Top Ten Tuesday this week is a freebie, and I decided to just keep it simple and list my favorite graphic novels, in no particular order.
- How to be Happy by Eleanor Davis. I just finished reading this collection, and it instantly became one of my favorite things. Consisting of short stories ranging in length from a couple to several pages, they’re emotional, sweet, sad, and sometimes weirdly funny.
- Hark! A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton. I love Kate Beaton. I think I’ve mentioned that? I her sketchy drawings, her differently but perfectly timed humor, and comics that center on history and literature. Really, she hits a lot of nerd buttons.
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I read this for a literature class in college, and I’ve reread it a few times since. This was one of my first encounters with any writer from Iran, which helped develop better understanding and empathy for me.
- Stitches by David Small. David Small is a children’s picture book illustrator, and those books are charming. This graphic novel, which recounts his childhood and bout of cancer that caused him half his vocal chords, is haunting and hypnotic.
- Scott Pilgrim by Brian Lee O’Malley. Funny, action packed nerdy, magical realism, so many video game references…I was glad I started collecting it before the final volume came out, just so I could take part in the excitement for its release.
- Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa. Yeah, I’m not going to have a graphic novel list without this on it. This series took so many turns, and was heartbreaking and poignant pretty much all of the way. I became truly hooked early on, with a certain little girl, her dad, and her dog (readers, you know what I mean). On the surface it’s a nasty bit to have pulled me in, but for me it proved just how high the stakes were in this story.
- American-born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. My first encounter with Yang’s work, and still my favorite. It tells three stories simultaneously, which seem to have nothing to do with each other, but then…
- Smile by Raina Telgemeier. I cringed and sucked on my teeth when Raina shows us how she fell on her face and knocked out her two front teeth. But if you can get past the descriptions of her long-term dental work, this is a really great story about growing up. I think I cheered out loud when she finally tells off some truly awful friends.
- Twin Spica by Kou Yaginuma. Here’s another manga series I love, and need to reread. Slightly science fiction, a little bit fantasy, it’s a story I felt slightly sad, slightly happy every time I went to it. Once I opened up a package with a new volume, and started reading on the floor — took me 20 minutes to remember to go sit in a chair.
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Another graphic memoir. What can I say, when they’re done right, I love these. Here, we get the story of her dad, a closeted gay man.
Those are some of my favorites! There are others I could have mentioned, and some I may have forgotten altogether, but these are books that have meant a lot to me, at least since I reached adulthood. What are your favorite graphic novels?