This post on must-read comics is sponsored by Europe Comics.
It is the winter of 1937, and Aimé Louzeau lives with his mother and their servant. One day, he goes to the police prefecture of Paris, to speak with the vice squad. He currently works in the Criminal Investigation department, but crimes of passion and back alley stabbings really aren’t his thing, so he requests a transfer. The atmosphere immediately darkens, as Louzeau is thrown straight into the interrogation of a pimp called Guapito and his prostitute…
When I was first getting into comics I found it really hard to know where to find comics I might like. I knew that I didn’t only want to read superhero comics but I also didn’t know how to find books beyond Maus and Persepolis. There are comics from every genre available out there and the growing indie comics scene is home to a wealth of titles, subject matters and artistic styles.
In the 100 comics I have chosen below I have tried to pick titles from a wide range of genres and artists. There are some big name series that you will probably have heard of, but there are also some small-press titles from the UK, Canada, and beyond that you might not have. I’ve steered clear of Graphic Memoirs and Autobiographies because a fellow rioter will be sharing their top 100 of these in a future post. I have also (for the most part) avoided including any major Marvel and DC Comics series, though the odd Vertigo title has slipped in. Again, these might easily be the subject of another 100 Comics post. My list certainly isn’t exhaustive, indeed the moment I finished it I thought of a dozen more I might have included, but these are at least some of the comics that I have enjoyed or been provoked by over the last few years.
- A Contract with God Trilogy – Will Eisner
Will Eisner (1917–2005) saw himself as “a graphic witness reporting on life, death, heartbreak, and the never-ending struggle to prevail.” The publication of A Contract With God when Eisner was sixty-one proved to be a watershed moment both for him and for comic literature. It marked the birth of the modern graphic novel and the beginning of an era when serious cartoonists could be liberated from their stultifying comic-book format.More than a quarter-century after the initial publication of A Contract With God, and in the last few months of his life, Eisner chose to combine the three fictional works he had set on Dropsie Avenue, the mythical street of his youth in Depression-era New York City.
- Alex and Ada – Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn
The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But when Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot.
- Alice in Sunderland – Bryan Talbot
Sunderland! Thirteen hundred years ago it was the greatest center of learning in the whole of Christendom and the very cradle of English consciousness. In the time of Lewis Carroll it was the greatest shipbuilding port in the world. To this city that gave the world the electric light bulb, the stars and stripes, the millennium, the Liberty Ships and the greatest British dragon legend came Carroll in the years preceding his most famous book, Alice in Wonderland, and here are buried the roots of his surreal masterpiece. Enter the famous Edwardian palace of varieties, The Sunderland Empire, for a unique experience: an entertaining and epic meditation on myth, history and storytelling and decide for yourself – does Sunderland really exist?
- Asterix Omnibus Volume 1 – Réne Goscinny & Albert Uderzo
The three stories that started it all–gathered together in one beautiful volume! Asterix the Gaul introduces us to our indomitable hero and his friends, who try to defend one small Gallic village from the surrounding Romans. In Asterix and the Golden Sickle, he, Obelix, and Lutetia try to buy a new sickle for Getafix. But somehow the sicklesmith has disappeared without a trace. And Asterix and Obelix have to ride to the rescue when the Goths kidnap Getafix in Asterix and the Goths.
- Aya: Life in Yop City – Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie
Ivory Coast, 1978. It’s a golden time, and the nation, too—an oasis of affluence and stability in West Africa—seems fueled by something wondrous. Aya is the story of the studious and clear-sighted 19-year old Aya, her easy-going friends Adjoua and Bintou, and their meddling relatives and neighbors. It’s wryly funny, breezy account of the simple pleasures and private troubles of everyday life in Yop City.
- Bakuman Volume 1 – Tsugami Ohba & Takeshi Obato
Average student Moritaka Mashiro enjoys drawing for fun. When his classmate and aspiring writer Akito Takagi discovers his talent, he begs Moritaka to team up with him as a manga-creating duo. But what exactly does it take to make it in the manga-publishing world? Moritaka is hesitant to seriously consider Akito’s proposal because he knows how difficult reaching the professional level can be. Still, encouragement from persistent Akito and motivation from his crush push Moritaka to test his limits!
- Baloney – Pascal Blanchet
Winds swirl and darkness reigns over a hamlet perched atop a craggy peak. Russian fatalism sets the tone as Blanchet orchestrates the tale of a village butcher, his disabled daughter, and her tutor in their doomed uprising against the swaggering Duke Shostakov, local governor and owner of the only heating company in town.
- Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy Anthology – Taneka Stotts (editor)
In both sci-fi and fantasy and comics there is a long history of allegorical and implied queerness—using the trappings of genre to code characters and themes as queer while keeping them superficially straight enough to not make waves, or queering them in ways tied to their general otherness (like gender-flexible shapeshifters or gay aliens from single-sex species). Beyond is a black-and-white comic anthology of 18 original science fiction and fantasy comics.
- Bigfoot – Pascal Girard
Jimmy is a teenager in a crummy little town. He’s got a lousy best friend, Simon; a porn habit; and an uncle whose miserable existence is the embodiment of life stalled in its tracks. He’s also got a tender soul, a pure-hearted crush, and the makings of a budding artist. A horrible YouTube video of Jimmy dancing in his living room becomes viral, courtesy of Simon, and makes every sweet and hopeful thing about Jimmy seem utterly pathetic. Everyone from fellow classmates to the clerk at the corner store has seen the video, and Jimmy finds himself a celebrity in his town, just for the wrong reason. Unfortunately, the YouTube antics do not stop there.
- Bitch Planet Volume 1 – Kelly Sue DeConnick & Valentine DeLandro
In a future just a few years down the road in the wrong direction, a woman’s failure to comply with her patriarchal overlords will result in exile to the meanest penal planet in the galaxy. When the newest crop of fresh femmes arrive, can they work together to stay alive or will hidden agendas, crooked guards, and the deadliest sport on (or off!) Earth take them to their maker?
- Black Hole – Charles Burns
The setting: suburban Seattle, the mid-1970s. We learn from the outset that a strange plague has descended upon the area’s teenagers, transmitted by sexual contact. The disease is manifested in any number of ways — from the hideously grotesque to the subtle (and concealable) — but once you’ve got it, that’s it. There’s no turning back.
- Blue is the Warmest Colour – Julie Maroh
In this tender, bittersweet, full-color graphic novel, a young woman named Clementine discovers herself and the elusive magic of love when she meets a confident blue-haired girl named Emma: a lesbian love story for the ages that bristles with the energy of youth and rebellion and the eternal light of desire.
- Building Stories – Chris Ware
With the increasing electronic incorporeality of existence, sometimes it’s reassuring—perhaps even necessary—to have something to hold on to. Thus within this colorful keepsake box the purchaser will find a fully-apportioned variety of reading material ready to address virtually any imaginable artistic or poetic taste, from the corrosive sarcasm of youth to the sickening earnestness of maturity—while discovering a protagonist wondering if she’ll ever move from the rented close quarters of lonely young adulthood to the mortgaged expanse of love and marriage. Whether you’re feeling alone by yourself or alone with someone else, this book is sure to sympathize with the crushing sense of life wasted, opportunities missed and creative dreams dashed which afflict the middle- and upper-class literary public (and which can return to them in somewhat damaged form during REM sleep).
- The Complete Calvin and Hobbes – Bill Watterson
This is the complete collection of the classic comic strip that features Calvin, a rambunctious 6-year-old boy, and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes, who comes charmingly to life.
- Castle Waiting – Linda Medley
Castle Waiting tells the story of an isolated, abandoned castle, and the eccentric inhabitants who bring it back to life. A fable for modern times, Castle Waiting is a fairy tale that’s not about rescuing the princess, saving the kingdom, or fighting the ultimate war between Good and Evil ― but about being a hero in your own home. The opening story, “The Brambly Hedge,” tells the origin of the castle itself, which is abandoned by its princess in a comic twist on “Sleeping Beauty” when she rides off into the sunset with her Prince Charming. The castle becomes a refuge for misfits, outcasts, and others seeking sanctuary, playing host to a lively and colorful cast of characters that inhabits the subsequent stories, including a talking anthropomorphic horse, a mysteriously pregnant Lady on the run, and a bearded nun.
- Daytripper – Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba
Daytripper follows the life of one man, Bras de Olivias Dominguez. Every chapter features an important period in Bras’ life in exotic Brazil, and each story ends the same way: with his death. And then, the following story starts up at a different point in his life, oblivious to his death in the previous issue – and then also ends with him dying again. In every chapter, Bras dies at different moments in his life, as the story follows him through his entire existence – one filled with possibilities of happiness and sorrow, good and bad, love and loneliness. Each issue rediscovers the many varieties of daily life, in a story about living life to its fullest – because any of us can die at any moment.
- Carpet Sweeper Tales – Julie Doucet
Using vintage women’s and home decorating magazines, Doucet collages a unique dialogue of love and travel between characters sitting in classic cars, driving through cities and pristine countryside. This book is the first to combine Doucet’s love of collage with her gift at comics storytelling. The result is a collection of lighthearted stories that play upon the disconnects between 1970s imagery and our modern world. Lost in translation, the dialogue is stilted, the characters alien, the mood always playful. Carpet Sweeper Tales is a milestone in a career filled with milestone achievements.
- Death of the Artist – Karrie Fransman–On 13 August 2013 graphic novelist Karrie Fransman invited four old friends from university to an isolated cottage on the misty moors of the Peak District to join her for a week of hedonism and creativity. Like Shelley and Byron before them, they would use the retreat to tell stories. Except these would be comics, collected together in this very book. The theme? The Death of the Artist.
- Drawing the Line: Indian Women Fight Back – Priya Kuriyan, Larissa Bertonasco, Ludmilla Bartscht
Drawing the Line: Indian Women Fight Back! is a comics anthology by 14 women of their day-to-day experiences in India. Produced out of a week-long workshop with Indian women artists, both amateur and professional, Drawing the Line is part of a larger national conversation in India around sexual discrimination that emerged in the aftermath of the brutal gang-rape and murder of a young medical student in 2012.
- Drawn and Quarterly: 25 Years of Contemporary Cartooning – Various
This is an eight hundred-page thank-you letter to the cartoonists whose steadfast belief in a Canadian micro-publisher never wavered. In 1989, a prescient Chris Oliveros created D+Q with a simple mandate to publish the worlds best cartoonists. Thanks to his taste-making visual acumen and the support of over fifty cartoonists from the past two decades, D+Q has grown from an annual stapled anthology into one of the world’s leading graphic novel publishers.
- Dungeon Fun – Neil Slorance & Colin Bell
Raised by trolls in the moat of a castle, Fun Mudlifter lives a life of boredom, until one day when adventure finds her and a sword plummets into her village. Setting off to confront the trolls responsible for the falling items that plague her and her neighbours, Fun begins an off-beat odyssey that encompasses jobsworth trolls, three-headed beasts, soothsaying shamans and headless barbarians, as she valiantly battles her way up through the dungeons to her final goal. With hilarious results!
- Essex County – Jeff Lemire
Where does a young boy turn when his whole world suddenly disappears? What turns two brothers from an unstoppable team into a pair of bitterly estranged loners? How does the simple-hearted care of one middle-aged nurse reveal the scars of an entire community, and can anything heal the wounds caused by a century of deception? In Essex County, Lemire crafts an intimate study of one community through the years, and a tender meditation on family, memory, grief, secrets, and reconciliation. With the lush, expressive inking of a young artist at the height of his powers, Lemire draws us in and sets us free.
- Exit Wounds – Rutu Modan
Set in modern-day Tel Aviv, a young man,Koby Franco, receives an urgent phone call from a female soldier. Learning that his estranged father may have been a victim of a suicide bombing in Hadera, Koby reluctantly joins the soldier in searching for clues. His death would certainly explain his empty apartment and disconnected phone line. As Koby tries to unravel the mystery of his father’s death, he finds himself piecing together not only the last few months of his father’s life but his entire identity. With thin, precise lines and luscious watercolors, Rutu Modan creates a portrait of modern Israel, a place where sudden death mingles with the slow dissolution of family ties.
- Fables: Legends in Exile – Bill Willingham, Lan Mediaa, Steve Leialoha & Craig Hamilton
When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the “mundys,” their name for normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society that they call Fabletown. From their exclusive luxury apartment buildings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, these creatures of legend must fight for their survival in the new world.
- Filmish – Edward RossCartoonist– Edward Ross uses comics to illuminate the ideas behind our favorite movies. In Filmish, Ross’s cartoon alter ego guides readers through the annals of cinematic history, introducing some of the strange and fascinating concepts at work in the movies. Each chapter focuses on a particular theme—the body, architecture, language—and explores an eclectic mix of cinematic triumphs, from A Trip to the Moon to Top Gun.
- Fluffy – Simone Lia
Fluffy is a young rabbit with a human daddy named Michael, an anxious bachelor stuck in an uncomfortable, uncommitted relationship with a woman who just happens to be Fluffy’s preschool teacher. One day Michael decides to take Fluffy away for an impromptu trip to visit relatives in Sicily – and away from the overzealous affections of Miss Owers. Neither bunny nor man is truly prepared for the worldly excitement of a suspected kidnapping in Sicily, and both will be forever changed by the experience.
- Gemma Bovary – Posy Simmonds– Is it a coincidence that Gemma Bovery has a name rather like Flaubert’s notorious heroine? Is it by chance that, like Madame Bovary, Gemma is bored, adulterous, and a bad credit risk? Is she inevitably doomed? Gemma is the pretty second wife of Charlie Bovary, the reluctant stepmother of his children, and the bête noire of his ex-wife. A sudden windfall and Gemma’s distaste for London take them across the Channel to Normandy, where the charms of French country living soon wear off.
- Ghost World – Daniel Clowes
Ghost World has become a cultural and generational touchstone, and continues to enthrall and inspire readers over a decade after its original release as a graphic novel. Originally serialized in the pages of the seminal comic book Eightball throughout the mid-1990s the story follows the adventures of two teenage girls, Enid and Becky, two best friends facing the prospect of growing up, and more importantly, apart.
- Giant Days – John Allison, Whitney Cogar and Lissa Treiman
Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves. But in the face of hand-wringing boys, “personal experimentation,” influenza, mystery-mold, nu-chauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive. Going off to university is always a time of change and growth, but for Esther, Susan, and Daisy, things are about to get a little weird.
- Gotham Academy: Welcome to Gotham Academy – Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher & Karl Kerschl
Welcome to Gotham Academy, the most prestigious school in Gotham City. Only the best and brightest students may enter its halls, study in its classrooms, explore its secret passages, summon its terrifying spirits… Okay, so Gotham Academy isn’t like other schools. But Olive Silverlock isn’t like other students. After a mysterious incident over summer break, she’s back at school with a bad case of amnesia, an even worse attitude… and an unexplained fear of bats. Olive’s supposed to show new student Maps Mizoguchi the ropes. Problem: Maps is kid sister of Kyle, Olive’s ex. Then there’s the ghost haunting the campus…the secret society conducting bizarre rituals…and Bruce Wayne, the weirdo billionaire who funds the Academy – and may know the secret to Olive’s big mystery.
- Hark! A Vagrant! – Kate Beaton
Hark! A Vagrant is an uproarious romp through history and literature seen through the sharp, contemporary lens of New Yorker cartoonist and comics sensation Kate Beaton. No era or tome emerges unscathed as Beaton rightly skewers the Western world’s revolutionaries, leaders, sycophants, and suffragists while equally honing her wit on the hapless heroes, heroines, and villains of the best-loved fiction.
- Hellblazer: Original Sins – Jamie Delano, Rick Veitch, John Ridgway, Aldredo Alcala & Tom Mandrake
The very first Hellblazer collection stars Vertigo’s longest running antihero, John Constantine, England’s chain-smoking, low-rent magus. This first collection is a loosely connected series of tales of John’s early years where Constantine was at his best and at his worst, all at the same time.
- Here – Richard McGuire
From one of the great comic innovators, the long-awaited fulfillment of a pioneering comic vision. Richard McGuire’s Here is the story of a corner of a room and of the events that have occurred in that space over the course of hundreds of thousands of years.
- I Kill Giants – Joe Kelly & JM Ken Niimura
I Kill Giants tells the story of Barbara Thorson, an acerbic fifth-grader so consumed with fantasy that she doesn’t just tell people that she kills giants with an ancient Norse warhammer — she starts to believe it herself. The reasons for Barbara’s troubled behavior are revealed through the course of the book, as she learns to reconcile her fantasy life with the real world.
- I Killed Adolf Hitler – Jason
Jason posits a strange, violent world in which contract killers can be hired to rub out pests, be they dysfunctional relatives, abusive co-workers, loud neighbors, or just annoyances in general ― and as you might imagine, their services are in heavy demand. One such killer is given the unique job of traveling back in time to kill Adolf Hitler in 1939… but things go spectacularly wrong. Hitler overpowers the would-be assassin and sends himself to the present, leaving the killer stranded in the past.
- Its a Good Life if you Don’t Weaken – Seth
While trying to understand his dissatisfaction with the present, Seth discovers the life and work of Kalo, a forgotten New Yorker cartoonist from the 1940s. But his obsession blinds him to the needs of his lover and the quiet desperation of his family. Wry self-reflection and moody colours characterize Seth’s style in this tale about learning lessons from nostalgia.
- Jane, The Fox and Me – Fanny Britt, Isabelle Arsenault
Hélène has been inexplicably ostracized by the girls who were once her friends. Her school life is full of whispers and lies — Hélène weighs 216; she smells like BO. Her loving mother is too tired to be any help. Fortunately, Hélène has one consolation, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Hélène identifies strongly with Jane’s tribulations, and when she is lost in the pages of this wonderful book, she is able to ignore her tormentors. But when Hélène is humiliated on a class trip in front of her entire grade, she needs more than a fictional character to allow her to see herself as a person deserving of laughter and friendship.
- Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth– Chris Ware
This first book from Chicago author Chris Ware is a pleasantly-decorated view at a lonely and emotionally-impaired “everyman” who is provided, at age 36, the opportunity to meet his father for the first time. An improvisatory romance which gingerly deports itself between 1890’s Chicago and 1980’s small town Michigan, the reader is helped along by thousands of colored illustrations and diagrams, which, when read rapidly in sequence, provide a convincing illusion of life and movement. The bulk of the work is supported by fold-out instructions, an index, paper cut-outs, and a brief apology, all of which concrete to form a rich portrait of a man stunted by a paralyzing fear of being disliked.
- Lost Property – Andy Poyiadgi
Gerald is just your regular everyday mailman. One day, having lost a precious and personal item, he visits his local lost and found. There he finds far more than he bargained for, because in this “self storage,” each and every one of Gerald’s lost possessions has been kept and contained.
- Lost at Sea – Bryan Lee O’Malley–Raleigh doesn’t have a soul. A cat stole it — or at least that’s what she tells people — or at least that’s what she would tell people if she told people anything. But that would mean talking to people, and the mere thought of social interaction is terrifying. How did such a shy teenage girl end up in a car with three of her hooligan classmates on a cross-country road trip? Being forced to interact with kids her own age is a new and alarming proposition for Raleigh, but maybe it’s just what she needs — or maybe it can help her find what she needs — or maybe it can help her to realize that what she needs has been with her all along.
- Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography – Chester Brown
Chester Brown reinvents the comic-book medium to create the critically acclaimed historical biography Louis Riel, a compelling, meticulous, and dispassionate retelling of the charismatic, nineteenth-century Métis leader. Brown coolly documents with dramatic subtlety the violent rebellion on the Canadian prairie led by Riel, who some regard a martyr who died in the name of freedom, while others consider him a treacherous murderer.
- Maggie the Mechanic: Love and Rockets – Jaime Hernandez
Maggie the Mechanic collects the earliest, punkiest, most heavily sci-fi stories of Maggie and her circle of friends, and you can see the artist refine his approach: Despite these strong shifts in tone, the stunning art and razor sharp characterizations keep this collection consistent, and enthralling throughout.
- Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy – Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson
Five best friends spending the summer at Lumberjane scout camp…defeating yetis, three-eyed wolves, and giant falcons…what’s not to love?!Friendship to the max! Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together…and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!
- Malice in Ovenland– Micheline Hess
Lily Brown is a bright, curious, energetic young girl from Queens, New York. When her mom forces her to stay home for the summer and do chores, Lily fumes. Little did she know that the greasy oven in the kitchen was going to give her more excitement and adventure than she could possibly handle.
- Mean Girls Club – Ryan Heshka
This bold and beautiful comic is full of sassy club-singing sisters who you don’t wanna mess with . . . Introducing: Pinky, Sweets, Blackie, McQualude, and Wanda. Together they form the Mean Girls Club, a menacing powerhouse of ruthless rebels.Ryan Heshka creates a subversive comic that re-interprets images of the stereotypical 50’s female and gives new and defiant voice to these ladies of leisure.
- Moomin: The Complete Moomin Comics Strip – Tove Jansson
The Moomins are a tight-knit family-hippo-shaped creatures with easygoing and adventurous outlooks. Jansson’s art is pared down and precise, yet able to compose beautiful portraits of ambling creatures in fields of flowers or on rock-strewn beaches that recall Jansson’s Nordic roots. The comic strip reached out to adults with its gentle and droll sense of humor. Whimsical but with biting undertones, Jansson’s observations of everyday life, including guests who overstay their welcome, modern art, movie stars, and high society, easily caught the attention of an international audience and still resonate today.
- Mooncop – Tom Gauld
The lunar colony is slowly winding down, like a small town circumvented by a new super highway. As our hero, the Mooncop, makes his daily rounds, his beat grows ever smaller, the population dwindles. A young girl runs away, a dog breaks off his leash, an automaton wanders off from the Museum of the Moon.Mooncop is equal parts funny and melancholy. capturing essential truths about humanity and making this a story of the past, present, and future, all in one.
- Nelson – Woodrow Phoenix & Rob Davis (editors)
Nelson is a 250-page collaboration between 54 of the UK’s most exciting comic creators. It is an unprecedented experiment to create one complete story – a collective graphic novel.London, 1968. A daughter is born to Jim and Rita Baker. Her name is Nel. This is her story, told in yearly snapshots. Each chapter records the events of a single day, weaving one continuous ribbon of pictures and text that takes us on a 43- year journey from Nel Baker’s birth to 2011.Part exquisite corpse and part relay race, Nelson spans decades of British history and a myriad of stylistic approaches in telling the story of one woman’s life by 54 creators, in 54 episodes, detailing 54 days.
- Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.
- Niobe: She is Life – Amandla Stenberg and Ashley A Woods
Niobe Ayutami is an orphaned wild elf teenager and also the would-be savior of the vast and volatile fantasy world of Asunda. She is running from a past where the Devil himself would see her damned… toward an epic future that patiently waits for her to bind nations against the hordes of hell.
- The Complete Peanuts – Charles M Schulz
Any single volume of this remarkable collection from Fantagraphics would be an ideal way in which to start exploring the works of Schulz. The Complete Peanuts offers a unique chance to see a master of the art form refine his skills and solidify his universe, day by day, week by week, month by month.
- Phonogram: Rue Britannia – Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen
Britannia is ten years dead. Phonomancer David Kohl hadn’t spared his old patron a thought for almost as long… at which point his mind starts to unravel. Can he discover what’s happened to the Mod-Goddess of Britpop while there’s still something of himself left? Dark modern-fantasy in a world where music is magic, where a song can save your life or end it. (Or you could wait until April when The Complete Phonogram comes out).
- Photobooth: A Biography – Meags Fitzgerald
For almost a century chemical photobooths have occupied public spaces; giving people the opportunity to quickly take inexpensive, quality photos. In the last decade these machines have started to rapidly disappear, causing an eclectic group of individuals from around the world to come together and respond. Illustrator, writer and long-time photobooth lover, Meags Fitzgerald has chronicled this movement and the photobooth’s fortuitous history in a graphic novel.
- Preacher – Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
Merging with a bizarre spiritual force called Genesis, Texan Preacher Jesse Custer becomes completely disillusioned with the beliefs that he had dedicated his entire life to. Now possessing the power of “the word,” an ability to make people do whatever he utters, Custer begins a violent and riotous journey across the country. Joined by his gun-toting girlfriend Tulip and the hard drinking Irish vampire Cassidy, the Preacher loses faith in both man and God as he witnesses dark atrocities and improbable calamities during his exploration of America.
- Prince of Cats – Ronald Wimberley
Prince of Cats is the B side to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, played at an eighties block party in a NY where underground sword dueling blossomed alongside hip-hop, punk, disco and no wave. It’s the story of the minor players with Tybalt at the center.
- Red: A Haida Manga – Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Referencing a classic Haida oral narrative, this stunning full-color graphic novel documents the tragic story of a leader so blinded by revenge that he takes his community to the brink of war and destruction. Consisting of 108 pages of hand-painted illustrations, Red is a groundbreaking mix of imagery from the indigenous Haida culture and Japanese manga.
- Red Snow – Susumu Katsunama
This collection of short stories is drawn with great delicacy and told with subtle nuance by the legendary Japanese artist Susumu Katsumata. The setting is the premodern Japanese countryside of the author’s youth, a slightlymagical world where ancestral traditions hold sway over a people in the full vigor of life, struggling to survive the harsh seasons and the difficult life of manual laborers and farmers. While the world they inhabit has faded into memory and myth, the universal fundamental emotions of the human heart prevail at the center of these tender stories.
- Rumble Strip – Woodrow Phoenix
This is a powerful and darkly humorous graphic polemic by a leading British comics artist that investigates our increasingly dangerous relationship with cars. If you want to get away with murder, buy a car. Combining autobiography, statistics, case histories, advertising and reportage, Woodrow Phoenix draws a compelling picture of the warped psychology behind our need for speed.
- Saga – Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples
When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.
- Sandcastle – Pierre Oscar Levy & Frederik Peeters
It’s a perfect beach day, or so thought the family, young couple, a few tourists, and a refugee who all end up in the same secluded, idyllic cove filled with rock pools and sandy shore, encircled by green, densely vegetated cliffs.But this utopia hides a dark secret.
- Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes – Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, Mike Dringenburg & Malcolm Jones III
In Preludes and Nocturnes, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.
- Scott Pilgrim: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life – Bryan Lee O’Malley
Scott Pilgrim’s life is totally sweet. He’s 23 years old, he’s in a rock band, he’s “between jobs,” and he’s dating a cute high school girl. Nothing could possibly go wrong, unless a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. Will Scott’s awesome life get turned upside-down? Will he have to face Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends in battle? The short answer is yes. The long answer is Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.
- Sex Criminals: One Weird Trick – Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky
Suzie’s just a regular gal with an irregular gift: when she has sex, she stops time. One day she meets Jon and it turns out he has the same ability. And sooner or later they get around to using their gifts to do what we’d ALL do: rob a couple banks.
- Shortcomings – Adrian Tomine
Ben Tanaka has problems. In addition to being rampantly critical, sarcastic, and insensitive, his long-term relationship is awash in turmoil. His girlfriend, Miko Hayashi, suspects that Ben has a wandering eye, and more to the point, it’s wandering in the direction of white women. This accusation (and its various implications) becomes the subject of heated, spiralling debate, setting in motion a story that pits California against New York, devotion against desire, and trust against truth.
- Showa 1926-1939 A History of Japan – Shigaru Mizuki
The first volume of Shigeru Mizuki’s meticulously researched historical portrait of twentieth-century Japan. This volume deals with the period leading up to World War II, a time of high unemployment and other economic hardships caused by the Great Depression. Mizuki’s photo-realist style effortlessly brings to life the Japan of the 1920s and 1930s, depicting bustling city streets and abandoned graveyards with equal ease.
- Sin City – Frank Miller
It’s a lousy room in a lousy part of a lousy town. But Marv doesn’t care. There’s an angel in the room. She says her name is Goldie. A few hours later, Goldie’s dead without a mark on her perfect body, and the cops are coming before anyone but Marv could know she’s been killed. Somebody paid good money for this frame . . .
- Supermutant Magic Academy – Jillian Tamaki
Tamaki deftly plays superhero and high-school Hollywood tropes against what adolescence is really like: The SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep school for mutants and witches, but their paranormal abilities take a backseat to everyday teen concerns.
- Susceptible – Geneviève Castrée
Goglu is a daydreamer with a young working mother, a disengaged stepfather, and a father who lives five thousand miles away. Drawing, punk rock, and the promise of true independence guide Goglu to adulthood while her home’s daily chaos inevitably shapes her identity. Susceptible is a devastating graphic novel debut by Geneviève Castrée; it’s a testament to the heartbreaking loss of innocence when a child is forced to be the adult amongst grownups..
- Tale of One Bad Rat – Brian Talbot
The story of a young girl, Helen Potter, who runs away from home to escape an uncaring mother and a sexually abusive father. Eventually she finds her way to the Lake District, drawn there by her love of the work of Beatrix Potter, and in that beautiful landscape she at last finds peace.
- Tales of Woodsman Pete – Lilli Carré
A collection of vignettes and stories about a solitary albeit gregarious woodsman with a loose grasp on his own personal history and that of the outside world. He forms relationships with his inanimate surroundings and muses to a dead audience, specifically his bear rug Phillippe. His own tales eventually become entangled with that of the legendary Paul Bunyan, and the two become indirectly intertwined, illuminating the discrepancy between the character of the storyteller and the character within his stories.
- Tamara Drewe – Posy Simmonds
Loosely inspired by Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, Tamara Drewe follows a year at Stonefield, a bucolic writer’s retreat run by Beth and Nicholas Hardiman, where Dr. Glen Larson, an American professor and struggling novelist, is staying. The ambitious young Tamara Drewe, mourning the loss of her mother, has returned to her family home nearby. A bookish girl not so long ago, Tamara is now a gossipy columnist at a London paper and undeniably sexy. She quickly has every man in the vicinity—Glen, Nicholas, and the handyman, Andy—falling at her feet, while teenage best friends Casey and Jody become infatuated with Tamara and her ex-rock-star fiancé, Ben. Meanwhile, long-suffering Beth sees to the needs of the writers while managing the farm, the household, and the many affairs of her husband, a best-selling detective novelist.
- The Arrival – Shaun Tan
What drives so many to leave everything behind and journey alone to a mysterious country, a place without family or friends, where everything is nameless and the future is unknown. This silent graphic novel is the story of every migrant, every refugee, every displaced person, and a tribute to all those who have made the journey.
- The Bad Doctor – Ian Williams
Cartoonist and doctor Ian Williams introduces us to the troubled life of Dr Iwan James, as all humanity, it seems, passes through his surgery door. Incontinent old ladies, men with eagle tattoos, traumatised widowers – Iwan’s patients cause him both empathy and dismay, as he tries to do his best in a world of limited time and budgetary constraints, and in which there are no easy answers.
- The Black Project – Gareth Brookes
The Black Project is a darkly funny story of obsession, beautifully crafted in embroidery and lino-cut. The novel’s focus is on the divide between childhood and adulthood; where sex, perversion, and the grotesque feature in their many forms.
- The Encyclopedia of Early Earth – Isabel Greenberg
Before our history began, another–now forgotten–civilization thrived. The people who roamed Early Earth were much like us: curious, emotional, funny, ambitious, and vulnerable. In this series of illustrated and linked tales, Isabel Greenberg chronicles the explorations of a young man as he paddles from his home in the North Pole to the South Pole. There, he meets his true love, but their romance is ill-fated. Early Earth’s unusual and finicky polarity means the lovers can never touch.
- The Great War – Joe Sacco
In The Great War, acclaimed cartoon journalist Joe Sacco depicts the events of that day in an extraordinary, 24-foot- long panorama: from General Douglas Haig and the massive artillery positions behind the trench lines to the legions of soldiers going “over the top” and getting cut down in no-man’s-land, to the tens of thousands of wounded soldiers retreating and the dead being buried en masse.
- The House that Groaned – Karrie Fransman
Exploring bodies and the spaces they inhabit, this tale is set in an old Victorian tenement housing six lonely individuals who could only have stepped out of the pages of a comic book. There is the retoucher who cannot touch, a grandmother who literally blends into the background, and a 20-something guy who’s sexually attracted to diseased women. Yet, as we learn the stories behind these extreme characters, it becomes apparent that we may share simlar issues—as individuals and as a society.
- The London Jungle Book – Bajjhu Shyam
Bhajju Shyam, a celebrated and award-winning artist from the Gond tribe in central India, was commissioned to paint the walls of an Indian restaurant in London. He spent two months in the city, and it was the first time he encountered a western metropolis. The book that emerged from his journey is a visual travelogue that both mimics and subverts the typical colonial encounter.
- The Nao of Brown – Glyn Dillon
Twenty-eight-year-old Nao Brown is not well. She’s suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and fighting violent urges to harm other people. But that’s not who she really wants to be. Nao has dreams. She wants to quiet her unruly mind; she wants to get her design and illustration career off the ground; and she wants to find love, perfect love.
- The New Ghost – Robert Hunter
A beautifully rendered, literally haunting tale of the afterlife, follows a spectral entity on his first day at work: dark, gentle, poetic, and heart-warming all at once, it is an atmospheric tale to dash the conventions of comics and leave you thirsty for more from this young storyteller.
- The Queers – Jenny Lin
Pairing moody, monochromatic watercolour images with an austere text, the story is a take on queer Gothic horror fiction. If in this genre in the past queerness is suggested through an atmosphere of horror but unstated, in The Queers, by contrast, queerness is overt, named and repeated, while the horror and hauntedness of its setting is only suggested and imagined.
- The Spire – Si Spurrier, Jeff Stokely, André May
Visit the strange and fantastic world of The Spire, where an inexplicable murder has turned an impossible tower of a city upside down.
- The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and The Bogus Identity – Mike Carey & Peter Gross
Tom Taylor’s life was screwed from go. His father created the Tommy Taylor fantasy series, boy-wizard novels with popularity on par with Harry Potter. The problem is Dad modeled the fictional epic so closely to Tom’s real life that fans are constantly comparing him to his counterpart, turning him into the lamest variety of Z-level celebrity.
- The Wicked and the Divine: The Faust Act – Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead.
- This One Summer – Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. One of the local teens – just a couple of years older than Rose and Windy – is caught up in something bad… Something life threatening.
- Through the Woods – Emily Carroll
These are fairy tales gone seriously wrong, where you can travel to “Our Neighbor’s House”—though coming back might be a problem. Or find yourself a young bride in a house that holds a terrible secret in “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold.”
- Trains Are… Mint – Oliver East
East’s Trains Are…Mint uses an artist’s eye to spot out the many elements which make up the everyday world, but which people often simply tune out and don’t notice, spotted as he travels around Manchester. The meandering journes are all detailed with layered, poetic artwork.
- Transmetropolitan: Back on the Street – Warren Ellis & Darrick Robertson
In this first volume, Spider ventures into the dangerous Angels 8 district, home of the Transients — humans who have decided to become aliens through cosmetic surgery. But Spider’s interview with the Transients’ leader gets him a scoop he didn’t bargain for.
- Becoming Unbecoming – Una
It’s 1977 and Una is twelve. A serial murderer is at large in West Yorkshire and the police are struggling to solve the case – despite spending more than two million man-hours hunting the killer and interviewing the man himself no less than nine times.As this national news story unfolds around her, Una finds herself on the receiving end of a series of violent acts for which she feels she is to blame.Through image and text Becoming Unbecoming explores what it means to grow up in a culture where male violence goes unpunished and unquestioned.
- Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art – Scott McCloud
This innovative comic book provides a detailed look at the history, meaning, and art of comics and cartooning.
- Unflattening – Nick Sousanis
Unflattening is an insurrection against the fixed viewpoint. Weaving together diverse ways of seeing drawn from science, philosophy, art, literature, and mythology, it uses the collage-like capacity of comics to show that perception is always an active process of incorporating and reevaluating different vantage points.
- V For Vendetta – Alan Moore & David Lloyd
In a world without political freedom, personal freedom and precious little faith in anything comes a mysterious man in a white porcelain mask who fights political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly absurd acts. It’s a gripping tale of the blurred lines between ideological good and evil.
- Watchmen – Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Considered the greatest graphic novel in the history of the medium, the Hugo Award-winning story chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.
- When the Wind Blows – Raymond Briggs
Raymond Briggs’ comic cartoon book depicts the effects of a nuclear attack on an elderly couple in his usual humorous yet macabre way.
- White Rapids – Pascal Blanchet
Blanchet seamlessly blends fact and fiction as he weaves together the official history of the town and snapshots of the quotidian life of its residents. Founded in 1928 in an isolated region of Quebec forest, the town was conceived and constructed by the Shawinigan Water & Power Company to function as a fully equipped, self-contained living community for workers at the nearby dam and their families. Intended as an incentive to lure workers to the remote and inaccessible region, White Rapids provided its residents with all the luxuries of middle-class modern life in a pastoral setting-until the town was abruptly shut down in 1971, when the company changed hands.
- Y the Last Man: Book One – Brian K Vaughn, Pia Guerra & Jose Marzan Jr.
This is the saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth.
- 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style – Matt Madden
Inspired by Raymond Queneau’s 1947 Exercises in Style, a mainstay of creative writing courses, Madden’s project demonstrates the expansive range of possibilities available to all storytellers. Readers are taken on an enlightening tour—sometimes amusing, always surprising—through the world of the story.
- 100 Bullets: Book One – Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso
This dark and intriguing Eisner Award-winning series features a mysterious agent named Graves who approaches ordinary citizens and gives them an opportunity to exact revenge on a person who has wronged them. Offering his clients an attaché case containing proof of the deed and a gun, he guarantees his “clients” full immunity for all of their actions, including murder.
- 101 Artists to Listen to Before you Die – Ricardo Cavalo
A graphic novel in the form of Ricardo Cavolo’s personal diary, which follows the story of music through 101 essential artists; from Bach to Radiohead, to Amy Winehouse, Nirvana and Daft Punk. With over one hundred uniquely colorful illustrations and handwritten text, lists, notes, and personal anecdotes this is a book to delight in.
- 750 Years in Paris – Vincent Mahé
A literary graphic novel unlike anything else on the racks, 750 Years tells the story of our time, focusing on one single building in France as it sees its way through the upheavals of history. Beginning in the thirteenth century and making its way towards today, this historically accurate story is the eagerly anticipated debut from Vincent Mahé.
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