Welcome to our graphic novel section where we believe in making thematic, artistic, and intellectual connections between you and the books we care about. We know comics, their history, and exist between indie and the mainstream, seeking only to connect you with books that correspond to your passions and curiosity.
The perception of the American Dream creates expectation and disappointment. A series of stories links characters to this dream as it turns dark. Art reminiscent of Charles Burns, Joe Coleman, and Paul Gulacy. This is literature set to pictures and the ghosts of the beats. --Darren Yes, yes. Wavering between darkness and redemption. --Arlo
What would happen if Superman landed in Mother Russia as a baby, instead of Smallvile, USA? Who would he fight for? How would America fight back? An excellent story for Superman fans and for people who can't stand Superman. --Darren
BUFFY SEASON #8: This one is strictly for people who are in the know. If you are one of the faithful, then this is a must read. With the advent of Buffy in comics, Whedon has really hit his stride with this medium. The story, characters, dialogue and humor are just as compelling as they ever were when being produced for TV and the scope (now that it's not constrained by a budget) is epic. Also, reading Whedon's Buffy instead of watching it makes it much more obvious what a huge influence his work has been on other great comics writers like Brian K. Vaughan and Brian Michael Bendis. The patience of the faithful has at last been rewarded and we can once again bask in the glory of the master (just kidding…not really…I’m a fanatic…kidding…not really) -Charles
David Mazzuchelli, artist for Batman Year One and Asterios Polyp, adapted a book many would consider unadaptable and, in many ways, surpassed the original. Simple, direct art melded with virtuoso storytelling pushes the comic medium to its limits. Moody, intense noir that examines the soul itself.
In an ongoing genocide which is the true path to justice? You think you know the answer to that. You don’t know shit. This series is all about exploring something little to no literature ever attempts to. Who is daring to explore this no man’s land of drug addicted child soldiers? A comic book. That’s right. The funny books. Can you look into the darkness and see yourself? See the answer? Sacrifice your soul to do what has to be done? The UNKOWN SOLDIER can. --Darren
"A work ambitious in both scope and complexity that still stands unique upon the comics landscape...stunning"- ALAN MOORE
Behold the David Bowie / Jerry Cornelius godhead, a being who exists in only one parallel reality but is able to navigate within all of them. His mission: to stop the parallel world advance of the Disruptors who are bent on nothing less than total enslavement or, if need be, total destruction of all counter earths. LUTHER ARKWRIGHT can be read on so many levels. As an intricately plotted tale of interstellar espionage. As a dissertation on fascism, democracy and mythology masquerading as an action movie. As a densely written and drawn masterpiece that stands along WATCHMEN in quality and scope. You’ll find your own answers and interpretations.
As sad and touching as a Raymond Carver short story. As creative as a Johnathan Lethem novel. One of the smartest and saddest things that you will ever read. It breaks my heart every time I finish it. --Kevin
PSYCHO MANGA OF THE 1960’S!!! Finally, the king of Japanese horror and comedy manga has arrived. Kazuo Umezu’s work Spans over 50 years permeating Japanese popular culture. Without him, movies like Ringu , Battle Royale or manga artist Junji Ito would not exist. When asked why he did both comedy and horror, Umezu replied: “ In comedy you are chasing somebody…In horror, somebody is chasing you. They are two sides of the same coin.” His style lulls you in classic Shonen (Japanese term for boy manga) art of the 1960’s but then throws a psychedelic curve ball. His characters aren’t necessarily the good guys often just bystanders witnessing horrible situations or becoming the cause of such woe. CAT EYED BOY is a great starting point. For people who love Tales from the Crypt, or even Charles Burn’s black hole , this book will disturb and entertain you. -Dan
CASANOVA QUINN does a lot of drugs, a lot of gambling and a whole lot of f**king with the space time continuum. Why? Because he can. Why? Because his Dad runs the largest police force in the world. Why? Because Casanova Quinn is a rebel. James Bond meets Jerry Cornelius in story where ideas and plot morph continuously. It's Rock 'n' Roll in a comic. --Darren
Especially beautiful when he shuts the sound off and lets the motion go for pages. Sometimes he shuts the lights out also (then it's breathless...dark...) I don't want to say too much... shhh.... --Arlo
Dashiell Bad Horse has returned to the Prarie Rose Reservation with a mission. But that's a secret. A secret that stretches back to the early 1970's and a series of unsolved murders. Full of action and politics and intrigue, this book covers the harsh realities of the modern Native American torn between casinos and their past. --Darren
An epic tour de force concerning itself with GERMANY'S decline in fascism from 1919 to the ascendancy of the NAZI party in the 1930's. But let's be clear. This is not a rehash of things you've already seen in a million movies. In BERLIN, infinite ideologies, political movements and citizens fight for the soul of Germany as they perceive it. Berlin accomplishes what every great historical fiction should. It makes you believe you are there and that the future isn't written yet. Not yet.
Who watches the Watchmen? The Boys do. And they kick the crap out of them.
Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson have created a bawdy, filthy, gore-drenched world of depraved, degenerate superheroes and the secret government organization whose job it is to keep them in line. It makes the world Alan Moore created in the Watchmen look like (in the words of the kid in Back to the Future Part 2) "a baby's game."
Though this is certainly broad satire, poking fun at a variety of comic book tropes and characters (thinly disguised versions of the JLA and the X-Men franchises) the thing that makes it so damn addictive is the realistic and heartfelt relationships the Boys share. Imagine if Edgar Wright made a Superhero movie. And that's not so hard to imagine since one of the boys is drawn intentionally to look like Simon Pegg. Really fun stuff, if you have the stomach for it. Luckily, mine is cast iron.
Hitmen have always been a fixture in crime fiction, but what separates THE KILLER from other crime stories is the execution (pun intended). The words and art flow seamlessly, vividly creating the world of a hitman unraveling, on the run, near the end of his days. This FRENCH import pulls no punches, unconcerned with creating a likeable protagonist, just an honest one. -- Darren
David Kohl is a womanizing ASSHOLE and a PHONOMANCER, a sorcerer of sorts, who derives his power from music. In this case, 90's BRITPOP (BLUR, SUEDE, OASIS, PULP, MANIC STREET PREACHERS, ETC.). Someone is resurrecting the spirit of that era, albeit in a bastardized, zombified form that is altering Khol's memories and changing reality around him. A wonderful, allegorical read that deals with the double-sided bite of nostalgia and the ways we use / misuse the past to define / confuse ourselves. --Darren
Grant Morrison, well known in comics circles as an A-list writer for DC comics, came to American comics as part of the British Invasion of the mid 80's that included Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman; and like those authors Morrison qualifies as one of the best examples of the literary and artistic possibilities that the genre had rarely exhibited up to the point of their arrival. 'Doom Patrol' and 'Animal Man', two minor and forgotten properties of the 60's DC era, are given new life by Morrison's masterful use of the same revisionist techniques Alan Moore made so famous with 'The Watchmen'; what were badly written, cheesy characters now become invested with humanity, political sophistication, and story structures utilizing the best of the kind of meta-fiction found in writers like Vonnegut or Pynchon. Morrison's masterpiece, however, is the multi-volume series 'The Invisibles'; an epic tale of revolution, mysticism, and paranoia that is so referentially dense it also works as a grand, psychedelic infused intro to the study of art history and 20th century politics. required reading.
Ed Brubaker lives, eats, and breathes noir. Criminal is a series he created to contain his stories and characters in a shared-world setting. Graced with evocative art by Sean Phillips, each volume presents a facet of that world. Inspired by David Goodis, Dan J. Marlowe, Richard Stark, Raymond Chandler, and other greats, Brubaker takes his influences and creates new and exciting with them. -- Darren
ADAPTED & ILLUSTRATED by DARWYN COOKE Parker is a sociopath, an unrepentant crook and God help you if you get on his bad side. The post-modern crime genre begins and ends here. It is a tribute to STARK that you find yourself rooting for Parker to succeed, become disgusted with yourself and then keep reading. Darwyn Cooke has fashioned a graphic novel with the full participation and approval of the writer. It inhabits the world and mindset of 1962 in a way that pays tribute to and enhances LEE MARVIN’s role in POINT BLANK by allowing itself to be crueler. It never turns away. Lovingly retro in design with cutting edge graphics by an artist operating at the top of his craft. -- Darren
Easily the best psychological exploration of this most famous of villains since Alan Moore’s ‘The Killing Joke’. The choice of criminal protégé as narrator works brilliantly and the juxtaposition of the passionate, scenery chewing Joker with the omnipresent, but offstage and cold-as-ice Batman throws an almost sympathetic light on the ultimate nihilist. The finest moments are scenes that subtly and smartly suggest that rather than being a true sociopath, Joker actually cares very deeply about his place in the world and especially about the opinion of the Batman. Azzerello’s work here easily ranks alongside the other classic texts of these archetypal American myths and has the potential to be part of the pantheon of great stories that taught us not to be embarrassed about our love of comics. -Charles
Shortcomings is a graphic novel which anyone who's been a cynical 20-something can appreciate. There aren't likable characters, bot Tomine develops them wonderfully into young people with which we can relate... insecure people torn between places, fighting a monotonous existence. Doesn't make you feel like a ray of sunshine, but then, what good writing does? --Hannis
Superman Apocrypha of the highest order. A little superboy lands on earth and, unwittingly, kills his adopted parents and the entire populace of his small village. A hilariously disturbing deconstruction of superheroes, the dark history and exploitation of their creators and cold war nuclear politics. Reality is created through shared consensus. Fiction is reality. --Darren
For the couple years I've been reading everything by Bendis that I can get my hands on. His character and dialogue driven stories have changed the face of action oriented mainstream comics. Two of Marvel Comics lead titles ('Ultimate Spiderman' and 'New Avengers') are his babies, and the traditional ratio of action to exposition is entirely reversed in these stories; the best and most dramatic scenes being, for instance, six pages of dialogue between two characters sitting on a bed. Bendis' ability to create a sense of comic timing in a still panel is astounding and obviously influenced by the work of Joss Whedon. My favorite title by Bendis, however, is 'Powers'. A ten volume (so far) independent series that is essentially 'NYPD Blue' crossed with the world of superheroes, 'Powers' follows a couple of sharp-witted homicide detectives in their never ending investigations of the deaths of the hapless heroes who are murdered in spectacular ways. The plotting in these is not always successful, but it's a small price to pay for the excellent character studies and hilarious dialogue. 'Powers' is highly recommended for anyone who likes their superheroes to be well deconstructed. -Charles
Holden Carver has been placed in deep cover among the secret rulers of the world (think Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group) and the one man who can pull him out has been shot, barely clinging to life. Can Holden get out? Does he really want to?
Brubaker’s masterpiece of moral disintegration is set in a world of pervasive corruption, where no one is who they claim to be and all sides bleed together, each one indistinguishable from the other.
My favorite series of all time.
A spellbinding group of short stories that interweave in and out of different points in World War II and the cold war to form one large narrative with a shocking ending. Noir, espionage, romance and a master storyteller create an unforgettable read. --Darren
In 1995 Japan was having a horror renaissance with movies like Ringu, Dark Water and books like Battle Royale and Audition. With manga, it’s Uzumaki. It was Junji Ito who took Japan by storm with this horrific and beautiful tale about a girl whose town is possessed by spirals. This series spawned a cult film and made Ito’s career as the H.P. Lovecraft of horror manga. This man’s art scares me. Just read volume one. You’ll see what I mean. -Dan
DARREN: Rutu Moan has crafted and excellent graphic novel about enduring bonds between Father and son.
ARLO: It's also a story of coming through the STATIC and the COLOR: of coming into one's own through the mystery and pain and discovery.
DARREN: True. True. And the art is gorgeous.
ARLO: This art is gorgeous. Reminds me of Herge and Tin Tin.
DAN: DUDE, SHE'S NAKED!!! WOW!!!.
ARLO: Yeah, that part was cool, but...
DARREN: Not appropriate for a review. Good read, though.
ARLO: Very good read.
DAN: YES. VERILY.
DARREN: By the hammer of THOR!!!
--ARLO & DAN & DARREN
A team of Russiam mercenaries hunt for the downed wreckage of an American plane in the hills of Afghanistan with a British contingent of mercenaries after the same goal. In the aftermath of the destruction of both teams, a Russian colonel, the lone survivor, is cursed with the darkest of secrets and a thirst for revenge that takes him to the heartland of America. He will not stop until his 303 rifle is satisfied. This is the best thing that GARTH ENNIS has ever written. Tightly paced, with a prescient narration, the hands-off attitude of AVATAR comics has allowed ENNIS to take his storly to whatever dark corner he chooses. And, boy, is it dark. --Darren
This book floored me. Probably Tezuka’s darkest work. This was Tezuka’s commentary on America’s constant military presence in Japan and the fears of terrorism that was rampant during the 1970’s and predicted what was to come in the 1990’s with the AUM Sarin scare. Part American Psycho, part Black Friday, I was surprised that the creator of ASTRO BOY and KIMBA the WHITE LION could create such a complex and intense series about the different faces of evil and its effect on society. His other great works include ODE TO KIRIHITO and APOLLO’S SONG as well as the 12 volume PHOENIX series, his last masterpiece. If you like Will Eisner, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Art Spiegelman or even Charles Burns, you will love Osamu Tezuka. -Dan
Simply put, Fables is a hell of a lot of fun. Characters from fairy tales and folklore have been exiled from their land and now live together in an NYC apartment building. The main story arc, which spans the first 11 volumes, is very well laid out, and it's great seeing all of the different characters you knew growing up, re-contextualized. I've been told if you like the Sandman series you'll like Fables. I don't really like Sandman myself, so make of that what you will. -Justin
La Perdita is a noir graphic novel. I didn't expect the story to go where it did. I was caught off guard. I was in over my head. And I liked it. --Arlo