstore and buy it!

5 out of 5 BATMANS, yeah just like the Dark Knight.

<http://books.google.com/books?id=9QGmngFaxwUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=black+hole&hl=en&ei=_X0_TN-0DYKB8gaXsqWXCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false>http://books.google.com/books?id=9QGmngFaxwUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=black+hole&hl=en&ei=_X0_TN-0DYKB8gaXsqWXCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

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2 Responses to “Graphic Novel Summer Review”

  1. Dev Varma July 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    I just finished HOBK, and you are so right about it.

  2. Mac July 26, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

    Jon,
    I haven’t read many graphic novels, but I have read one called Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware that I thought was very good. Check it out!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0375714545/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0375404538&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=00SHSXER7E80SH40T4HY

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