Graphic Novels
April 29, 2004 11:41 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for graphic novels to read and am hopelessly out of the loop. Years ago my favorites were the Alan Moore Swamp Thing Collection, Sandman, Hellblazer, Daredevil: Born Again, Dark Knight Returns, Arkham Asylum. Can anyone suggest any essential graphic novels in that vein from the past ten years?

Someone mentioned Preacher on MeFi this morning, and that series sounded good.
posted by dhoyt to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Anything with Alex Ross art usually merits good writing to make it worth his time: I highly recommend Marvels, Kingdom Come, and U.S., which I rank as one of the finest historical-commentary graphic novels since Maus.

I've yet to meet someone who didn't like at least part of the Preacher series, perfect to grab now that the complete series is available in paperback.

Frank Miller stuff: Sin City is good, will get even more popular with the movie starting up so look for reprints. Dark Knight Strikes Again is 1/3 good, followed by two issues that are complete poo.

Stan Sakai continues to do Usagi Yojimbo, and it still continues to be one of the best-drawn and well-written comics in the world.

I haven't read any Transmetropolitan yet, but I hear it's fantastic.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:50 AM on April 29, 2004

Previously discussed on AskMe. Please search!
posted by mkultra at 11:54 AM on April 29, 2004 [1 favorite]

Garth Ennis's Preacher, Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan, Grant Morrison's The Invisibles, Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Top Ten, John Ney Reiber's Books Of Magic, Warren Ellis's The Authority, and Grant Morrison's The New X-men (no, really).

And that's just off the top of my head.
posted by Katemonkey at 11:56 AM on April 29, 2004

Response by poster: Ack, sorry about not searching. I always do it on MeFi, but rarely post to AskMe and totally forgot. Thanks for the recommendations in any case...
posted by dhoyt at 12:03 PM on April 29, 2004

Anything with Alex Ross art usually merits good writing to make it worth his time

I wish I could agree with this. Alex Ross's art is truly humbling, but Kingdom Come was such a barker it actually detracted from the art. Marvels was tolerable, though still not the greatest writing.

You should try Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, dhoyt. Now that's good writing. And I'll second Top 10.
posted by scarabic at 12:11 PM on April 29, 2004

Response by poster: I actually read both "V for Vendetta" and "The Watchmen" when I was younger and still flip through the dog-eared copies once in awhile. Great stuff.

Is "Jimmy Corrigan..." as overrated as I've heard?
posted by dhoyt at 12:26 PM on April 29, 2004

Is "Jimmy Corrigan..." as overrated as I've heard?

Depends entirely on your taste. I liked it a lot, but that was at least partly because I'd seen Chris Ware speak about it. And I'm a sucker for his art. But I can really see how people would hate the book, especially if you want something with a plot. Or something that doesn't depress the hell out of you.
posted by COBRA! at 12:35 PM on April 29, 2004

I thought Jimmy Corrigan was genius, and I hadn't been exposed to any hype beforehand--I just picked it up in a bookstore, not knowing what it was. The only thing I had by Chris Ware at the time was the cover art he did (with Chip Kidd) for Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

I spent about a month reading it, carrying it around with me constantly when I was out in public. After a while friends began to ask me, "Does it take that long to read a comic book?" If it's Jimmy Corrigan--yes.
posted by Prospero at 12:43 PM on April 29, 2004

if you are in the SF-bay area this weekend, you can always to to Wondercon and take a look at thousands of books.
posted by th3ph17 at 12:53 PM on April 29, 2004

I have mixed feelings about Jimmy Corrigan as a graphic novel, which is odd because I'm absolutely obsessed with Chris Ware's work.

I first read Jimmy Corrigan as it was being published serially in Ware's Acme Novelty Library series. Broken down into bits and offered in tandem with other bits of Ware's endlessly entertaining oevre under the same cover, the series worked very well for me.

Collecting it into one volume without the additional material seemed to concentrate the series into one giant wallop of negativity. I think the absence of all the 'comic-book' related humor and packaging served to strip a bit of the humor from the series. But that's just me. It's still a gigantic achievement and an insanely great design work.

Less Graphic-Novelish and more a primer on Ware's short-form pre-Jimmy Corrigan work is last year's Quimby the Mouse. As a Ware enthusiast, I'd recommend that over Jimmy Corrigan.
posted by adamkempa at 12:59 PM on April 29, 2004

One that wasn't mentioned very often in the previous thread, but deserves it is Bone by Jeff Smith. The art is amazing, the writing strong. The story is three books-of-three and he's finishing the ninth now.

The art strikes me as a sort of fusion of Eisner and Schultz at their primes. The story is a fantasy of princesses, dragons (with floppy ears) and mystic warriors, but that's just a backdrop for the antics of the Bone clan. If you like Pogo, you'll probably fall head-over-heels for Bone.
posted by bonehead at 1:18 PM on April 29, 2004

For the spandex set, personally, I think the Best Stuff in the last decade has mostly come from DC and a scattering of independents.

* Kurt Busiek's Astro City is as essential as Watchmen, Miricleman/Marvelman, the Dark Knight Returns were ten years ago. Mr. Busiek has reimagined almost every major DC and Marvel hero with an eye to what they'd have to be like to live the lives they do. That's a terribly inadequate description---just read the books. There are currently four collections; start with the first and read the remainder in any order. Homage is a DC line.

* Alan Moore has really hit his stride in the past ten years: The League of Incredible Gentlemen (2 books), Tom Strong (2 books), Top Ten (2 books) and my favourite: Promethea (4 books) are all worth seeking out. In my opinion Supreme and From Hell were less than sucessful. Most of his stuff now comes from his own imprint: America's Best Comics.

* The Books of Magic might interest you if you liked Neil Gaiman's Sandman work. From DC, severn or eight books now.

* DC has always produced some of it's most interesting stuff as "Elseworlds", outside of the regular monthlies continuity. Dark Knight is an Elseworld book, for instance. Kurt Busiek (of Astro City) has just done for Superman what Frank Miller did for Batman. Superman: Secret Identity is the best (4-issue) book I've read in ages. It's still only available in single issues, but man, it's worth hunting down.
posted by bonehead at 1:38 PM on April 29, 2004

I'm one Pogo fan who found Bone to be extremely mediocre.

To counteract that fit of negativity, let me recommend Craig Thompson's Blankets and Kaiji Kawaguchi's Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President.
posted by ursus_comiter at 2:34 PM on April 29, 2004

Please search!
Please make the search function scan through all areas, returning results categorized by MeFi area!

Please upgrade the search engine to pre-scan your posting for keywords, with likely matches provided on preview!
posted by joeclark at 3:59 PM on April 29, 2004

Again, I am going to speak against buying Preacher, because it just doesn't pay off on its premise. Read Just a Pilgrim or Fury for less expensive, more palatable, ultimately more enjoyable doses of Garth Ennis.
posted by Hildago at 5:10 PM on April 29, 2004

I was the one who posted the last thread on comics. And I can report on a few of the series I have read.

First of all, I really like Astro City. I can't recommend it enough.

Of the new things I read, I liked Transmetropolitan (through the first 3 collections) and Palestine the best. They are both amazing stories in their own way. I am also enjoying 100 Bullets.

I tried Jimmy Corrigan, but count me as someone who just doesn't get it. The art is unique, and the situations touching, but I am probably not extremely interested in reading introspective stories about social misfits. I think I am looking for a different kind of escapism in my comics.

I have also not been overwhelmed by Sandman, although I am told it hits its stride in later issues.

Thanks for all the people who offered suggestions to my previous post!
posted by Tallguy at 6:31 PM on April 29, 2004

No mention of Hellboy? You can't get much more graphic (in the aesthetic sense) and noir than that.

The first 4 TPBs of The Authority is also some very nice and surprising subverted superhero work.
posted by elphTeq at 8:05 PM on April 29, 2004

If TPB's count, david mack's painted kabuki stuff.

Also I think sam kieth's maxx stuff is being (has been?) rereleased in TPB form.

I love Popbot but if I were being objective about it, it's probably too pricy for what it is.

imo, all three are excellent though.
posted by juv3nal at 1:27 AM on April 30, 2004

Can I recommend Ghost World by Daniel Clowes?

Touching and well drawn
posted by dmt at 6:44 AM on April 30, 2004

It's not reallly in the same vein, but I am a Sandman/Books of Magic fan who started reading Eisner and loved it - try The Contract with God or The Building.
posted by jb at 9:40 AM on April 30, 2004

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