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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Graphic Novels
War and its aftermath account for many of this year’s top 10 graphic novels, all reviewed in Booklist from March 1, 2013, through February 15, 2014. But it’s not all solemn stuff—there’s an offbeat noir, a swashbuckling adventure, and an Einstein-guided trip through the stars, too.
Crater XV. By Kevin Cannon. Illus. by the author. 2013. Top Shelf, $19.95 (9781603091008).
Just as retired Arctic seaman Army Shanks decides to punch a ticket to Antarctica and oblivion, a slew of seemingly unrelated events conspire to yank him back into the role of reluctant hero.
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth. By Isabel Greenberg. Illus. by the author. 2013. Little, Brown, $23 (9780316225816).
A loving homage to storytelling itself, Greenberg’s stunning graphic novel, her first, isn’t an encyclopedia at all but an intricately crafted mythology told from within a young man’s grand adventure.
Goddamn This War! By Jacques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney. Illus. by Jacques Tardi. 2013. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (9781606995822).
An unnamed Parisian WWI soldier’s hardboiled, heartbroken narration takes the reader through six years of hopelessly indistinguishable trenches, explosions, corpses, mud, and maggots.
The Great War: July 1, 1916, the First Day of the Battle of the Somme. By Joe Sacco and Adam Hochschild. Illus. by Joe Sacco. 2013. Norton, $35 (9780393088809).
Illustrated across a single, wordless 24-foot-long accordion-fold page, Sacco’s condensed picture of the western front is one of staggering grandeur and inescapable doom.
Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories. By Ben Katchor. Illus. by the author. 2013. Pantheon, $29.95 (9780307906908).
Each story in this collection seizes on an example of urban architecture, decoration, or structural design that has become the object of fixation or that affects or responds to personal behavior.
Journey by Starlight: A Time Traveler’s Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything. By Ian Flitcroft. Illus. by Britt Spencer. 2013. One Peace, paper, $18.95 (9781935548232).
Avoiding confusion and condescension, visual physiologist and eye surgeon Flitcroft packs this graphic novel with detailed explanations of physics and astronomy and just the right amount of humor.
Letting It Go. By Miriam Katin. Illus. by the author. 2013. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95 (9781770461031).
Katin, a Holocaust survivor, carries an understandable prejudice against all things German, so when her son announced that he was moving to Berlin, it set off a visceral, panicked reaction.
March: Book One. By John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Illus. by Nate Powell. 2013. Top Shelf, paper, $14.95 (9781603093002).
This adaptation of Lewis’ autobiography follows him from his boyhood on a farm all the way to college, where he met nonviolent activists who showed him a means of undermining segregation.
Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes. By Matt Kindt. Illus. by the author. 2013. First Second, $26.99 (9781596436626).
In the city of Red Wheel Barrow, crime is on the rise, but the lawbreaking is offbeat—a woman steals chairs, a novelist lifts words for her book, a Peeping Tom sabotages elevators to get his thrills.
Templar. By Jordan Mechner. Illus. by LeUyen Pham. 2013. First Second, $39.99 (9781596433939).
The historical framework of this hearty, hefty tome concerns the fall of the Knights of Templar after the king of France hurls accusations of sodomy, blasphemy, and worse at the order.
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