Graphic Novels Are Books Too

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Graphic Novels Are Books Too

Graphic Novels for Readers Who Don't Like Graphic Novels

I have a love-hate relationship with graphic novels. On the one hand the stories are just as great as the non-graphic novels. On the other, what's with all the pictures? I am told they are supposed to enhance the story which I suppose is true, but sometimes it feels as if my mind was made up for me. Being a librarian pretty much implies that I am a book lover and I cannot discriminate against my literature babies. I'm not a monster! So I have decided to give these graphic novels a try and thought I would share my experience with you. Happy Reading!

Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman
This is a touching story. A son tries to get his father's account of his experiences as a Jew during World War II. It is a nonfiction book. A biographical account of the author's father's life. What makes this graphic novel extra special is that all the characters in the book are mice! You don't just get an account of a man's life in World War II, but the reader also experiences the partially estranged relationship between a father and son. There is also a part two (And Here My Troubles Beganand I can't wait to begin that book. If you are going to get started in graphic novels, start with this one.

Habibi by Craig Thompson
Habibi follows a woman, who after being married off at very young age and captured by slave-traders manages to survive along with a young boy, Habibi, living in a stranded boat. It would be nice to say that her suffering ends there, but it doesn't; however the ending fills you with hope. Arabic calligraphy, themes of Judiaism, Islam, and Christianity, along with Thompson's wonderful artwork do more than just compliment the story. They engage the reader. A great graphic novel for beginners as well.

Unterzakhn by Leela Corman
Circa 1910 New York. Two sisters (twins), same upbringing, two different paths. One grows up to be a physician and the other gets a job at a burlesque theater. Another good story with nice artwork that compliments the story. It sort of reminds me of the biography The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore. A book about two men, the same age, who grew up in the same neighborhood, but took completely different paths.

Blankets by Craig Thompson
Clearly I just can't get enough of this guy. Blankets is a bit of an autobiography of Thompson's life growing up in Wisconsin. It's a thick book, but it's over 500 pages filled tragedy, humor, sibling rivalry, and questions of faith. The artwork itself (also done by Craig Thompson) is very vivid, but doesn't overpower the story. 

Fables Vol. 1 by Bill Willingham
The artwork was a bit more exciting than the story. It had that 90's superhero cartoon feel to it. All the folklore (not fairytale) characters forced out of their land by scary big dudes and forced to live modern world. The story begins with an apartment splattered in blood from top to bottom. The apartment belongs to Snow White's sister, Rose Red and Snow White along with the Big Bad Wolf work together to figure out happened to Rose Red. It doesn't develop as excitingly as it sounds, but there are some funny parts of the story. One of the three pigs is constantly getting drunk, running away from the pigpen and crashing on the wolf's couch.