Sunday, September 19, 2010

Graphic Novels

[This is a Breaking New Ground post]

Graphic novels are a bit different from Urban Fantasy in that, if I’ve ever truly looked down upon them, that period ended long ago. Still, for the longest time, they just didn’t seem like something I’d be interested in. Why would I want to read a book where half the imagining was done for me? It almost seemed like a worst-of-both-worlds between books and movies, where the images hamstring your own mental picture, while the lack of motion leaves said images static and unimmersive. Besides which, I just wasn’t sure that there were any stories told in Graphic Novels that I would actually want to read. From my ignorant outsider’s perspective, all I could see was pretty much super heroes. Now, I used to love super heroes – and perhaps I still do, because I think that The Dark Knight was several hours of sheer perfection – but I wasn’t convinced that you could make a convincing book out of a guy who beats people up while wearing tights and a cape.

Then, back in April, I read Watchmen. Well, that was the end of any real prejudice on my part. The story was excellent, and the super hero framework made it quite plain that it would never have succeeded in another form. At the time, I said (in my Reading in April post) that Graphic Novels were: “something I’m going to definitely try and do more of, now.” Months later, I’ve read followed that initial success with…nothing.

So, unlike the Urban Fantasy challenge where I’m trying to go from distaste to some degree of enjoyment or at least a position of knowledge, here I’m just trying to read some fun stuff. But, seeing as this was a challenge, I did decide to jump in at the deep end of my old apprehensions about Graphic Novels. It is, it seems, superhero time.

Now, I originally did the same thing as I did for the other Breaking New Ground post. The problem is, there I actually researched the books. Here, knowing nothing about the field, I figured out what to read by the highly scientific method of emailing someone I’d seen reading a book with pictures in it, specifying that at least some of the five had to involve super heroes. In the end, I decided that writing several hundred variants of she said to read this one. And this one! would get sickeningly old, so just pretend it says that under the pictures if you want.

Anyway, the five lucky novels are:




Seeing as I doubt I’m going to really hate any of these, I’m not going to bother with the Breaking New Ground posts that are following the Urban Fantasy reviews and just stick to the tried and true schedule of reviews broken up by random musings.

And yes, I’m aware there are seven titles here. Blame the person who picked them.


  1. I would strongly urge you to substitute Batman: Year One for Loeb/Sale's Batman: The Haunted Knight. It is by far the best Batman graphic novel out there, in my opinion.

    Good luck with Fables & Sandman. Those two are my favorite series of all time, and are both critically acclaimed. Enjoy.

    Y: The Last Man was a good series, too. The first few TPBs are good, then it slacks, but the ending was great, I thought.

  2. Well, I'll admit I sort of cheated, as I've already read The Killing Joke, Y (v.1) and Hush (after the start of the challenge, but before I published this post). I was going to make The Long Halloween my next Batman purchase, but I'll probably swap it for The Haunted Knight, now.

    As for Year One, is it that you don't like it or just that it's not quite as good? All I know about it is the recommendation and that it was #1 in the IGN top Batman Graphic Novels list (

  3. Oops, I meant The Long Halloween as the best Batman book out there. Definitely get TLH next. (I recently bought The Haunted Knight but haven't read it yet; that must be why it's on my mind.) Sorry about the mix up.

    In regards to Year One, I simply prefer the beauty of the art and the mystery of the story from The Long Halloween. Plus, Frank Miller has some good ideas, but a lot of his stuff falls flat for me.

  4. Curse it! After looking, I have in fact read (and reviewed) The Haunted Knight, but it's Dark Victory that I've not read. Bah!

    THK is good, but nowhere near TLH's standards.