Graphic Novels That I Like Presented In No Specific Order Whatsoever by Shawn S.
From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell: I think it’s the best graphic novel of all time. It’s not my favorite, but it exists in an entirely different phylum than just about everything else. Odds are you’ve heard of Alan Moore. He did some super hero comics back in the ’80s. He wrote this one-off thing called Watchmen. It was okay. nothing really came of it. Then Alan got tired of super hero comics, or more specifically the people who published them. So he stopped writing them and spent some time becoming one of the world’s foremost experts on Jack the Ripper. Because when you’re Alan *&^%ing Moore, you can just decide to do that. So Alan reads all of the things, and then writes his own version of the bloody birth of the twentieth century…with footnotes. Pages and pages of footnotes that make the stuff in the back of Watchmen seem like notes of a Post-it variety. The art by Eddie Campbell has an etched look that can sometimes make it a harder read, but it’s a perfect style for the work. So take the salient bits of all of the Ripper theories, throw in some Ley Lines and some time travel (of a sort), and you have one of the most fascinating comics ever published. Not only that, but he’s probably right because, as we all know, Alan Moore knows the score.
Black Hole by Charles Burns: If you like David Chronenberg movies, particularly Shivers and Rabid, you’ll love this book about a plague. Burns has done work for Newsweek, Coca-cola, Playboy, and other high profile work. Both disturbing and gorgeous, it’s one of the few comics that will want to make you take a shower after you’ve read it.
Avengers/Defenders War by Steve Englehart, Bob Brown and Sal Buscema: Avengers film fans are also big fans of Steve Engleart, although most of you don’t know it. He’s one of the main architects (along with Roy Thomas) of the 70’s Avengers. One of the earliest mega-crossovers, it’s the story where the Avengers first meet the Defenders. It has a unique place in Marvel history, as it’s everything good about Marvel in the 70’s, as well as being the blueprint for a lot of what’s bad about Marvel for the last 30 years. It has a spectacular Hulk/Thor fight, and it’s still fun to see Hulk call Namor a stupid fish man.
The Spirit Archives by Will Eisner (mostly): What Birth of a Nation was to film, The Spirit is to comics. It’s so good we don’t even deserve to read it. When Wally Wood is your fill-in artist, you know it’s a glorious thing. These stories have been reprinted a million different times in a million different ways. Don’t worry about continuity, as the bulk of the run are done-in-ones that were originally published in a newspaper comic format. Not a strip, but an actual coverless comic book that used to come in the Sunday paper. Odds are a comic book that came out this week has a swipe from one of these stories…from the 1940’s.
Superman For All Seasons by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale: Batman Long Halloween, Dark Victory, blah, blah,blah. With the exceptions of The Alan Moore and Grant Morrison tales, this is my favorite Superman story. It’s also one that is pretty much always going to make a wee bit of water come out of my eyeholes, so I don’t read it in public.
Click! by Milo Manara: Published in the 80’s, this is a great example of Manara’s work. It’s adult stuff. If you were offended by his cover featuring Spider-Woman on a rooftop, just stop reading right now. It’s a crazy tale about an inventor who develops a device that can, um, make a lady enjoy herself to the fullest from afar. Back when it was done, there were no cell phone, wireless devices, or apps that allowed you to control those devices from a remote location. Times change, great art doesn’t. If all the women in the world looked like a Manara women, I would never get anything done. His work is far more appreciated abroad than here. In fact,he’s so popular in Italy the country had him illustrate their bus tickets. Again, this is adult work, so consider yourself forewarned.