Top#10 Graphic Novels
1) The Powers – Bendis
Poor Bendis has been thinly spread recently. He shot to fame then was given a gazillion titles to maintain so I feel like he isn’t at his best like he used to be when he was still breaking through into the world of comics and he could concentrate on fewer titles. Peak Bendis was some years back. At his height however The Powers captured the bulk of his genius, this great little idea of his of a world in which super heroes are ten a penny (of varying abilities!) and a department within the local police force trying to police them all. Clever, intelligent, and well worth spending hours of your time pouring through the entire collection.
2) Conan – Dark Horse
I am, and suspect always will be a huge fan of Conan. Even the early stuff from the 1920s I can still enjoy re-reading. Dark Horse really captured the mood for him in their version of Conan making it a much darker and more adult series, while still respecting the original material and also adding new stories of their own. The artwork is glorious (although around volume 14 it differs after a change of artist and it goes to pot a bit), and this set is a wonderful thing to own and dig out once in a while and admire. Great art, great stories and there is something magical about Conan and how he pushes himself beyond his horizons that keeps your attention and cheering him on.
3) Y: The Last Man – Vaughan
People rate this title as great, for me, I rate is very good, not great, but still worthy of a top#10. The idea is fantastic; the very last man on the planet and the post apocalypse setting for it, and the various scrapes however the story does meander a bit and it’s thanks to the supporting cast members that you keep turning the pages.
4) Pyongyang – Delisle
Guy Delisle was a Canadian artist sent to North Korea to set up a studio for making cartoons. Hand drawn cartoons are hard work and paying x20 artists to make them is an expensive business plan, so he worked in Korea (cheaper to employ) and it was such an alien place for him that he kept little notes and drawing about his experience which were documented in his book. It’s really quirky and it makes you appreciate just how other-worldly places can be. Very witty and insightful. I love re-reading this one and if it anything makes me want to visit it myself to see what it’s really like.
5) Providence – Moore
This is one of the most adult stories ever made. Its erudite with lots of words to read, but its also hard reading, horrific, stomach churning and gruesome. I wouldnt suggest anyone under the age of 25 to even begin this one, you almost need a bit under your belt (like having read all of HP Lovecrafts work in its entirety plus good knowledge about various historical events and characters stretching back a few hundred years) not to mention some life challenges like bereavement, to fully appreciate what a great body of work these 12 issues are.
6) The Inflatable Woman – Ball
This is a very interesting page turner of a GN. It’s about the life and times of a woman diagnosed with cancer. This one is personal to me, as I was in contact with the author during this hard time and the internet dating chap in the book is, in her own words were “loosely based” on me. It’s not something to be proud of however as the character is a bit delusional and I feel I am definitely more grounded! Nevertheless a fantastic exploration of the cancer process and how it effects you and others around you and how its hard to face up to whats going on in the here and now. An excellent read.
7) Lovecraft Collection – Culbard
This is a meaty tome! You need to have ideally read the original HP Lovecraft stories first then pick this one up. It’s carefully and intelligently put together. Really brings the stories alive.
8) My Friend Dahmer – Backderf
The art and words of someone who actually went to high school with Jeff Dahmer the serial killer. It’s not sensationalist, it’s actually very humane and it raises questions about nuture vs nature. A sad read, theres no laughs to be had here but definitely worth reading anyway.
9) V for Vendetta – Moore
For me, this is a very 1980s GN. You sort of needed to be in the UK in the late 1970s/early 1980s during the Blair Peach incident, Falklands, during the Miners Strikes, during the slow but inevitable switch where big biz was starting to crush the little guy, where big corps were lobbying hard for changes in government policy and getting their way. I think this story was born from those seeds and a great story it is.
10) Knightfall – Various
This is such a powerful Batman, theres LOTS of powerful Batman GN’s out there but I love this one because you can actually sense the tiredness of Batman, his weariness, his sheer strength of ill forcing himself to keep going until finally, in his weakened state he runs up against Bane and he’s giving a vicious beating. The stories up to that point are excellent, and obviously, the aftermath of it all is equally excellent. Great stuff.