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April 15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Graphic Novels
From historical fiction to memoir to suspense, this year’s top 10 graphic novels, reviewed in Booklist from March 1, 2015, to February 15, 2016, reveal the rich potential in a wide-ranging form that’s only getting better as the years go by.
Bacchus, v.1. By Eddie Campbell. Illus. by the author. 2015. Top Shelf, $39.99 (9781603090261).
This collection of Campbell’s stories about Bacchus and his everyday exploits among humans epitomizes the artist’s great skill in extracting magnificence from the quotidian and infusing outsize characters with quirky humanity.
Democracy. By Alecos Papadatos and Abraham Kawa. Illus. by Alecos Papadatos. 2015. Bloomsbury, $27 (9781608197194).
Papadatos and Kawa’s tale follows Leander, an early follower of Cleisthenes, often called the father of democracy, in what is not only a compelling story but an expertly realized piece of historical fiction.
Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker. By Julian Voloj. Illus. by Claudia Ahlering. 2015. NBM/ComicsLit, $12.99 (9781561639489).
Benjy Melendez was instrumental in making peace among Bronx gangs in the 1970s, and Voloj and Ahlering artfully add meaningful context to his story. Ahlering’s photojournalism-inspired art is the perfect complement.
Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Secret Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist. By Bill Griffith. Illus. by the author. 2015. Fantagraphics, $29.99 (9781606998953).
Griffith, creator of the comic strip Zippy, showcases his personal connections to the pop culture of the past, particularly his mother’s affair with a cartoonist. His varied, intricate art style complements the engrossing, moving narrative.
Rosalie Lightning. By Tom Hart. Illus. by the author. 2016. St. Martin’s, $19.99 (9781250049940).
With stunning, evocative artwork, Hart tells the heartbreaking tale of his daughter’s death mere weeks before her second birthday and the grief he and his wife faced in the aftermath. Extraordinarily moving and beautifully executed.
Ruins. By Peter Kuper. Illus. by the author. 2015. SelfMadeHero, $29.95 (9781906838980).
The stages of a monarch butterfly’s migration to Mexico echo the metamorphosis of a marriage through Kuper’s colorful, expressive artwork and impeccable narrative, which features rich characters and a deliriously luscious setting.
Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father. By Carol Tyler. Illus. by the author. 2015. Fantagraphics, $39.99 (9781606998960).
Tyler’s account of helping her shell-shocked father fill in the blanks from his military service—surely the source of his sudden, verbally abusive rages—is frank, compassionate, and rewarding.
Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor. By Lynda Barry. Illus. by the author. 2014. Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 (9781770461611).
Barry offers a glimpse into her creativity and teaching process in this enlightening and absorbing collection, which encourages cultivating creativity through experimentation, memory, and mindfulness. Terrifically illuminating.
Tim Ginger. By Julian Hanshaw. Illus. by the author. 2015. Top Shelf, $19.99 (9781603093507).
With maturity and intelligence, Hanshaw relates the tale of Tim Ginger, a reclusive widower who’s forced to finally face his inner turmoil. Subtle, masterful artwork exquisitely renders the ever-shifting emotional landscape.
Two Brothers. By Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. Illus. by Fabio Moon. 2015. Dark Horse, $24.99 (9781616558567).
In this adaptation of Milton Hatoum’s novel, twins Yaqub and Omar, after years of angry separation, finally reunite and send fissures through their family. Stark, high-contrast artwork emphasizes the simmering tension.
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