Check It Out Category: Graphic Novels

Graphic Novel: Daytripper by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

Daytripper book cover“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.

Staff Pick: The Adventures of Unemployed Man by Erich Origen

Joe from Research Services suggests The Adventures of Unemployed Man by Erich Origen

The Adventures of Unemployed Man book coverFollow 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 book coverThe 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 book coverThe 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 book cover


Superheroes, edited by John Varley

A collection of superhero-themed stories with an ironic, antihero twist.




Inside Straight book cover

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.

New Book Spotlight: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire

Descender_Tin StarsA 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.


Graphic Novels: Bestselling Fiction Series Characters

It wasn’t that long ago that bookish people overlooked graphic novels, assuming the format wasn’t for them. How times have changed! Not only have many readers discovered new appreciation for the partnering of story and art, but some of your favorite series characters have had adventures in this format – ones that weren’t available in traditional non-illustrated print. Take a look at what you may have missed:

Exile book cover

The Exile by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander series
Retells in graphic novel format the first Outlander novel from Jamie Fraser’s point of view, revealing events never seen in the original story.

Troublemaker book cover

Troublemaker by Janet Evanovich, Alexandra Barnaby series
A man has gone missing, and to find him Barnaby and Hooker will have to go deep into the underbelly of Miami and south Florida, surviving Petro Voodoo, explosions, gift-wrapped body parts, a deadly swamp chase, and Hooker’s mom.

Welcome to the Jungle book cover

Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher, Dresden Files series
Harry Dresden, the only professional wizard listed in the Chicago phone book, takes on supernatural villains out to turn the world upside down in an original graphic novel adventure

Richard Castles Deadly Storm book cover

Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm, Derrick Storm series
Presents an “adaptation” of the fictional first novel of Richard Castle, the main character of the popular crime television series Castle, that follows Derrick Storm’s transition from a private detective to a C.I.A. agent.

Graphic Novel: Serenity by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews

Serenity Book CoverWant 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!

Staff Pick: Here by Richard McGuire

Cover of HereJohn 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…

Cover of Ice HavenA series of stylistically diverse chapters mimicking comic strips collectively offer a multifaceted portrayal of a small Midwestern town in Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes.

Cover of An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True StoriesMcGuire’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.









Cover of Building Stories Building Stories by Chris Ware follows the dissatisfactions of a young woman and her neighbors across fourteen distinct printed comics.

Cover of BodyworldDash 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.

Cover of Asterios Polyp Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli concerns a story of architecture and design, mirrored in its own elegantly crafted visual construction.

Staff Pick: Trees: In the Shadow by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard

Picture of ColleenTrees, 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.

Fiction: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

Sculptor book coverTo 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.

Nonfiction: Over Easy by Mimi Pond

Cover of Over EasyIt 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.



Eisner Award Winners 2014

The 2014 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were announced at the recent Comic-Con International in San Diego.  Try some of these outstanding graphic novels among this year’s winners:

The Property  RASL  Saga

The Property by Rutu Modan – Best Graphic Album (New)

RASL by Jeff Smith – Best Graphic Album (Reprint)

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples – Best Continuing Series, Best Writer, Best Painter/Multimedia Artist

Slayground  Love and Rockets  Sex Criminals

Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground by Darwyn Cooke – Best Adaptation from Another Medium, Best Lettering

Love and Rockets New Stories, vol. 6 by Jaime Hernandez & Gilbert Hernandez – Best Short Story, Best Writer/Artist

Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky – Best New Series

Vader's Little Princess Hawkeye Battling Boy

Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown – Best Humor Publication

Hawkeye by Matt Fraction & David Aja – Best Single Issue, Best Cover Artist

Battling Boy by Paul Pope – Best Publication for Teens