Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Favorite Graphic Novels

Since we are reviewing our first graphic novel this week, of course we are telling you about our favorite graphic novels today.

Of course, my favorite graphic novels are the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman (because I just won't shut up about them). But instead of trying to tell you all about the entire series, I'll instead discuss Endless Nights which is sort of a companion book to the series that can stand alone.

The seven Endless are central to everything about the Sandman franchise. These siblings are the embodiment of their respective domains: in no particular order, Death, Dream, Destiny, Delirium (formerly Delight), Despair, Desire, and Destruction. While the main books deal mostly in the affairs of Dream (thus the title, one of his alternate monikers) there are some off-shoot books that deal with some of the others. Endless Nights is one where each of the Endless gets their own story that encompasses their essence.

Each story is illustrated by a different artist to give you more of a sense of how different the Endless are. Each story stands alone, but Destruction's follows Delirium's and directly relates to it. (They both come after the events of the Sandman series... I don't remember if there are spoilers, but it's something to be aware of.)

I can't choose a favorite story, but it would probably be one of the first three. Death's is first, and is called "Death in Venice." It's a little funny and a little sad and very beautiful. Desire's story, "What I've Tasted of Desire," comes next, and I kept thinking about it while I was reading The Penelopiad because they have some strong similarities. And the third story is Dream's, called "The Heart of a Star." It it very pretty, and it is creatively written, and I'm rather fond of the ending... It makes me smile.

The whole book is beautiful and strange, just like the Sandman series itself, and if you're a fan of Gaiman or graphic novels or Sandman (or if you're interested in any of the above but need a segue into them) I highly recommend it.

My favorite Graphic Novel is actually a stark contrast from Alex's.  It's called Persepolis and it's actually the biographical account of Marjane Satrapi (who is author/illustrator.)  She grew up in Iran during the 1980s and the Islamic Revolution.

Honestly, I LOVE the illustrations in it.  They're simple and there's no color, but really, it compliments the story.  Satrapi's life was one of bombings and dictatorships.  The black and white illustrations really help make you pay attention to what is going on in each frame.  It let's you notice things and I think that it was a great choice.  I think that colors would have distracted too much from her story.

I also like that the two books cover so much of her life.  We really get to see Satrapi grow up from a young girl into a woman who marries.  She has strong political views because of all the turmoil that is going on in her country.  It really lets anyone connect with Satrapi because she covers so much of her life and there are so many experiences that she endures. 

I really recommend this if you're just starting out on the Graphic Novel front.  The illustrations are a little simpler, the story line a little heavier but it's still a wonderful, wonderful Graphic Novel.

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