Top Five: Graphic Novels (Holiday edition)

Hey guys, I’m Rob Base. Back here again with another top five gifts for your respected holiday of choice.

With this being the Christmas season I wanted to present the best gifts for the significant other in your life (be it a lover, friend or family member).

But, before I rattle off my list, let me quickly explain the difference in what is a graphic novel and just a collected comic book.

All books, be it a “Graphic Novel” or a standard “Comic,” are, in their core, all the same. But, what makes a Comic book a Graphic novel (to me) is its format of publishing, duration and content.

As much as we love the Walking Dead, it is NOT a Graphic Novel. Sure, it has the adult content, but it’s a continued series with less then 24 active pages in each issue.

The Dark Knight Returns, even though it was published in four issues, the format of book, its short run, and adult themes make it a true Graphic Novel.

So, that is the rules. Now let us begin.

Number 5: Art Spiegelman’s Maus. This Graphic Novel has become a part of American pop culture and history. It also has become mandatory reading in high schools.

The story is centered around Spiegelman’s father, who talks about his survival during the holocaust and an amazing subplot about his personal relationship with his father. The characters are represented as Mice for Jewish, Cats for Germans and Dogs for Americans.

It’s been collected into a graphic collection and, for most fans, this was their only way to read it.

Number 4: Stray Toasters by Bill Sienkiewicz The story revolves around criminal psychologist, Egon Rustemagik, and his investigation of a serial killer that seems to be targeting women.

This book was years ahead of its time and has become a comic book to own.
Not only that, but this comic to me was the first true graphic novel. Bill’s unique art style and masterful storytelling makes this book something that all readers should enjoy.

Number 3: Road to Perdition by Max Allan Collins and art by Richard Piers Rayner, published by DC Comics’ Imprint, Paradox Press.

This was adapted into the 2002 film of the same name, starring Tom Hanks, for which Collins also wrote the novelization.

Michael O’Sullivan, the ruthless but honorable enforcer for a crime syndicate, is personally betrayed by his masters and is forced to flee with his young son, Michael, Jr., on a quest for revenge. The story is set in the American Midwest during the Great Depression and draws upon several historical figures, especially the gangster John Patrick Looney, in real life, Looney came into conflict with Dan Drost, a formerly loyal lieutenant in their crime organization, and their feud eventually led to the death of Looney’s son Connor.

This story is loosely based on the famed manga series Lone Wolf and Cub.

Number 2: Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo and Satoshi Kon (uncredited)

On December 6, 1982, an apparent nuclear explosion destroys Tokyo and starts World War III. By 2019, a new city called Neo-Tokyo has been built on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay, but is gripped by anti-government terrorism and gang violence. While riding in the ruins of old Tokyo, Tetsuo, a member of the bōsōzoku gang led by Kaneda, is injured when his bike explodes after Takashi—a child Esper with wizened features—blocks his path. This incident awakens psychic powers in Tetsuo, attracting the attention of a secret government project directed by the Colonel. These increasing powers unhinge Tetsuo’s mind, exacerbating his inferiority complex about Kaneda and leading him to assume leadership of the rival Clown gang.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Akira is just an amazing manga series,
It broke the mold for what can be possible on paper.  With 6 collected volumes, this is probably one of the best collections to get for Christmas.

Number 1: The Dark Knight Returns (as if we didn’t see this one coming). Frank Miller’s monumental effort in rebranding the story and status of DC’s second flagship character.

The Dark Knight Returns is set in a dystopian near-future version of Gotham City. Bruce Wayne is 55 years old and has retired as Batman while the levels of crime rising. Wayne, finding his retirement difficult, becomes Batman again. 

Links to all these amazing titles are listed.

Let us know what you think.
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