Iowa Book Club: What are Some of Your Favorite Graphic Novels?
Haven't enjoyed the company of a good graphic novel before? Well you should.
I've been thinking about comic books this week.
I mean, more than usual.
I think it might have been my conversation with the Iowa City Public Library's Brian Visser on the Batman graphic novels available at the public library. Or maybe it is a little movie, you may have heard of it, called "The Dark Knight Rises" opening this week that has comic books on the brain.
In any case, I wanted to spend this week's book club talking about the graphic novel, sharing some of my favorites and asking you to share some of your favorites with me.
Sometimes misunderstood as merely being a book with pictures, or a longer comic book with a hard cover, graphic novels give the authors and artists who work on them the space to be much more than that, often exploring complex issues and more adult themes than your typical comic book.
Alan Moore's Watchmen is on Time Magazine's Top 100 English language novels of all time. You're more likely to have seen the movie than have read it in its original graphic novel format, which in my opinion is far superior. And did you know that League of Extraordinary Gentlemen wasn't a terrible movie based on a terrible screenplay? No, it was actually based on a terrible screenplay for a pretty good graphic novel. A graphic novel by the selfsame Alan Moore.
The Japanese have a rich appreciation for the graphic novel as a serialized story telling device. Monster by Naoki Urasawa is one of my favorites, a taut psychological thriller that focuses on the capacity for all of us to do evil. It also has a good anime adaptation that I believe may still be available on Netflix and Hulu.
Graphic novels also allow artists the creative room to express a quirky sensibility. For a good example of this, check out Lynda Barry's One Hundred Demons, one of my mother's favorite graphic novels.
Do you have a favorite graphic novel to recommend? Tell us in comments!