Monday, February 23, 2009

Riddle Me This: What Graphic Novel Would You Recommend to Someone Who Doesn't Read Graphic Novels?


In conjunction with Jeff Lemire's visit to the University of Windsor on March 30 (more soon), we're trying to promote the graphic novel collection at Leddy Library. Of course, the people who read comics make very good use of the collection and for those people, all you have to do is point them in the right direction. But what about the person who has never read comics or hasn't read comics since childhood? How do you get that person to sit down with a graphic novel? How do you encourage non-comics readers to explore what's out there?

So, the question is, what graphic novel would you recommend for a non-comics reader and why? Drop a line in the comments section with the title, writer/artist, and one or two sentences that explains your reasoning.

For the Graphic Novels Seminar, the students are creating Annotated Comics Pages that will show/theorize how to read a comics page. What I would like to do is take some of your suggestions and include them in this library display that is being created for the end of the semester (to coincide with the Lemire visit). My hope is that all of it will come together to help create even more interest in the excellent collection of graphic novels that is housed at Leddy Library.

17 comments:

Genevieve Mac said...

Definately Scott Pilgrim! He's awesome.
I also really like Art Speigleman's Maus. I read it for one of Dr Frank's classes and then read the other half on my own.

Oh, and Aaron got me a cool one for my birthday called "Fasion Kitty" but I don't know if it's age appropriate....

Dale Jacobs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heidi said...

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NICOLE M said...

Well last semester in Michelle Banks' class we read Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" which is considered a graphic novel. It's about feminist/lesbian experiences especially in terms of familial dynamics. I never thought I would be someone who could say they've read a graphic novel but now I am telling my friends about it!

Mita said...

For a gentle start to the genre, I'd recommend Adrian Tomine's Shortcomings or Chester Brown's Louis Riel : a comic-strip biography.

The stories are linear and the story lines are neat and sharp in both of these books.

Dale Jacobs said...

Thanks everyone. It's great to get recommendations from a variety of people. Keep it coming.

ChadiusMaximus said...

Dale I would recommend these:
* The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier; Written by Alan Moore, illustrated by Kevin O'Neill - an excellent adventure tale well drawn.
* Exit Wounds; Written by Rutu Modan - it was so weird that I just couldn't put it down.
* Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography; Helfer, Andrew, Randy DuBurke - A good depiction of the man as well as appealling to the new generation that prefers pictures to written words to describe a scene.
* The Death of Captain America: The Death of the Dream, v. 1.; Brubaker, Ed and Steve Epting & The Death of Captain America: The Burden of Dreams, v. 2.; Brubaker, Ed and Steve Epting - As good a superhero ending as there is

Chip
PDT 817

Greg said...

Y: The Last Man vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn/Pia Guerra. For people who are convinced that comic books are "for kids". Every time I've lent this to a reluctant friend, they come back begging for the next volume.

Blankets by Craig Thompson. Funny, warm, heartbreaking. A terrific example of a graphic memoir.

-Greg Ragan

jodi said...

What about something by Joe Sacco? maybe not Palestine for the first foray into graphic novel journalism (too brutal). The first graphic novel I ever bought for myself was The Fixer.

I'd also second the Alison Bechdel, or the Louis Riel biography. Guess it goes without saying I prefer nonfiction to the superhero stuff.

Braydon Beaulieu said...

I tend to start people out with compilations like "Flight" and whatnot. Lets them find their own style and then they request more of what suits them.

Aaron F. said...

Grant Morrison's We3 is absolutely amazing. Heart-wrenching, ground-breaking, and, uh, good-being, the only potential drawback is that it's very violent and visceral in certain scenes. Frank Quitely's illustrations are beautiful and quite often jump off the page (nearly literally). It's a great example, I think, of showing what comics are solely capable of, without asking too much of the reader (ie, perhaps less subtle than, say, the Watchmen).

Heidi said...

The first one that really got me was Good-bye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson. Someone I knew loaned it to me and said if everyone were given a copy of Chunky Rice, the world would be a better place. She had an extra copy to just to loan out. I read hers and loved it. I bought a copy and always smile when I think of Chunky Rice. Ah... Chunky Rice....

Dale Jacobs said...

This is great and will give us some excellent material to help promote reading graphic novels in general and the collection at the UW library in particular. Keep it coming.

Michael John said...

I'm currently lending out CRIMINAL trades and the IMMORTAL IRON FIST to several first-time comics readers. Ed Brubaker is the writer on both (Iron Fist is co-written with Matt Fraction). They're really fun, stylized comics that are accessible.

Other comics that have gone over well have been FABLES, BLANKETS, and Y THE LAST MAN.

Renee said...

The first Graphic novel I ever read was "I Never Liked You" by Chester Brown. It's a pretty gut wrenching look at what it's like to grow up--funny, sad and awkward.

I also like Brown's "Louis Riel." It was gripping, and it was extremely interesting to see history presented this way.

Stefanie said...

I would totally recommend:


Bone by Jeff Smith is DEFINITELY the first comic I would point someone towards who was learning how to read a comic. It is so straightforward and enjoyable by everyone of all ages.

Then I would point them towards:
Persepolis by Marjane Sartrapi
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Maus by Art Spiegelman


And finally, when they are ready, the first volume of Sandman by Neil Gaiman. Not that it is difficult to read, but the style can be overwhelming at times.

kerry said...

you know how i feel about comics/graphic novels...
that being said...
i liked "v for vendetta"
and, while it is currently rather cliche, i picked up "Watchmen" just to read a few pages and ended up not being able to put it down, at the expense of sleep.