Thursday, June 22, 2006

Top 10 graphic novels

Hi, Michael :

Thanks for the invitation.

The graphics group sounds really good : I hope I can get to one in person soon.

Meanwhile, I thought I would post my favourites list :

Sandman : I have recently finished the whole series in sequence : amazing!
Also, the extra volume : Dream Hunters (an illustrated story rather than a graphic, with Yoshitako Amano's illustrations, is the most purely beautiful book I own)

V for Vendetta : I thought the film was a very good effort, but the book is better; dark, complex and scary.

Sin City : Not for the squeamish as Frank Miller takes old style hard boiled film noir and squeezes the pips out of it. Also the very best comic book/film adaptation I've ever seen.

Lucifer : Mike Carey's development on Neil Gaiman's retired lord of hell and lounge pianist has mind boggling cosmology and theology, adventure, sex, drugs and dinner jazz.
Has anyone read Mike's first print novel : "The Devil you Know"? It's worth a look.

Fray : Joss Whedon's fantastic future Slayer, dark, funny, great dialogue.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen : A great idea : a superteam of Victorian adventure heroes battle dastardly perils and otherworldly menaces. References to sensational period fiction, both famous and very obscure, are thick as autumn leaves. Do not be put off by the dreadful film version.

Batman : Year One / The Dark Knight Returns. Both ends of the Caped Crusader's career, dark, rich and powerful. Frank Miller restores Batman to the shadows where he belongs.

Scarlet Traces : What happened after The War of the Worlds as the British Empire masters Martian technology.

Wolverine/Elektra : Redeemer. Greg Rucka's excellent one- off in which the two heroes change the life of a special teenager. Superb illustrations by Yoshitako Amano.

and, of course...

Watchmen : the War and Peace of Superhero books which covers the big questions of power and responsibility, love, hate, patriotism and political manipulation. Long, deep, complex and unforgettable. Is the projected film version still on, and if it is, after X3, should we be very frightened?

There you go :

What does anyone else think?

PS. :Did anyone see Bryan Talbot at Leigh Library last April? A great afternoon!



michael said...

That's a list I think we can all get on board with. I haven't read some of them - Lucifer, Scarlet Traces and the Wolverine/Elektra book - but the rest I either own my own copies of or I've borrowed from Bolton Libraries.

The next meeting at Bolton Central Library is Saturday July 15th. Check out this very handy Google Calendar for future dates and see if you can make it.

I might join Wigan Libraries when I'm in Leigh on Wednesday and take a couple of books home

michael said...

I read 1602 in one sitting last night - thanks for lending me it! My one-word review: wow.

I'll read Redeemer tonight, TV schedules permitting. It's Veronica Mars on Living. If you haven't seen it and you have cable/satellite/whatever, check it out - it's about a High School girl who lives a very Noir, private detective-style life. Joss Whedon says it's the "Best. Show. Ever" and I'm starting to agree.

Anonymous said...

1If you like "off-beat" lifestyle shows - did anyone see/record (oh pleeeeeeze - somebodymusthave) 2 series of a show called "Dead Like Me" about 2 years back? About a Generation X American teenager who died - and due to a wasted adolescent life was condemned - rather than moving "on" - to help the transcience of others due to die?
Every day she met up ina diner and was given a post-it note for someone who was due to die - she was the designated Reaper who had to release the soul just before death! VERRRRRRRRRRY GUDDD!

Also - "Carnivale" shown on FX - 2 series which I now have on DVD!
Anyone interested in a video viewing group set-up?

michael said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Anonymous Person.

I never got around to watching Dead like me - it probably clashed with some of the high-quality TV I watch. My favourite grim reaper is probably the one in Bill & Ted's bogus journey, or maybe Discworld's Death.

I'm sure we could think about a DVD/video group - the only problem I can see is that we'd be encouraging you to part with your hard-earned to rent our DVDs, whereas the books are (obviously) free.

Bibliothecary said...

All this talk of off-beat American teen shows puts me in mind of the cruelly underated Joan of Arcadia. I admit that it was a bit Hallmark Channelly in places but it was a daring premise (God talks to teenage girl), especially for an American network.

Also any discussion of "Great Grim Reapers of Film & TV" has to include the one that comes to life in the cathedral in Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Old school but scary all the same.

swlrir said...

Hi, Michael;

Glad 1602 worked for you. I second that "Wow!"

On TV shows, I saw only a few "Dead like me" episodes but thought it was great. Death by toilet seat from space is definitely the way to go.

And the coming-on sequence with all the reapers doing a Benny Hill must be one of the best ever.

I never saw Carnivale, though it's been on my DVD wish list for ages.

I miss things ; I have less control of what is watched on our TV than the cat.

My favourite Grim Reaper has to be Terry Pratchett's from Discworld :
so well developed over many books.

swlrir said...


I've just checked and DLM season one is available fom Play ( for £15.99

Season 2 is available (region 1) from PlayUSA (
for £17.99