Friday, May 30, 2008

What 5 Graphic Novels Or Trades Should I Read This Summer?

picture of graphic novel/trade paperback bookshelf from Wild Pig Comics

Honestly, every time I go to the comic shop I feel more and more inclined to invest in one or two graphic novels or trades rather than floppies, unless the monthly series is like Incredible Herc or The Goon and I'm following it.

If I had to read five GNs or trade paperback collections this summer -- must-reads for a comic-literate person -- what would you recommend?


  1. Honestly, I'm with you. Wait, what holes do you have to fill? Read Cerebus & Kirby's Fourth World!

  2. Check out Josh Simmon's book Jessica Farm and anything by Tatsumi. The new one from D&Q,
    Goodbye, should be out by now. I've not read it yet but I'm dying to. I highly recomend the first two the put out.

  3. "Cerebus"
    --I'm putting that on the list

    "Kirby's Fourth World"
    --have the first omnibus volume of that, haven't read it yet

    "Josh Simmon's book Jessica Farm"
    --read that, loved it

    "anything by Tatsumi. The new one from D&Q, Goodbye, should be out by now."
    --read the preview of that in the D&Q FCBD thingie, would like to read it

  4. I´m gonna read again 52.

    I forget it just when i finished the last week.

  5. "American Born Chinese" was awfully good. Not necessarily a must-read to be literate, but still good.

  6. chippendale: ninja or maggots

  7. i was pretty impressed by the simonson "thor: visionaries."

  8. Have you picked up Scalped yet? Finally got the first volume of that a few weeks ago and loved it.

    If you haven't read them and they're still in print I'd also recommend the Losers and Human Target trades.

  9. Sharknife! It's a bit old by now, but if you like frenetic action and awesome, Corey Lewis is the man.

    Also Blade of the Immortal for really amazing art and samurai action.

    Picked up the Essential Iron Man for my pop. He used to collect all the Marvel comics back in the day. You know, I like that they had whole stories in one issue.

  10. American Born Chinese by Gene Yangwas a surprising and fantastic read.

    Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan, powerful stuff.

    Casanova by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba is just some wild crazy shit.

    Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things by Ted Naifeh is ten kinds of awesome.

    And this might be a little difficult to find, but X-force: Famous Mutant and Mortal hardcover by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred is a great GREAT book. One of the hidden gems from the Jemas Marvel era. The book lost a little steam when it became X-statix, and it was then completely neutered by the Princes Di incident... but that run from X-force 116-129 is still pure gold.

  11. Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse. Fun Home by Alison Bechtel. Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot.

  12. Buddy Does Seattle by Peter Bagge
    Agents of ATLAS by Jeff Parker & Leonard Kirk
    The Education of Hopey Glass by Jamie Hernandez
    American Splendor: Another Day by Harvey Pekar & Various
    The Other Side by Jason Aaron & Cameron Stuart

  13. Blue Beetle vol 4 is out soon. I can't recommend that highly enough.

    I enjoyed Scalped vol 1 more than I expected to.

    Booster Gold Vol 1 is good fun.

    you've probably read it but I'd suggest picking up that Dr. 13 trade by Azzarello

    And finally - Giffen era JLA is being collected in Hard-cover. Vol 2 is out this summer. Huzzah.

    Seriously though - Blue Beetle Vol 4 will knock your socks off. Buy this book.

  14. The Nightly News by Hickman

  15. I second the Casanova vote.

    Doom Patrol.

    The Nightly News.

    Stray Bullets v.1 .


  16. Also, "Umbrella Academy" is a really original, really messed up superhero book.

  17. I would also recommend any of the Showcase or Essentials books for summer reading. That cheap paper is actually perfect for outdoor reading. Newer color comics glare and are hard on the eyes in the sunlight but those cheaply printed black and white books are perfect for back yard or poolside reading. The light hearted wackiness of those Showcase books is perfect for a lazy summer day outside.

  18. Lone Wolf & Cub. It'll take you the whole summer, or at least a month of it, but it's so damn worth it.

    Also: Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol and/or The Invisibles.


  20. Whiteout, Vol 1

    Kyle Baker's Plastic Man, Vol 1

    Marvel's Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius digest

    Blue Pills by Frederick Peeters

    Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow? by Alan Moore and Curt Swan

  21. I would suggest "Daisy Kutter: The Last Train" from Viper Comics. Since you are in New York you can request it as an inter-library loan. (Good thing I returned it yesterday.)

    I would also suggest "Mouse Guard: Fall 1152". Amazing story and phenomenal art.

  22. Compleat Moonshadow

    The Cowboy Wally Show

    Astro City: The Tarnished Angel

    Gunnerkrigg Court: Orientation - assuming the darn thing ever comes out.

  23. Nightly News

    Shooting War

    Pride of Baghdad

    Fun Home

    Justice 1 & 2

  24. Anonymous6:46 PM

    5 Graphic novels?

    Can't get no - Rick Veitch (Well, anything by Rick Veitch really... like Bratpack, or Army @ Love or... so much.)

    The Legend of Grimjack 1-6 - John Ostrander/Tim Truman

    Nemesis the Warlock - Pat Mills/ Dennis O'Niell (they have perfect collections now of so much 2000AD stuff)

    Berserk 1-22 - Kentaro Miura (Okay, vol 1-3 is not that good, but vol 4 and onwards it just gets better and better. The best manga that I have ever read.)

    Dragon Head 1-20 - Minetaro Mochizuki

  25. Anonymous6:46 PM

    Yeah, I second Exit Wounds, wonderful book.

    Also: The Rabbi's Cat 1 & 2 (they're one book, really), Robot Dreams, Hall of Best Knowledge, and Jeff Lemire's Essex County books.

    Also a comics-related book recommendation — Evanier's Kirby book. Really great, fascinating work, lots of fun and informative.

    And one comic strip collection - either of the Moomin books from Drawn and Quarterly.

    Oops, more than five.

  26. The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S., Perla la Loca and The Education of Hopey Glass, all by Jaime Hernandez.

    I think you may have read it already, but if you haven't, try Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki.

    One more vote for Jack Kirby's Fourth World books.

    New Mutants Classic vol. 3 recently came out. Dense Claremont storytelling upgraded with Bill Sienkiewicz adding Ralph Steadman ink splotches to Neal Adams-style realism.

    And... as always... the addictively awesome Nana series by Yazawa Ai.

  27. I would suggest the book Ultra by the Luna Brothers. Outstanding art and a fun story to boot. If you enjoy the art, they also did Bendis' Spider-woman origin which wasn't half bad.

    The oversized Walking Dead Hardcovers are pretty awesome.

    I actually think that the JLA/JSA volumes are great trades for their value.

    Finally, Garth Ennis' Punisher from the Max series is just amazing in terms of both story and art. It is dark, gritty and feels real at times.

  28. 1) Any of Morrison's Animal Man

    2) Any of Brubaker's Sleeper

    3) Dan Brereton's Giantkiller

    4) Greg Rucka's Huntress:Cry for Blood

    5) Fallen Angel (DC release) Vol.1

    If you were a fan of PAD's Supergirl, you should check out Fallen Angel, a character roughly based on his Linda Danvers character.


  29. Alan Moore's Miracleman run, if you can track them down.

    You've probably already read them, but if not the entire run of Transmetropolitan.

  30. Anonymous8:21 PM

    I just reread Kingdom Come and Batman: The Long Halloween and I enjoyed them so much more now than when I read them for the first time several years ago; particularly Kingdom Come. You've probably read them, but there worth reading if you haven't. Standard superhero stuff, but among the most fun to read of that particular genre.

  31. To be comics literate? I'm not sure I can qualify that. But I can give you a bunch of biased opinions.

    1. Plastic Man: On The Lam by Kyle Baker. I laughed out loud so many times while reading this.

    2. Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes: A great opening arc to the series.

    3. If money ain't a thing, then buy some Starman trades. The omnibus just came out, but it is much too pricey for my tastes.

    4. Spider-Man: Brand New Day: I have a subscription, so I can vouch for how entertaining the first arc is!

    5. Anything by Ed Brubaker.

  32. Relatively obscure ones (i.e. not WATCHMEN, BONE, etc.):

    Chronicles of Wormwood
    Any collection of Arsenic Lullaby
    Megillat Esther
    The Lone and Level Sands (blush)

  33. My picks:
    1. "The Days Go By Like Broken Records," by Jeff Levine
    2."The Tarantula," Matt Wagner/Steve Seagle
    3. "The Golden Age," James Robinson
    4. "Sons of the Father," James Robinson
    5. "Batman: Hush."

    Just some initial thoughts. Trying not to be too obvious. Pretty much and "Sandman Mystery Theatre," will get you through the night,

  34. Greg Rucka's Queen & Country series is being re-released in new trades. It's an excellent series in the world of the British Secret Service.

    Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai has tons of trades out. It's about a rabbit samurai.

  35. mmm let's see
    *Wetmoon by Ross Campbell, published by Oni.
    *MBQ by Felipe Smith, published by tokyopop
    *Hellsing by Kohta Hirano, published in the states by Dark Horse. Vampires with guns and many badass women.
    *Anything by Ai Yazawa.

  36. Hmm... I'm gonna be unpopular and recommend some manga, because I suspect you haven't read much of that (although you did mention Buddha).

    1) Phoenix by Osamu Tezuka

    2) Lone Wolf and Cub

    3) Fushigi Yugi

    4) Cardcaptor Sakura

    5) Maison Ikkoku

  37. Hack/Slash Omnibus 1

    It's about a cute, tough, determined goth girl and her monstrous partner going around the country hunting down supernatural killers.
    Sure, at first it sounds like some heavily pandering gore'n tits comic with way to many crossovers. And it is! But the great stories and naturally funny writing really makes it a whole lot more than just some lame degrading thrill. The lead characters are very likable in a Buffy sort of way and all the art is very well drawn and suited for each of the stories.
    Honestly this seems like an especially stuff sell to you considering future issues will have crossovers with porn site Suicide Girls and Herbert West from Re-Animator. I'd really love to see what your opinion of it is considering there is an upcoming movie based on it.

  38. Adrian Tomine's 'Summer Blonde'

  39. Booster Gold vol. 1, Blue Beetle vol.4, and you should try some good manga series like jousei manga series like Nodame Cantabile or Tramps Like Us (I'm really curious about your thoughts on the latter title especially).

  40. Booster Gold: 52 Pickup, Tramps like Us vol.1-2, Nodame Cantabile vol.1-2!

  41. 1. what it is - lynda barry, seriously this is the best book i have picked up in 5+ years. it has gotten me to pick up a pencil and try drawing again (after 20+ years) and i go back to something in it at least once a day.
    2. superspy - matt kindt, ok so i was not really all that impressed on 1st read of this, but subsequent times flipping through this and his other spy stuff i am amazed at what kindt did to weave all his stories together. the art is beyond fantastic as well. and the parrot bits are just canned awesome.
    3. enigma - milligan/fegredo, simply the best total comic story to come out of vertigo. somehow it gets lost in the mix of so many good to great stuff milligan has done since, but this is shaving identity down to its core. it is a scary, enlightening, mind-blowing, heart-warming, horror story, but at its core it is nothing more than self exploration and lizards.
    4. kyle baker - you are here, while this might not be baker's best work (though it easily cold be), it is just an amazingly damn fun intelligent comic (far too many fun comics skip that intelligent part) that is such a love letter to nyc. i smiled so much while reading this one. baker's art is so expressive and captures nyc so well. and his characters sizzle with so much life that they easily break out of their 2-d world.
    5. american flagg! - howard chaykin, this was just collected in hard back for the 1st time. i spent far to much time of my youth tracking down all the issues is back issue boxes. it is fantastic and really should be on everyone's to read list. chaykin does so much amazing stuff with this book. sure we have seen much of it repeated since, but even today the crisp and clear critiques he sounded off with are valid and timely. the world and time is ugly and his art works so well with this. it was criminal that this series languished fallow for so long.

    also please let us know which ones you take the pledge to read and keep us up to date.

  42. i'll second the following:

    american born chinese - great read

    the earlier x-force/x-statix volumes - great peter milligan stories with allred art.

    human target - cool peter milligan stuff again

    dr strange - blood oath - bryan k vaughan - i never cared for the doc until i read this beauty. cool art from marcos martin too.

  43. I can't help but re-read Darwyn Cookes masterpiece New Frontier over and over again. It's unwieldy but if you're going to get it do yourself a favor and spring for the Absolute Edition.

    I'm counting this as one recommendation but I thing the first three Manhunter collections are excellent reading as well. The fourth one is good if you are a fan of the character but is much to jumpy and rushed sadly.

    I know it's not been everyone's cup of tea but I really like Brad Metzlers opening arc on the new Justice League title. Credit where it's due he made me care about Red Tornado ad character I've always been firmly indifferent to.

    If you want a slightly more science fictiony take on superheroes the Tangent books are worth a look. It's an interesting world that's been created and the gimmick with the names I found to be fun and not cloying.

    In trying to be fair, I honestly can't think of much current from Marvel or any others. But for classics Kraven's Last Hunt is a favorite of mine. As is the early days of the Valian Universe and titles like Solar, and XO Manofwar.

  44. Fray (trade paperback by Whedon, Vampire Slayer in the distant future...not half bad)

    Any of the Fables trades, Vol 10 is actually coming out the 17th of June

    Freshmen (weird series about college Freshmen who gain weird super powers, it's weird but also kinda addicting to read)

    Global Frequency Vol 1 & 2

    It's Warren Ellis, and each volume is filled with short stories involving a network of people that work together to solve World Disasters before the's pretty good.

  45. Anonymous9:37 AM

    Five you may or may not have read.

    1. "It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken" by Seth
    2. Clyde Fans, Book One by Seth
    3. Wimbledon Green by Seth
    4. The Annotated Northwest Passage by Scott Chantler
    5. Louis Riel by Chester Brown

    I figured I'd plug the works of my fellow countrymen.

    I love Seth's melancholy style -- he designs those Complete Peanuts volumes.

    "It's A Good Life" features a fictionalized version of Seth's obsession with a fictional, little-known New Yorker cartoonist from the 1930s. Wimbledon Green is about the greatest comic's collector in the world. Might be of interest to you.

    Louis Riel and Northwest Passage are both glimpses into Canadian history rendered in eye-pleasing cartoony styles. Northwest Passage is fiction reflecting elements of real history, whereas Louis Riel is history with a few shotcuts for artistic licence.


  46. Black Hole - Charles Burns
    The Golden Age - James Robinson
    Invincible (all volumes) - Robert Kirkman
    Preacher (All volumes)- Garth Innis
    Brat Pack - Rick Veitch
    Maximortal - Rick Veitch
    Sandman (All Volumes) - Neil Gaiman
    Jack Kirby's OMAC - Jack Kirby name a few...

  47. Table For One by Eisner Award nominee Bosch Fawstin

  48. I dunno if this is a capital letters must read, but I quite enjoyed Adam Warren's Iron Man: Hypervelocity. If you liked the movie, this one really shines a light on some of Tony's flaws, but in a slightly ironic manner. That, and it's fun.