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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Graphic Novels
Literary high-water marks bump elbows with superhero spoofs, gritty genre workouts, and a career-spanning collection from a Japanese master in this list of the best graphic novels for adults reviewed in the past year in Booklist, showcasing both venerated masters and energetic newcomers to the comics scene.
The Acme Novelty Library, v.20. By Chris Ware. Illus. by the author. 2010. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95 (9781770460201).
Ware’s roughly annual books have been steadily expanding the range of what the comics format is capable of expressing, and here he takes a dazzling leap forward, chronicling the entire life of yet another emotionally crippled antihero, Jason Lint.
Artichoke Tales. By Megan Kelso. Illus. by the author. 2010. Fantagraphics, $22.99 (9781606993446).
Spanning three generations in a fantasy land populated by artichoke-headed people, this finely drawn graphic novel chronicles a family’s saga before, during, and after a bitter civil war.
Bodyworld. By Dash Shaw. Illus. by the author. 2010. Pantheon, $27.95 (9780307378422).
Professional drug-addict Paulie Panther arrives in town to toke a bit of a local plant that shoots users into the minds and bodies of others. Shaw continues to impress with this blend of dystopian sci-fi, dire comedy, and high-school romance.
A Drunken Dream and Other Stories. By Moto Hagio. Illus. by the author. 2010. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (9781606993774).
This collection of short stories showcases the four-decade career of one of the most influential creators of manga for women, ranging from melancholic shojo romances to gender-bending sci-fi to powerhouse introspective character studies.
Elmer. By Gerry Alanguilan. Illus. by the author. 2010. SLG, paper, $12.95 (9781593622046).
A son coming to terms with his dead father’s legacy isn’t a tremendously new narrative idea, but considering the characters are sentient chickens who were nearly wiped out by humans after gaining consciousness, this story is definitely in unmarked territory.
It Was the War of the Trenches. By Jacques Tardi. Illus. by the author. 2010. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (9781606993538).
Eminent French cartoonist Tardi’s ground-level account of the First World War, chronicling the harrowing experience of French troops in the trenches, is a relentlessy grim and moving reminder of the cruelty and stupidity of war.
A spirit so free she nearly floats right off the page, Koko and two other misfits bounce around San Francisco and the early stages of adulthood, equally unsure of and inspired by one another.
Moving Pictures. By Kathryn Immonen. Illus. by Stuart Immonen. 2010. Top Shelf, paper, $14.95 (9781603090490).
An elegant historical graphic novel that explores the personal relationships of Ila Gardner, a museum curator working to protect revered works of art during the Nazi occupation of Paris.
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit. By Darwyn Cooke. Illus. by the author. 2010. IDW, $24.99 (9781600107627).
Cooke’s second adaptation starring Donald Westlake’s professional heister (following The Hunter, 2009) pits the ruthless Parker against a powerful crime syndicate in a virtuoso display of pure noir silkiness.
The Umbrella Academy, v.2: Dallas. By Gerard Way. Illus. by Gabriel Bá. 2009. Dark Horse, paper, $17.95 (9781595823458).
This ultraviolent, peculiar, and effervescent play on the superhero-group genre features a slew of brain-bending twists revolving around an attempt to thwart—and unthwart—the Kennedy assassination.
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