Nov 29, 2007

Dewey's Amazing Graphic Novels Challenge!

I am so excited about this challenge. I've wanted a Graphic Novels Challenge ever since I started blogging. I even considered hosting one, but stuff got in the way. But Dewey is the perfect host. She said she knows people have already signed up for a lot of challenges in 2008, so she is making things very easy. All you have to do is read 6 Graphic Novels in 12 months. And, as you probably know, comics and graphic novels are very fast reads, so there is no excuse not to join.

I think it'd be particularly great if people who don’t normally read comics joined. I know most of us have learned to associate comics and graphic novels with super-hero stories, and not everyone is into that, but there is so much more out there to be discovered. There are Graphic Novels in every genre imaginable: fantasy, horror, mystery, memoir, autobiography, YA, non-fiction, coming of age stories, anything. So I’m sure there’s something out there each of you would enjoy.

Some of you might be thinking, “But if I don’t really know anything about comics and graphic novels, how am I supposed to pick what to read?” Well, Dewey posted a list of recommendations, and so did Athena. And so will I at the end of this post.

Without further ado, here’s my list:
  • The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman - also for the Themed Reading Challenge.

  • Persepolis 1 and 2 by Marjane Satrapi – I’ve wanted to read this for years, but I never seem to get around to it. It’s the story of the author’s childhood in Iran and of her return to it later in life, after the war. Everyone tells me it’s excellent, and I expect I’ll love it.

  • Castle Waiting by Linda Medley – I found out about this one via the wonderful Endicott Studio. I can’t wait to finally read it.

  • Laika by Nick Abadizs - I first read about this one here. As the title indicates, it is the story of Laika, the soviet dog that was sent to outer place and left there to die.

  • The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman – The only Sandman book I have yet to read. I've no idea why. It’s a collection of seven stories, one about each of the Endless, and it’s said to be a good introduction to the series.

  • A Contract with God by Will Eisner – Will Eisner is an essential author for fans of comics and graphic novels. I’ve read a few of his book, and I really want to read more. This one is said to be his masterpiece. It contains four semi auto-biographical short stories, all about the experiences of immigrants in a Bronx tenement in the 1930’s.
Possible extras or alternates:
  • Nightmares and Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time by Serena Valentino – I have one issue of this comic, and I loved it. The reason why I’ve never read the whole collection is that it seems to be difficult to find. Anyway, this is the story of a strange doll called Annabella, who tells twisted fairy tales about the several people who owned her of the years.

  • Death: At Death's Door by Jill Thompson – This Sandman spin-off tells what Death, Despair and Delirium were up to during the events of “Seasons of Mist”, the fourth Sandman book.

  • Thessaly: Witch for Hire by Bill Willingham – This is also a Sandman spin-off, and it’s by the author of Fables, so it has to be good. Thessaly is a powerful and immortal witch who has been around since the times of Ancient Greece. She is a secondary character in the Sandman books, and here we get her own story.

  • Lucifer: Devil in the Getway by Mike Carey – yet another Sandman spin-off. This is getting repetitive, isn’t it? Anyway, everyone says this is the very best series to have come from the world of the Sandman. It follows the adventures of the lord of Hell after he leaves his domain.

  • Mouse Guard by David Petersen – Carl recommended this one, and the cover art alone makes me want to read it.
And now, a list of recommendations:
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman – This series is a must-read. I know a lot of you enjoy his novels but haven’t tried the comics yet. If you liked “American Gods”, though, you are sure to like this series.

  • Death: The High Cost of Living by Neil Gaiman – One of my favourite books ever. And you do not need to have read the Sandman to enjoy it. I wrote about it here.

  • Fables by Bill Willingham – I’ve only read the first two books in the series so I’m by no means an expert, but I loved them and I’m sure I’ll love the rest. The premise is that the characters of fairy tales are living in our world in disguise, because something known as The Adversary has invaded their world. I reviewed book 2 here.

  • Gloom Cookie by Serena Valentino – for your inner Goth girl/boy. Again, I’ve only read the first in the series, but some day I’ll get to the rest. The first book, at least, is humorous and sweet and dark and quite enjoyable.

  • Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot – an extraordinary journey through history, myth, lore and literature. Read my review there.

  • Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian - reviewed here.

  • Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman & Dave Mckean – also reviewed here.

  • Ghost World by Daniel Clowes– a wonderful story about two friends who've just graduate from highschool - throughout the book, we see growing up and discovering themselves and also growing apart. Some of you might have seen the movie – Daniel Clowes himself wrote the script, so the mood of the story is exactly right. The story itself differs quite a bit, though.

  • The Name of the Game by Will Eisner – the story of a family of German Jews who immigrated to the USA in the 19th century. It follows them for three generations and it analysis the social conventions and expectations of the time very interestingly.

  • The Furies by Mike Carey & John Bolton – this is – you guessed it – another Sandman spin-off. I actually read it a few weeks ago, but I never got around to reviewing it. Anyway, it’s good. Very good. However, I would only recommend it to Sandman fans, because it does tie in with the main plot of the Sandman books. It’s about Lyta, and how she is coping with the loss of her son Daniel, and also about the Greek Erinyes and Hermes and Cronus, the very first patricide. A very emotional story deeply rooted in Greek mythology. I was actually dubious about whether these characters would work in the hands of anyone other than Neil, but they do. This actually feels like a Sandman books, but it also feels like its own thing.
Okay, that’s enough recommendations, I guess. Thank you again, Dewey, for this wonderful challenge!


  1. I'm interested in the challenge - but I think I want to push the envelope a little, see if I can draw up a list that challenge me more.

    I will really need to think about this challenge.

  2. YAY! This is so cool! I had never even thought of a graphic novel challenge before. Three cheers for Dewey for putting this together. My list will no doubt be boring and filled with Neil Gaiman as I made the promise to myself that next year will be the year of reading books I already own and trying not to buy too many other books! I have bunches of Neil Gaiman GNs that haven't been read and not many other ones, though I think I have a collection of Spider Man that Charles Vess did....I can read that one too! Anyway, this is going to be so cool..another thing to make my wishlist grow!

  3. SO SO SO excited about this challenge. I'm working up my list as we speak. Glad you joined in, too!

  4. I'm pretty excited about this challenge too. I think I'll go beyond my initial six as well which is rare for a challenge. Like you, I love the Sandman series. Sandman: Endless Nights was my first introduction in the series so it's special in that way. It goes without saying but you'll like. :) Also, Maus is is amazing. It deserves its Pulitizer thoroughly, and made me cry. Beautiful stuff. Have a good challenge.

  5. As you know, I'm a total neophyte here, but I am really excited. Annie, who already loves graphic novels, came in while I was posting my list and became absolutely giddy at the prospect of this challenge. Of course, many of my titles came straight from your recommendations!

  6. you know, its only now that this challenge is out that i've realised how strange it is that there haven't been any others!

    hmmm... very tempted. i'm gonna have a look at dewey's site!

  7. You know, I haven't picked up a comic since Grade School. My son loves the Manga books, but I haven't ever read a graphic novel. And that's actually surprising, since all the recent movies that have come out that started as graphic novels.

    Sheesh....I wouldn't even know where to start with this one!!

  8. Thanks for joining and for enticing all your great readers! The best thing about this for me will be to branch out and get ideas from all of you, because really my graphic novels reading has up until now been dictated by my husband and my friend Dean.

  9. Thanks for the info, I'll definitely be joining in this one as I am an avid comic/graphic novel reader.

    I think you'll enjoy Castle Waiting, it is a great series.

  10. Hey I just signed up for this challenge too! We both picked Persepolis and I have some Sandman and Serena Valentino on my list so will be good to compare notes. If I get time I hope to finally read The Watchman by Alan Moore if I have time although it isn't on my list.

  11. Nymeth I'm so glad you posted lots of suggestions. I'm taking note. I've only read a few graphic novels but really want to read more. Yay for a challenge!

  12. Dark Orpheus: I just saw your list, and it's great! I wish I'd thought of some of those too.

    Chris: How could a list full of Neil Gaiman ever be boring? :P Seriously, I think it's wise of you to start working on that TBR shelf. I'd do the same, expect I don't actually have any unread comics. I guess that because they are fast reads I tend to read them as soon as I buy them.

    Andi: It is an exciting challenge, isn't it? Your list is great!

    Athena: I really look forward to finally reading Endless Nights. And Maus! This challenge will be great for sure. I have a feeling I might end up going beyond the ones I listed here too.

    Debi: I'm so glad both you and Annie are joining! I can't wait to see you lists.

    Jean Pierre: Join! You know you want to :P And like you said in your post, you ARE allowed to get new comics :P

    Stephanie: I'm pretty sure you're going to enjoy Graphic Novels! I'm glad you're going to give them a try.

    Dewey: Thank you so much for hosting this! And yeah, this will be a nice way to branch out and get lots of reading ideas.

    Carl: I think I will enjoy it too. I can't wait to see you list! You always come up with such cool recommendations.

    Rhinoa: I hope I have time to squeeze in some Alan Moore too. I've never read him and I really think I should.

    Bookgirl: I can't wait to see which ones you decide to read!

  13. I'm writing my review of Death: The High Cost of Living, and because I put it on my list (as usual) because of one of your reviews, I wanted to add your link. But the link to it here doesn't work (neither does the one from Rhinoa's review) and I can't find it! Help!

    Thanks. :-)


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.