5 Graphic Novels You Need To Read
Comic books aren’t just for kids. Or at least, these ones aren’t.
I’ve loved books since I was a littl’un, but only really started reading graphic novels whilst at university. I had this completely wrong belief (which is annoyingly still prevalent) that comics weren’t ‘proper books’ because they were mostly pictures.
Which is absolute rubbish.
If anything, the words in graphic novels are more precious. Instead of paragraphs of text, writers have a speech bubble or a line or two to get their message across.
And these ones completely prove my point. If you’re a newbie: start here. If you’re already a seasoned vet, doublecheck that you’ve crossed these beauts off.
Batman: The Long Halloween
By Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale (DC Comics)
This was the very fist graphic novel I ever read and will always be one of my favourites. It’s dark, it’s moody, it’s Batman. What more do you need? The story follows the Dark Knight as he races to catch ‘Holiday’, the serial killer who plans his crimes for notable times of the year.
If you like the more recent Nolan-verse you’ll love it. Or if you’re completely new to Bats like I was, it still works as a standalone story that’s very film noir-ish and rooted in reality.
The Wicked and The Divine: Volume 1
By Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (Image Comics)
I was pretty much in love with this based on the synopsis alone: ‘Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead.’
And thankfully, this thoroughly modern story of gods incarnate as rock legends and pop stars has a story to match up with the premise. It’s clever, it’s different, and it’s instantly gripping. Oh and the art is stunning, because of course it is. I can’t fan-girl enough – it’s just one of the most refreshing new series I’ve read in a long time, so run, don’t walk towards it if you haven’t already.
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life: Volume 1
By Bryan Lee O’Malley
You might have seen this charming film with the charmingly awkward Michael Cena as the lead and if so, you’ll know why the Scott Pilgrim story is a nerd’s dream. If not: 23-year-old Scott’s life is totally sweet, until girl of his dreams Ramona Flowers rollerblades through it and turns it upside down.
If he wants to be with her he has to battle her seven evil exes, what could possibly go wrong? I’d still recommend reading this series even if you’ve already watched the film – especially since there’s a new colour version to collect.
Powers – Volume 1: Who Killed Retro Girl?
By by Brian M. Bendis and Michael Oeming (MARVEL)
This is a straight-up detective series that just happens to be set in a world of superheroes. It follows Walker and Pilgrim as they try to solve cases involving ‘powers’ or ‘capes’.
I’d recommend this just because the format is really unique. The dialogue is the star here, so much so that you have to really pay attention to figure out which character is speaking and where the speech bubbles are coming from. Okay, I can see why some people would be annoyed by this layout, but I really liked how different it was and the fact that you had to really read it rather than skimming the pictures.
By Lee Bermejo and Brian Azzarello (DC Comics)
Okay, so as much as I wanted to try and avoid filling the whole list with Batman titles, I’m getting away with this on a technicality. Although Joker is set in the Batman universe, as the title suggests, it’s all about the Clown Prince of Crime, told through the eyes of a devout fan.
This is a pretty short standalone story that’s dark, twisted and has ab-so-lutely gorgeous artwork. Joker (and Harley) are my favourite characters and I felt like this got them so right. All your other notable villains pop up too, so it’s a good introduction to Mr J and Gotham, if you don’t have much time.
I know, I know – where’s Watchmen right? There are too many incredible stories to fit into one top five. Lemme know what titles you’d recommend and ones I’ve missed off.