I love illustrated stories, graphic novels, comics, all that shebang. For anyone new to the graphic novel world, who’s not interested in superheroes but is interested in clever ideas, deep characters, beautiful images and compelling stories, here’s some graphic novels you might like to try:
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Wonderful, wonderful watercolour artwork from Juanjo Guarnido; a man schooled in Fine Art but also with years of Disney animation under his belt. The stories are Chandler-esque, Fifties noirs, but with animals heads. An absolute gem.
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One of the all-time greats of non-superhero graphic novels. Spiegelmann tells the story of the Holocaust, based on his father’s experiences and depicts the jews as mice and the nazis as cats. Unforgettable.
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Not all graphic novels are fiction stories. Some are factual journals from reporters. Sacco does a wonderful job of bringing to life war-torn or oppressed areas with his illustrations and testimonies. Often harrowing, but brilliantly done.
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A 300-odd page graphic novel about… Bertrand Russell’s search for a logical underpinning of mathematics. Sounds dull, doesn’t it? But it’s not; it’s excellent. Lovely visuals, vivid story-telling and a subject about which you truly will become fascinated. Very recommended.
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Guy Delisle illustrates his experiences as a French-Canadian animation supervisor in the very strange world of North Korea. His style succeeds effortlessly and, like Sacco’s books, shows that a graphic novel can be the best way to report on a strange land, or a strange society, or both.
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Marjane Satrapi grows up in relaxed semi-secular Iran in the Fifties, then the U.S. and the U.K. oil cabals’ desire for Iran’s natural wealth tail-spins the country in islamic fundamentalism. Satrapi escapes to Europe, then goes back to Iran and finds she doesn’t belong in either place.
I hope you enjoyed the above reviews. My contributions to the graphic novel medium, so far, are ‘The Great Secret’, which is about a young man discovering an ancient secret in the 1920’s. Click on the link for more info.