30 Days of Night
A visually compelling and scary graphic novel that depicts a small Alaskan town where vampires come to take advantage of 30 days without sunlight. The novel was adapted to be a film (though much of the story is added to expand the plot in a different direction). The graphic novel has since gone on to become a major series examining the struggle between humans and vampires.
A Touch of Dead
These are short stories about Sookie Stackhouse that provide great bridges between the main novels. However, I also recommend that you read the short stories that merely take place in the same 'Sookie-verse' that provide other perspectives of what happens outside of Bon Temps.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Another hybrid creation by Seth Graham-Smith that postulates that the famous American president was actually a hunter of vampires; it goes so far as to propose that the American Civil War was to free slaves who were being used by southern-based plantation owning vampires as cheap sources of food.
The series will explore notions of vampire evolution and trace the bloodline of a new kind of vampire, an American species, with new powers and characteristics, through various decades of American history. The Story starts at a book conference due to the reediting of the book Bad Blood. Here, the author claims that his work which has been long considered a fictional western/terror story is actually based on true events which he has either witnessed or has collected reliable information on.
Much like by Troy Hickman that has superheroes meeting in a coffee shop to unwinds and talk, this graphic novel series gives them a whole city to exist.
Whether it's the story of the Samaritan (a hero who wishes he had more time to fly through the sky instead of always being mindful that every wasted minute means someone could die), or the woman who fantasizes about the hero who got away (who she never married), or the recently paroled villain who just wants to be a regular guy, these stories show the humanity and normalcy that even the most spectacular of superhumans still desire and that we often take for granted.
Batman: No Man's Land
Imagine if you were abandoned by all the people who were there to protect you? Imagine if you were all alone in the dark and no one was coming to save you? This is what has happened to Gotham City in Batman: No Man's Land. A major earthquake has destroyed Gotham, and the US Government has opted it is better to quarantine and abandon the city instead of rebuilding it. Just as has happened with New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina, the rich are evacuated and able to escape, while the poor and the destitute are abandoned, left to the mercy of the criminals who see this as a chance to make their new Eden. Thankfully, Batman and hsi allies come to help; but a people shaken and alone are not easily inspired or able to help themselves. This yearlong graphic novel epic encompasses a year in the life of the protecting and nurturing of Gotham to allow her to rise from the ashes, but not without major trials and tragedy.
Batman: The Killing Joke
Once again, Allan Moore demonstrates why he has been one fo the most influential writers in the comic business with this revealing take on the Baman and Joker relationship. The yin/yang connection between the antihero and his nemesis is explored by both the writer and the characters in a cathartic manner that was partially examined in Christopher Nolan's filmatic "The Dark Knight"
This eight-month comic series touched on all areas of the DC Comic Universe as the Green Lantern Corps struggles against several new coloured ring warriors and they all seek to survive the arrival of Black Hand and his army of undead black ring bearers.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer : Season 8
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight is a comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics. The series serves as a canonical continuation of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and follows the events of that show's final televised season. The series is ongoing. On September 24, 2009, Joss Whedon announced the series would continue into Season Nine.
When Robert E. Howard wrote the original Conan stories in the 1930's it was merely as pulp fiction. However, his creation of the "thinking barbarian" who had a code of conduct was similar to the codes of the Wild West and those of chivalric knights. Having read the novels 20 years ago as a "child" to now discover graphic novel interpretatons is a wonderful burst of nostalgia that reminds me that being a barbarian isn't always an awlful thing.
Dead as a Doornail
Sookie Stackhouse is once again called upon to solve a mystery and this time there's even more imminent danger: someone's targetting shifters in Bon Temps and it's only a matter of time until those closest to her start becoming victims.
Dead to the World
Once again Sookie Stackhouse is drawn back into the world of vampires as she seeks to help Eric and Pam fight off a takeover bid by a coven of witches seeking more than just territory.
Arguably the next big step in the novel series that introduces the reader to more than just vampires and werewolves as we meet fairies, witches, and other groups of shapeshifters. This is also the first novel in the series to truly examine Sookie's relationship post-Bill with Eric.
A fun read and certainly sets the series up for some new directions.
The world of Sookie Stackhouse expands even further as she journeys to New Orleans, the Mecca for the undead, to meet the vampire Queen of Louisiana and help her avoid possible disgrace or, worse yet, possible dispensation of funds, at the hands of her new husband, the vampire King of Arkansas. Add into the mix some werewolves and a weretiger and Sookie's definitely in trouble again.
This comic series set in a near-future New York has the entire island of Manhattan set up as a demilitarized zone where factions a civil war rages between the 'Free States', a radical group that wants succession from the United States, and the forces who wish to remain in the union. Into this conflict, a protagonist photographer becomes a documentarian reporting on the hidden world in this isolated war.
Imagine if you had the power to order machines to do whatever you wanted. Imagine then, if you were able to stop the second plane from hitting Tower #2 in New York. Imagine if you were still racked with guilt that you were unable to stop the first plane in the first place. This is the story of "The Machine" who decides he can make the world a better place by running for mayor of New York and using his fame to make the world a better place for everyone, instead of just saving and helping one person at a time.
Imagine if all of the characters from fairy tales and fables were real and living amongst us in exile following an invasion of their homeland. This is the world the Bill Willingham has created where Snow White is no longer with Prince Charming due to his infidelitie, the Big Bad Wolf is a detective, and the Three Little Pigs have tried to start a revolution on the Animal Farm. Fun storytelling, clever twists, and some insight into our needs for these magical creatures in our daily lives makes this an enjoyable and readable series.
One of the best novels of the last 20 years for the modern man to read. Chuck Palahniuk's novel is better than the movie (though the film is a fine adaptation) and is often confused by outsiders that it's all about fighting. Instead it is the story of a disassociated man who is trying to find out how to feel anything in a very empty and often foricibly emotioned world.
At the suggestion of other English teachers in the department, I opted to have my students in English 10 read Finnie Walsh. As my students come to experience the novel, so do I. I have found many aspects that form connections to my own childhood with hockey, friendship, and the challenges that are faced by young boys. (And again, how could the Edmonton Oilers ever trade Wayne Gretzky to Los Angelos?)
Ghost World follows the day-to-day lives of best friends Enid Coleslaw (formerly "Cohn") and Rebecca Doppelmeyer, two cynical, pseudo-intellectual and intermittently witty teenage girls recently graduated from high school in the early 1990s. They spend their days wandering aimlessly around their unnamed American town, criticizing popular culture and the people they encounter while wondering what they will do for the rest of their days. As the comic progresses and Enid and Rebecca make the transition into adulthood, the two develop tensions and drift apart. A darkly written comic, with intermittently sombre explorations of friendship and modern life, Ghost World has become renowned for its frank treatment of adolescence. (Souce Wikipedia)
Girlfriend in a Coma
What would you do if the woman you loved fell into a coma? What would you do if that same woman was pregnant? What would you do if you were both high school seniors? Such is the scenario that Douglas Coupland starts with that follows the lives of five friends from North Vancouver.
Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life
In Paul Gravett's overview of graphic novels, he demonstrates that these are more than just comics. Despite the numerous criticisms that people sometimes level at graphic novels (they hate the speech balloons; comics are just funny books; they take no time to read; comics leave nothing for the imagination; I don't like the drawing; they're so depressing; character sare made of cardboard; comics are great ways to get kids reading real books), Gravett has an extensive list of excellent graphic novels that will serve to change people's minds about the genre:
A Contract with Good, American Splendor, Barefoot Gen, Black Hole, Buddha, Cerebus, Corto Maltese, Epileptic, From Hell, Gemma Bovery, Ghost World, It’s a Good Life, Jimmiy Corrigan, Locas, Lost Girls, Maus, My Troubles with Women, Palenstine, Palomar, Scene of the Crime, Sin City, Strange Embrace, The Airtight Garage, The Dark Knight Returns, The Frank Book , The Nikopol Trilogy, The Sandman, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, When the Wind Blows
Green Lantern Rebirth
Imagine if a hero that you had known since childhood had become a villain. Worse yet, that same hero killed all his comrades and and almost destroyed the universe. Such was the case with Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern I had grown up with as a kid in my comic books. Jordan became disillusioned with his role as a protector and become evil. Following his massacre of the all the other Green Lanterns in the galaxy, Jordan redeems himself in a sense by sacrificing himself to protect Earth. In Rebirth, Geoff Johns goes about the task of resurrecting Jordan, but in such a creative and inspiring way that it is powerful in its narrative for redemption and atonementand yet still able to maintain a heroic mythos that stays true to the character. In reading this book, I was given back the character who had lost his direction, but who now is redeemed once more.
Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War
I still profess a fondness for the Green Lantern series (which makes me especially happy in light of the new that Ryan Reynolds will be playing Hal Jordan in a film version in the coming years) that is largely due to the diversity of the characters and the continued message about overcoming fear in the midst of overwhelming odds. Once again, Sinestro has returned with his own groups of yellow ring-wielding corps which triggers multiverse events leading to the creation of five more coloured ring groups (violet, red, orange, indigo, and blue); the prophecy of the black ring corps is also alluded to as a huge war ensure between Sinestro's corp and the Green Lanterns.
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows
After having waited a whole year to read this the final book of the Harry Potter series I was eager to see how JK Rowling would tie things up; she didn't disappoint me in any way. The book was a gripping read and I finished it in 2 days. The final weaving of the pieces together about Harry and Voldemort shows Rowling as a writer who has strengths akin to JRR Tolkein and CS Lewis; she is able to provide the entertainment, but also a breadth and depth of characters and plots that raise her work well above a pulp fantasy format.
I Am Legend
I Am Legend is a 1954 science fiction/horror novel by American writer Richard Matheson. It was influential in the development of the vampire genre as well as the zombie genre, in popularizing the concept of a worldwide apocalypse due to disease, and in exploring the notion of vampirism as a disease. This is a graphic novel adaptation that adheres quite closely to the original text and explores the concepts of isolation effectively (do not confuse the novel or graphic novel with the Will Smith film; while they share the same name, there were enourmous changes made for the film version from the original story).
In keeping with my family's support of my graphic novel habit, my boys and wife purchased the 3 volume set of Justice for me at Christmas. It is a breathtaking visual spectacle that poses some profound questions about how both heroes and villains perceive themselves in the face of adversity. With all the tragedy of Shakespeare, the authors have once again taken the heroes that I have known and loved and provided a deeper dimension that is both poetic and problematic.
This graphic novel series postulates why has no one ever dressed up as a superhero and tried to make the world a better place? Unlike many traditional comic books, the hero of this series is merely a teenager with no powers and no training but a desire to make a difference. By putting on a costumes (actually a scuba divers wetsuit), he starts a chain reaction that causes the appearance of others heroes and also villains. The film adaptation leaves out several keys aspects that make the graphic novel darker and much more ironic.
I am a self-professed comic fan yet as an adult reader I have always favoured Marvel comics for their more mature and realistic perspective on the human condition of metahumans.
In his treatment of the DC universe, Mark Waid explores the frailty and disillusionment experienced the holy trinity of heroes: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
The man of steel has gone into self-exile realizing that no matter how hard he works he can never save humanity from it`s own masacistic nature.
The dark knight - Batman -, his body literally broken from years of fighting injustice, now uses robots in a dictatorial Gotham to force people to obey the law.
Finally, Wonder Woman, an outcast from her own people for her failure to help humanity, sees the horror that has happened in the absence of the world`s finest superheroes: in the remaining vacuum, amoral metahumans have started taking over creating their own twisted form of justice.
The resultng graphic novel is thought-provoking and show how human our heroes can be.
What I love about graphic novels (which yes, are several comic book issues that are combined into one finalized book), is the combination of the visionary experience of a writer with an extremely talented artist. The fusion of the two (which is also further enhanced by the inker and the colourist), truly create art. At its core, art is about ideas that provide catalysts for other ideas. In the graphic novel "Marvel 1602", Neil Gaiman (best known for his "Sandman" graphic novels), imagines a world where the superheroes we know (Spiderman, Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and many more) have somehow been "born" in the 1600's at the time of Queen Elizabeth the First. Using a historical backdrop as a foundation, Gaiman postulates a world where witches were actually mutants, the Spanish Inquisition was run by Magneto, the Fantastic Four were sea-faring explorers who were exposed to Northern Lights, and one of the greatest heroes of all has inadvertantly time travalled to the past thereby causing the whole situation. It is a mastery of the media by Gaiman that makes the familiar new, and has style and character that is often lacking in the traditional graphic novel. For More see the
Initially, it may seem like a rip off to simply take Marvel characters and jump onto the decaying zombie wagon, but after the initial grossness, there is a depth to superheroes who must face the horrible attrocities they commit as they satisfy their hunger to feed.
Part of the mystique of a character can be in the mystery surrounding his history. With Wolverine, more and more is known about how he received his adamantium skeleton, but very little is known about his childhood (perhaps the forthcoming movie version will also include it as well). This graphic novel provides a way of understanding how one of the most vicious killers in the Marvel Universe can also be one of the kindest and gentlest men as well.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
The original that led to all the genre bursting of classical novel combined with mystical creatures. The combination is effective and fresh and best served to those who love both the originals of Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice and appreciate the zombies for the decaying flesh they are.
Standing for "Retired: Extremely Dangerous" this mini-comic series follows a former CIA agent in 'foreign acquisitions' (who was actually an assassin), who is forced out of retirement when a hit team tries to retire him permanently.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
The ads for the film intrigued me, so I opted to read the graphic novel series before the movie comes out: it's an spirited and sarcastic examination of love and jealousy mixed with a satirical examination of the spirit of love and loss. On top of that, it's just plain hilarious. The characters are flawed and fun; the plot outrageous yet believable in the world that it creates. In total, it should be read before and after watching the film.
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
Another blending of Jane Austen with another brand of horror. This combination, while entertaining lacks the same strength as the previous offering of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; the fault of which might lie in its being written by a different author. The key to mixing genres is to make the two feel as if they have always been together; this novel feels forced at points instead of natural. Still it was a good read.
Sin City is the title for a series of comics by Frank Miller, told in a film noir-like style (now known as Neo noir). The first story originally appeared in "Dark Horse's Fifth Anniversary Special" (April, 1991), and continued in Dark Horse Presents #51–62 from May 1991 to June 1992, under the title of Sin City, serialized in thirteen parts. Several other stories of variable lengths have followed. All stories take place in Basin City, with frequent recurring characters and intertwining stories.
The Jade Peony
Set in Vancouver in the 1930's and 40's, this novel is split into three sections that each follow the viewpoint of a different sibling in a Chinese Candadian family. Each person's perspective provides insight into what it means to be a product of two cultures but still not at peace in either. Emotionally touching and interesting historical aspects make this an enjoyable novel, especially for someone from the Lower Mainland.
Following the gift of some rambling journals from an elderly man in a care facility, a young writer discovers a hidden world of those who study and hunt the creatures of the night that has been in existence for centuries. As he reads the musings, the reader is thrust into a world of an orphaned twelve year old boy in the 1800's who serves as a doctor's assistant and comes to be a pivotal part in the tracking of the Antropophagi: a race of creatures who appear as headless humans, with eyes on their shoulders, and mouths of thousands of sharp and vicious teeth where the stomach should be; and these creatures are terrorizing New England. What will the Doctor do to stop them and what part will his apprentice Will Henry play in all of it?
A story that begins with the world already having fallen apart after an unexplained apocolypse and follows a man and his son on their journey; it is one of hope and in the end a love story about the strength of survival and the depths of our connections.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
A delicious novel that follows the precocious pursuits of the youngest of three daughters of an English reclusive baroniet as she seeks to unravel the mystery behind the appearance of a dead jack snipe with a stamp impaled upon its beak on their family's doorstep. The mystery only further intensifies when subsequently a body is discovered under the cucumber bush. Oh, what will Flavia do to unravel the secrets of the philatelist follies of her family.
The Tale of One Bad Rat
A tale of strength and survivial using the whimsical style of Beatrix Potter. This graphic novel is set in the real world, but involves an abused runaway girl who has a rat as a pet. It is emotionally powerful to read as it accurately portrays cycles of abuse, but also how to recover and have the necessary strength to be healed from the past.
What do you do when your catalog of superheroes is being restricted by 40 years of convoluted storylines? Recreate those heroes on a new world with new origins for a modern reader.
Such is the case with Captain America, The Hulk, Iron Man, Giant Man, Thor, Spiderman, the X-Men, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, and all the heroes in the Marvel universe with the creation of the Ultimates comic collection.
"The characters have new origins, freeing them from the sometimes convoluted back-histories of the original versions which were thought to turn off new readers unfamiliar with their extensive histories. The universe has been designated as "Earth-1610" within the Marvel Multiverse, which comprises an infinite number of alternate universes." Wikipedia.
At present I am following the original Avengers with Captain America and Iron Man.
The Walking Dead
Imagine being given a gift that just keeps on giving? Such is the case with The Walking Dead comic book series that provides the zombie apocalypse with an ongoing chronicling of the decline of humanity amidst the disease. As is often partially explored in films, the real problem when zombies attack, is with those people who survive and how they deal with loss, isolation, fear, and despair.
Surprisingly, I never had much interest in reading this graphic novel that was hailed by Time Magazine as one of the best novels of the last 100 years: it didn't have heroes that were part of childhood, it was a limited run of only 12 issues, and Alan Moore was not a writer I recognized. I wholeheartedly acknowledge my foolishness and naivite. The depth of the storytelling, the arch of the plot, and the intricacy, humanity, and frailty of the heroes are incredible and make this now one of my favourite overall books.
V for Vendetta
While not as groundbreaking as Moore's Watchmen, V for Vendetta presents similar concepts of dystopia and antihero that have echoed through all of his work.
Imagine a world where the super villains were real and all the super heroes were dead. This is the world of Wanted where Wesley Gibson finds out his recently deceased dad (AKA "The Killer") has left his millions as an inheritance; all he has to do is become a murderous super villain. If you've see the movie, you did NOT experience the graphic novel; this is one of the time when "based on" means they only used the name.
The story follows Carrie Stetko, a U.S. Marshal working at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, and her investigation of a murder that takes place there. The story moves through many Antarctic stations, as Stetko chases down suspects and finds more murders. A strong female protagonist who is constantly dealing with sexism and chauvenism in the world's most inhospitable climate.
World War Z
Written as an Oral History of the Zombie War (abbreviated WWZ) follows the individual accounts of what happened before, during, and after the living dead started walking the Earth. A unique interview format allows for an unfolding narrative of short stories that allows an interantional perspective on how people reacted and acted.