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December 15, 2017 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Looking for graphic novel suggestions for nearly-21-year-old son for Christmas.

College junior son has requested some books for Christmas. I've got non-fiction and fiction covered but need some help with the graphic novel request.

He doesn't have a lot of time to read, so I think he'd prefer standalone novels/one-shots vs. trilogies or more, but if you absolutely LOVE a series, go ahead and include it.

He's read The Sandman, Maus, Marvel 1602, Watchmen, Killing Joke. He's definitely a feminist and very aware and supportive of social equality, and he's one of the good gamers (incidentally, he wants to design games that surreptitiously make the players more sympathetic to those who are different from them). I'm sure he'd appreciate something diverse and/or written by someone other than a white male. He's not a fan of manga/anime in general.
posted by cooker girl to Grab Bag (27 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, shoot. He's also read Pyongyang, V for Vendetta, and Y: The Last Man. He didn't like Y: The Last Man.
posted by cooker girl at 7:40 AM on December 15, 2017

I'd go with "Saga" by Fiona Staples and Brain Vaughn.
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:41 AM on December 15, 2017 [7 favorites]

Oops, just saw your addition. If he didn't care for "Y", maybe give "Saga" a pass.
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:43 AM on December 15, 2017

Would he be interested in anything by Joe Sacco? Non-fiction/journalistic graphic novels. I can recommend Journalism

Note that it is very heavy stuff

here is the Amazon author page
posted by czytm at 7:50 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Guy Delisle wrote Pyongyang and has a bunch of others - I really liked the Burma Chronicles.
I assume he has read Persepolis and Fun Home.
Aya of Yop City is a fabulous, funny look at drama in a neighborhood of Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire. It's a series, but only 6 books.
posted by quadrilaterals at 7:51 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

If he likes Alan Moore's stuff, then From Hell for sure
posted by crocomancer at 7:52 AM on December 15, 2017

I'm also not a fan of manga/anime in general, but was really happy to crush through both volumes of Planates.

Hard to go wrong with some other classics like The Incal.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:53 AM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Locke and Key, by "Joe Hill" (Steven King's very talented son). It's a series, because it was too long to put in one issue, but it's can't-put-down reading.
posted by ubiquity at 7:59 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also from Alan Moore: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
posted by ejs at 8:02 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Love and Rockets!!! The best. If you want a standalone, this compilation volume has the best of all, The Death of Speedy Ortiz.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 8:03 AM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seconding Saga--it's terrific. I didn't think much of Y and wouldn't worry about that connection--they felt very different in my mind.
posted by Wobbuffet at 8:20 AM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

A few friends took a graphic novel course this semester, and they all seemed to dig Vietnamerica.
posted by xenization at 8:25 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Digger by Ursula Vernon. It's one-shot, kind of enormous, really wonderful, with great art, an interesting story, and memorable characters.
posted by suelac at 8:34 AM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

I also don't generally go in for Manga, but I was persuaded to read Pluto and it was great.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:55 AM on December 15, 2017

Oh yeah, and Fun Home for sure.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:57 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris (there will be a second part out next year) and House of Women by Sophie Goldstein are both from this year and both amazing.

Emily Carroll's Through the Woods gets recommended a lot, and for good reason. It's a collection of short stories, though, so not quite a graphic novel. She's done some game design work, too (her wife, Kate Craig, works for game development company, Fullbright).
posted by darksong at 9:34 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Fun Home and Persepolis are both memoirs written by marginalized women. I thoroughly enjoyed both of them.
posted by monologish at 9:45 AM on December 15, 2017

Dittoing Saga is rather better and more expansive than Y. More characters, better developed. Yorrick could be really unlikable, which could present a major block for those readers. I find the range of characters in Saga makes that much less of a problem. Vaughn has developed as a writer.

Seconding Incal as well. I read it at about that age and it blew my mind.
posted by bonehead at 9:58 AM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

The 1st 2 volumes of Riad Sattouf's The Arab of the Future (English translation of the 3rd comes out next year)
posted by brujita at 10:30 AM on December 15, 2017

Blacksad: Noir detective stories in a world of anthropomorphic animals. The artwork is breathtaking. There's at least two more volumes, but every one is standalone. The first volume includes the first 3 stories.

He would probably enjoy also Bitch Planet. It's about a future world were non-conforming women are sent to a prison planet. Only two volumes released so far. Definitely ticks the social equality, feminism, and diversity boxes.
posted by exolstice at 11:20 AM on December 15, 2017

Seconding Love and Rockets
posted by tardigrade at 11:22 AM on December 15, 2017

If he liked Sandman and Watchmen, he will LOVE Neil Gaiman's Black Orchid.

Carla Speed McNeil's Finder series is a wonderful, character-driven SF cult classic. It is ongoing, but each arc is fairly self-contained.

Linda Medley's Castle Waiting is a charming, funny deconstruction of fairy tales and is the most feminist comic I've ever read. I think it would appeal to a Gaiman fan.

Another lighter read is Noelle Stevenson's mad science romp Nimona, probably my favorite book of 2015.

Finally, every young comics reader should read Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud.
posted by toastedcheese at 12:27 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Monstress was my graphic novel book club's favorite read this year. I could spend hours just looking at the illustrations. Also, the first compilation volume ("Awakening") is a fairly standalone story, so he can decide if he wants to end there or keep up.
posted by theweasel at 1:35 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

He might enjoy some of Grant Morrison’s Vertigo books- Animal Man, Doom Patrol and The Invisibles.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 11:36 PM on December 15, 2017

Perhaps relevant to his interests: the March trilogy, the story of the civil rights movement in the US. Co-written by civil rights hero John Lewis.

quadrilaterals beat me to my other suggestion, Aya of Yop City. Also if he has studied French (or wants to), the original series is "Aya de Yopougon". They do not require a terribly advanced reading level and would introduce him to some fun Ivoirian slang he almost certainly wouldn't get from classes or Rosetta Stone.
posted by solotoro at 9:32 AM on December 16, 2017

Hope I'm not too late, but

It's based off folktales/fairytales (protagonists include Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf) and it's won 14 Eisners. Utterly riveting even though yes, it's a series.

Gotham Central is also noted for being a comic series about Batman without Batman.

For more recommendations, check out your local library or comic book store :)

I'd also like to recommend my country's own Eisner winner: The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye which blends history, different art styles, and was embroiled in plenty of controversy. Not sure how an audience that isn't in the loop would find it though.
posted by appleses at 12:24 PM on December 16, 2017

Seconding Fables!
The Unwritten
posted by soelo at 8:35 AM on December 18, 2017

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