“It’s a story about death.”
“It’s really about life…but death has a big part in it.”
Brás de Oliva Domingos makes his living writing obituaries. From the facts of death and the moments of life, he recreates stories. Sifting through the existences of others makes a man contemplate his own. What moments had greatest impact? Were they beginnings? Endings? Which choices led to one or the other? Rarely are those answers simple, and Daytripper is an ethereal, meditative exploration of possibilities.
Authors Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá gracefully lead readers back and forth within Brás’ life, illustrating key experiences and variations on his death. Though moments are heart-wrenching, the sum total is strangely uplifting, and what remains even after multiple scenarios is a sense of wonder at the meaning one life may hold.
Follow the amazing adventures of Unemployed Man, formerly known as The Ultimatum until good intentions and a stand against The Man got him The Boot. Shrewd, witty commentary on the state of the economy and the roots of our nation’s fiscal woes inform the action in this cleverly written, beautifully illustrated graphic novel. The parody is ripped straight from today’s headlines—supervillains like Cobra (he’ll cover your insurance after being laid off, only $200 a month!) and Kollectus (he comes after outstanding debts and takes everything) show up alongside heroes such as perpetual grad student Master of Degrees, fix-it-with-tape Ducto, pain-shrinking therapist Good Grief, and Wonder Mother (she built her invisible jet from pieces of the glass ceiling), all presented in a dead-on tribute to many classic comic book styles.
The parody is not limited to the characters, however; the book itself is organized as a parody of a comic book, right down to the inclusion of phony ads for products and a wickedly funny section titled Fantastic Facts. This would be a good book for fans of graphic novels or superheroes with a twist, or anyone looking for an interesting presentation of basic socioeconomics in an easy to follow format.
Interested in more books about economics? Try…
The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker, by Steven Greenhouse
A bleak picture of the current environment for the American worker,with an emphasis on the role corporations play.
The Pursuit of Other Interests by Jim Kokoris
A Chicago ad exec suddenly loses his job, and with the help of assorted colorful new friends gains a new perspective on his life through a series of unfamiliar challenges.
Interested in the superhero elements? Try…
Superheroes, edited by John Varley
A collection of superhero-themed stories with an ironic, antihero twist.
Inside Straight, edited by George R.R. Martin
From the classic Wild Cards series, this mosaic novel sometimes humorously, sometimes matter-of-factly presents a universe where extranormal abilities are an accepted fact, with characters competing to win a new reality show, American Hero.
A boy named Tim wakes from a ten-year sleep on a moon mining colony. He is a companion android designed to entertain and protect an assigned human child, but he finds himself alone and under attack. Tin Stars, the first collected volume of the Descender series by Jeff Lemire, begins with shocking galactic catastrophe, but it’s when we meet the earnest young Tim-21 that it truly launches.
A grown-up story of both wonder and action, real fears of technology-run-amok are balanced with complex character and heart. In addition to a plot that excites the mind, the gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Dustin Nguyen evoke a nuanced future both beautiful and terrible. The end result is a fully-realized shared vision, one that transports, provokes, and captivates.
Want to take a break from reality and join in on the space adventures of the Serenity crew? A prequel to the movie Serenity and set after the TV series Firefly, Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews features all of the beloved characters, humor, and action fans previously fell in love with. This short episode ties up loose ends from Firefly, bringing the story to life with its realistic portraits.
Can’t wait to read it? Check it out instantly on Hoopla with your Library card along with other Dark Horse Comic titles!
Don’t forget: for each science fiction book read during November 2015, adults are eligible to enter a drawing for a gift card to AMC Theatres or to Barnes & Noble. Read more about Try Sci-Fi!
John of Fiction/AV/Teen Services suggests Here by Richard McGuire
Richard McGuire’s inventive graphic novel Here is set in a single location for its entire duration: the corner of a room in a house. However, each double-page image depicts this fixed space at a different moment throughout time, ranging the complete span of human history and beyond. Grand changes play out over the years, juxtaposed against mundane still moments in the lives the home’s various inhabitants. Events echo throughout time, such as when a window into the décor of 2014 is used to resonate with a scene from 1775. Styles change, children grow older, and lives unfold in unexpectedly affecting fragments. Here demonstrates that both the beautiful and ordinary qualities of life alike can remain strangely similar in any era.
For more formally complex graphic novels, try…
A series of stylistically diverse chapters mimicking comic strips collectively offer a multifaceted portrayal of a small Midwestern town in Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes.
McGuire’s original 1989 short story version of “Here” is featured in An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons & True Stories Volume 1 edited by Ivan Brunetti.
Building Stories by Chris Ware follows the dissatisfactions of a young woman and her neighbors across fourteen distinct printed comics.
Dash Shaw’s Bodyworld tells its futuristic tale of drug-induced telepathy as a vertical scroll of expressionistic imagery, illustrating a full range of sensory experiences.
Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli concerns a story of architecture and design, mirrored in its own elegantly crafted visual construction.
Trees, Volume One: In The Shadow by Warren Ellis (author) and Jason Howard (artist) is a unique concept for a graphic novel about a post-apocalyptic world, told via multiple narrators from all over the alien-invaded earth. The artwork is really well done, and I appreciate that each story had its own styling. Readers will definitely look forward to future volumes.
To be discovered and promoted by a wealthy patron is what most young artists can only imagine, but David Smith was the promising exception. Too bad his ego brought it all crashing down after only six months. While at his lowest, he is offered the chance to make a different dream come true: he will have the power to create anything he wants but will only have 200 days to enjoy the gift before he dies. When he falls for a mysterious girl and dares to desire a different future, the true cost of his bargain seems much too dear. The Sculptor is one of the year’s most anticipated graphic novels, and author Scott McCloud’s expert techniques frame a story of ambition, love, and self-discovery.
It is 1978; hippies are out, punks are in, and art school dropout Mimi Pond has a new love: The Imperial Café. The staff is wild, the food is to die for, the customers are beautiful, and Pond wants in. Once hired, the reality of dishes, drugs, and social hierarchies rudely interrupts Pond’s romantic vision, and while she might not be playing the beautiful snarky waitress in this graphic novel memoir like she wants to, her eagerness and dirty jokes earn her a place in the crew. Using tones of green, Pond vividly watercolors a realistic snapshot of a west coast breakfast café filled with eclectic characters in Over Easy.