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Graphic Novels For People Who Don’t Like Graphic Novels – Bloggin on the ETC [BOOK WEEK]

I adore graphic novels. I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love them for two reasons:

1) You don’t have to spend a lot of time wading into the material, the artwork just pulls you right on in to the story. Perfect for the busy mom, attempting to get her read on while her daughter quietly plays by herself for limited spurts of time.

2) They make awesome conversation pieces. About the only thing I’m willing to talk with complete strangers about is books, and more people ask me about the graphic novels I pull out in public than anything else I read.

But here are a few suggestions for certain kinds of readers who want to test drive a graphic novel, but don’t know where to start.

For the literate reader:

BAYOU Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 by Jeremy Love. I raved about the first volume of this series back in 2010, and I must say that I loved volume two even more. Set in the post-slavery south, this is gritty magical realism rendered so well, you will want an African-American literature professor on hand to explain it all to you. It’s like Alice & Wonderland meets no-kind-of-black-book-you’ve-ever-read-before. Jeremy Love just might be the most exciting voice in graphic novels right now.


For the reader who loves memoir:

THE MAGICAL LIFE OF LONG TACK SAM by Ann Marie Fleming: an Illustrated Memoir. Imagine if you found a picture of your great grandfather and dug deeper, only to discover that he was one of the most extraordinary magicians the world has ever known? This is exactly what happened to Ann Marie Fleming, whose great-grandfather, “Long Tack Sam,” began life in a 19th century Chinese village and went on to sell out vaudeville venues all over the world. Ms Fleming had no idea. It’s an amazing memoir based on a documentary I’m now dying to see.


For the reader who loves hard-to-understand indie films:

THE FOUNTAIN by Darren Aronofsky. Did you find THE FOUNTAIN, starring Hugh Jackman, brilliant to watch, but impossible to understand? I know I did. And this graphic novelization finally made the story clear for me. It made me wish that every director who helmed difficult films would also provide a graphic novelization, and when I finished, I was surprised by how relatively simple the story turned out to be.


So those are my picks from the graphic novels I’ve read so far this year. Do you have any graphic novel suggestions? Let me know in the comments!