For me, graphic novels are palette cleansers. When I’m not ready to dive into a new novel, but I still want some storytelling…I reach for a graphic novel. The best ones have compelling storylines that thrill me as much as a full length novel does, but they read so much faster. And they have pictures.
This month, I was introduced to ComiXology, a partner of Amazon.com, which allows readers to borrow comic books and graphic novels! I was so excited to try it out (especially since the first 30 days are free) and quickly asked around for recommendations. I really like how it lets you read panelled stories, one frame at a time. It zooms in for you and makes it incredibly user friendly. Let me know if you’re familiar with this site and have some recs!
Graphic novels are great, but for me…they’re harder to write reviews on. So instead, I’ve compiled a list so I can still get the word out! These are 5 that I’ve read lately.
Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala
This is the story of K, who at the beginning of the story arrives at Bellsong Academy, a school hidden away in the woods. It turns out that this is a school for cat burglars. They train together and have a mission to reunite 3 paintings in the hopes of great fortune. There was a lot that could have happened with this story…a lot MORE. It had potential, but the ending was really underwhelming. (My rating = 2 stars)
Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
This is the story of Bao and a group of ordinary peasants who learn kung fu and rise up against their foreign oppressors. “Foreign devils” have arrived, bringing their religion and their railways, affecting the Chinese culture and way of life. This was a side of history that was eye-opening. The graphics were at some points…well…graphic, but it is war time, after all. There was also mention of how the foreigners got their power, which was also…shocking. Ha! But in the end, I actually really liked this story. I’ve been on a kick lately about reading stories that act as a window into another culture or way of life. This definitely fit that bill. (My rating = 4 stars)
Saints by Gene Luen Yang
When I went to the library and asked for graphic novel recommendations, Boxers and Saints were both put into my hands. Since I enjoyed the first one, I was anxious to dive into the second! I may have actually liked this one a TEENY bit more than Boxers. The inclusion of a bit of Joan of Arc’s story was an interesting parallel. I really like the way this author weaves stories together in a way that’s easy to follow and that makes sense. (My rating = 4.5 stars)
Saga, Volumes 1-6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
I read volume 1 of Saga about a year ago and thought it was wild(ly interesting). This story is so strange and thrilling and shocking that I recently decided I had to see where it went after the first volume. This “saga” follows the relationship between two soldiers from opposite sides of a great war, as well as their family and those who seek to break them apart. It’s violent and sexually graphic. It’s crazy. Sometimes it feels like it doesn’t make sense. But I don’t hate it. Sometimes it’s refreshing to read something this outlandish. (My rating = 3.5-4 stars)
Lumberjanes: Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke A. Allen
I’ve read this volume once before, almost exactly a year ago. I remember that I liked it, but I also remember being confused by it. On this second read through, I’m not sure what I was confused about. I mean, sure there are some questions and some random magical elements, but it’s just the first volume. This story is about a summer camp in the woods for “hard-core lady-types” and this particular group of friends experiences some serious weirdness. It’s really funny (sassy and snarky galore) and the artwork is eye catching. I’m ready to pick up the next volume! (My rating = 4 stars)
Have you read any good graphic novels lately? Let me know in the comments below!
Happy reading! – Caitlyn