Graphic Novel

Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf

Great slice of life graphic novel that provides a glimpse into everyday life in the region during that time. The story is told through a child's eyes making the political fervor surrounding them seem somewhat muted but still present, often in the background via the stunning visuals. Riad's parents are well-developed characters with complexities that are captured subtlety and artfully. Full of humor and a poignant memoir of family and place. A great read-alike for fans of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (especially if you enjoyed the family dynamics more than the politics), or anyone who enjoys memoirs and/or glimpses of life in this region. Four out of five stars. Back to Book Reviews  

The Attack by Dauvillier and Chapron

This graphic novel (and the novel it is based on) is about the struggle to come to terms with decisions and actions that do not correspond with the facts as the main character sees them. It illustrates the humanity underlying the desperation in an act of terrorism, without trying to justify the act, and it explores the expanding circles of family and friends affected by the attack. Many peoples’ lives are changed forever and the carnage is far more than those involved directly in the attack. The collateral damage is more than the surrounding buildings. The author explores the complicated circumstances without being didactic and without providing clear answers. This story thoughtfully engages a sensitive and controversial topic. Back to Book Reviews  

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

This book was clever, original, surprising, and all-around awesome. The art is manga-style and the story reflects many manga elements while also playfully mocking them. Katy is a likable but seriously flawed character whose bound toward disaster when she discovers she can "erase" yesterday's mistakes. As you might guess, things get out of hand as she erases mistake after mistake and weird stuff starts happening. Though a somewhat cliche premise, the humor is spot-on and Katy proves to be an irresistible protagonist as she rushes headfirst into something she doesn't understand. I couldn't put it down. Five out of five stars. Back to Book Reviews

Black River by Josh Simmons

This graphic novel is not for the faint of heart as it focuses on a gritty, gruesome, hellish post-apocalyptic world. But, if that's your bag, you probably shouldn't miss this one. It follows a ragtag group of mostly women as they trek through a world that has suffered greatly attempting to survive at all costs. They make stops at various places interacting with bizarre characters that are also clearly suffering. A drug exists called Fadeaway that seems absolutely terrible to ingest, but is a popular respite. Many of the characters find they cannot come to terms with this life even after very long periods of time trying to build what life they can. There is really nothing cheery in this book, but it's incredibly well done. The artwork is precise, breathtaking, and rife with emotion. The expressions on character's faces from panel to panel are amazingly real and poignant. The focus on female characters fighting their way through post-apocalypse is unique and nuanced. If you're a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction or a fan of graphics/comics such as the Walking Dead, you should pick this up. While not a cheery read, it's stunning in both concept and art. Four out of five stars. Back to Book Reviews

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

Considering he wrote the seminal Understanding Comics, expectations were high for this one and, thankfully, Scott McCloud lives up to them! This is the story of an artist who makes a deal with Death to be able to sculpt anything with his hands. Even with this remarkable power he cannot seem to produce the masterworks he would have hoped until he falls in love and everything changes. While I found the premise of the story somewhat unoriginal and the female character occasionally a little too good to be true, McCloud is truly a master when it comes to his artistry. The panels are laid out in a manner that evokes a cinematic quality making it impossible to put down. The expressions he captures on faces is just perfection! By the end of the book, I was in love with these flawed characters and awed by their growth. This book is about what makes life worth living. I found it heartwarming, emotional, fascinating, and a visual feast. Highly recommended! Back to Book Reviews

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona is a graphic novel about a spunky, hard core evil villain's sidekick of the same name. In the world Stevenson has created there are villains and good guys; everyone seems to know their role and how to play it to often silly, comical effect. The villain Blackheart finds Nimona show up on his door step one day ready to work with him to destroy the hero Goldenloin. Blackheart is alarmed by Nimona's tactics and her shapeshifting powers, but finds in her a loyal friend. This irreverent tale is hilarious, heartwarming, and shows comic genius you just don't usually see in an author as young as Stevenson - she's definitely a talent to watch! Back to Book Reviews

Descender, Volume 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen

Really solid sci-fi comic/graphic novel from one of my favorite comic writers, Jeff Lemire. Massive robots called Harvesters have killed the majority of the population of the planets united by the United Galactic Council (UGC). A young boy companion robot may be the link to understanding what the Harvesters are and where they came from. Many different groups are in pursuit of this companion robot, named Tim-21, and the first volume mostly focuses on his journey from his original mining planet where all of the inhabitants were killed. The set up of this world and the action-packed plot have made me very excited for volume 2: Descender, Machine Moon. Check Catalog