View Full Version : "Must-Read" Graphic Novels

El Chuxter
06-21-2006, 12:53 AM
In my old age, I'm finally getting around to reading some of the classics I've meant to read for years. I just finished Maus (as I mentioned in the "Reading" thread), and I got to thinking about which graphic novels (or trade paperbacks) should be considered the "greats"--the ones everyone should read, regardless of genre or style?

Both volumes of Art Spiegelman's Maus belong on such a list, no question asked.

V For Vendetta is another one I only recently read, and it's tough to remember life before I read it.

I got around to reading Watchmen about two or three years ago, and it totally turned my perception of what a superhero story could be totally upside down.

The Dark Knight Returns and Year One are both definites, though I personally think TDKR is a tad overrated.

Origin is another graphic novel that turns the very idea of a superhero story completely inside out and (unlike Watchmen) is a canon story about a hero we grew up with (and, likely, outgrew). Wolvie in orange spandex with spunky sidekicks fighting big guys with guns will always hold a special place in my heart, but this story is so much more than I expected.

Call me nuts, but once you get beyond the obvious marketing ploy of it, The Death of Superman is some damned fine storytelling. Imagine if we hadn't known, even as the story was released, that it would be temporary. Imagine that the last we ever saw of the Man of Steel was Lois wailing over his corpse. That final panel has never gotten the credit it deserves.

Part of why I started this is because (gasp!) I still feel like there are a lot of books I need to read that I haven't. So, duh, add on.

06-21-2006, 11:10 AM
The Frank Miller Batman stuff, Watchmen, and Origin are on my to-read list.

I have Maus 1 & 2, V for Vendetta, and The Death of Superman.
The Maus books and V are especially good and highly recommended to almost anyone.
Superman was so-so now that look back on it - with the exception of the last chapter (Superman #75). That one was really well done and told a great story all in splash pages.

Frank Miller's Sin City books are fantastic, not only in story, but in the visual sense. Every page is a work of art.

Ghost World is one of the best indie comics I've ever read. Every once in a while it's refreshing to read a comic that doesn't involve action and superheros.

In late December 2001, Dark Horse and DC published 2 volumes of 9-11: Artists Respond, which featured hundreds of writers and artists. Very powerful work in here. Every time flip through them, the whole thing feels like it just happened.

And while I'm not sure if they're considered graphic novels or not, but the Marvel Essentials are awesome. They are a great way to read the history of Marvel's greatest heros from the beginning at an unbeatable price. The Essential Punisher has 25 issues and a $14.99 price tag.