Graphic literature/Manga is a genre that is very under represented on our site and as such we thought we’d ask our followers on our Social Media pages to tell us what their favourite Graphic novel is.
So many titles, so many different styles and authors and illustrators were suggested that it was difficult to find ten that stood out, but we got there and here are the results.
Top place goes to Sandman, a series written by Neil Gaiman, published by DC and illustrated by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, Shawn McManus, Marc Hempel, and Michael Zulli, lettering by Todd Klein, and covers by Dave McKean.
In Preludes & Nocturnes, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.
Watchmen is an American comic-book limited series published by DC Comics in 1986 and 1987, and collected in 1987. The series was created by a British collaboration consisting of writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins.
Considered the greatest graphic novel in the history of the medium, the Hugo Award-winning story chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.
A very well deserved third place goes to Maus a graphic novel by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman, serialized from 1980 to 1991. It depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. The book represents Jews as mice and other Germans and Poles as cats and pigs
Fourth is a series I keep meaning to read but have never got round to; The Dark Tower is a series of comic books by Marvel Comics based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower novels. Plotted by Robin Furth and scripted by Peter David. Stephen King serves as Creative and Executive Director of the project.
Sailor Moon is fifth, enormously popular across the globe this is our top Manga pick. The series follows the adventures of a young schoolgirl named Usagi Tsukino as she transforms into the titular character to search for a princess and an artifact called the “Legendary Silver Crystal”. During her journey, she leads a diverse group of comrades, the Sailor Soldiers —Sailor Guardians in later editions—as they battle against villains to prevent the theft of the Silver Crystal and the destruction of the Solar System.
V for Vendetta comes in next, a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd and Tony Weare. The story depicts a dystopian and post-apocalyptic near-future history version of the United Kingdom in the 1990s, preceded by a nuclear war in the 1980s, which has left most of the world destroyed. The fascist Norsefire party has exterminated its opponents in concentration camps and rules the country as a police state. The comics follow its titular character and protagonist, V, an anarchist revolutionary dressed in a Guy Fawkes mask, as he begins an elaborate and theatrical revolutionist campaign to murder his former captors, bring down the government and convince the people to rule themselves, while inspiring a young woman, Evey Hammond, to be his protégé.
And in eighth is Bleach, a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. Bleach follows the adventures of the hotheaded teenager Ichigo Kurosaki after he obtains the powers of a Soul Reaper (Shinigami?, literally, “Death God”)—a death personification similar to the Grim Reaper—from another Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki. His new-found powers force him to take on the duties of defending humans from evil spirits and guiding departed souls to the afterlife, and set him on journeys to various ghostly realms of existence.
Our penultimate pick is Arkham Asylum; the first Batman story to be written by Morrison before becoming a regular writer in future Batman titles. Inspired by previous works like The Dark Knight Returns, Morrison conceived the story to be his own different approach to the character, using heavy symbolical references and the deconstruction of many iconic Batman villains. The story follows the vigilante Batman, who is called upon to quell a maddening riot taking place in the infamous Arkham Asylum, a psychiatric hospital housing the most dangerous supervillains in Gotham City. Inside, Batman meets and fights many of his enduring rogues gallery such as the Joker, Two-Face, and Killer Croc, many of whom have changed since he last saw them. As Batman ventures deeper, he discovers the origin of how the asylum was established, the history of its builder Amadeus Arkham, and the supernatural and psychological mystery that has been haunting the area.
Tenth and last but certainly not least is Joe Hill’s Locke & Key with astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez it tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them, and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all!
Is your favourite Graphic novel in the above list? If you’ve never dipped your toe in this genre then hopefully this list will tempt you in to trying it out.
If it does you will have to let us know what you think.