I love graphic novels (although after reading this article, not quite sure what to call them... comics novels? [also, there's a lot in that article that could just as easily be directed to those writing YA criticism. Fav line: "The most 'rampant bibliophiles' I know don’t dismiss a potentially great book just because of its format or genre."]) There's something about graphic novels that is really enjoyable, but at the same time they can delve into certain issues in a way that novels without illustrations can't.
Stitches by David Small
This was the book that started my fascination with graphic novels, and in particular memoirs. It's a memoir, about David Small's life and all the weird and terrible things that happen to him, including getting cancer and his messed up family. It's done so well, and perfectly depicts the intense emotions of the story. Since it's been a few years since I've read it, I don't really remember it well but I do remember how I felt reading it: completely caught up in a sort of disturbed fascination, and identifying completely with the utter bleakness the protagonist was feeling, conveyed largely through the art.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
My book log review for this book has lots of exclamation points in it, so apparently I liked it!!! It was great - the characters were extremely well developed, it turned various tropes on their head multiple times, was humorous and tragic, and was also just a super fun fantasy story. All of my favourite things!
Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography by Chester Brown
I don't know why but for some reason it is way more appealing to me to read biographies or memoirs in graphic novel form. Maybe it's because it's easier to read? Or maybe the pictures can get across events or emotions in a more direct way than through words? Anyway, this was a great introduction to the strange character and personality that was Louis Riel. It also did really well at portraying the ambiguity and messiness of history, rather than presenting it as a straightforward narrative. This book also led me to Maggie Siggins' wonderful book Riel: A Life of Revolution, which is absolutely fascinating.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Another memoir! This is about the author growing up in Iran in the late 1970s and 80s. It was interesting because it was told
through the perspective of a young girl trying to figure what was right when
everyone around her had so many different views. It was interesting to see how her opinions changed
throughout the book as she was exposed to different views through her parents’
friends and family, as well as her school. It was absolutely fascinating, and I definitely need to read the rest of the series (also I think there is a movie of it as well?)
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters and Brooke A Allen
I think Lumberjanes would technically be categorized as comics, but I don't care what matters is that they are GREAT. I'm so jealous of all the little girls and teens that get to grow up with the Lumberjanes in their lives. The series is about a group of friends who spend a summer at camp (the Lumberjanes), and do normal camp things like collecting badges, but also run into a whole bunch of strange creatures like yetis, three-eyed wolves, and other insane creatures. The characters all great, and there is such a wide range of different kinds of girls in this series, and their friendship is at the centre of the series which of course I love. And the adventures they get into every volume are so entertaining. Everyone need these comics in their life.
What are your favourite graphic novels? What are your favourite comic memoirs or biographies? Recommend me some in the comments!