Back in 2005, Time Magazine ran a list of the 100 best books from 1923 to present. In a nod to the evolving means of telling a story, they included these 10 graphic novels. (And we here at Flashlight Worthy added one more that we think they overlooked.)
illustrated by Jason Lutes
by Craig Thompson
Books about first love aren't hard to find, but I've never encountered one like this. This 600-page memoir in graphic novel form is heart-breakingly true. Thompson's book is the best that a story can be — the details and authenticity bring his world alive, while the universal ideas about growing up, yearning, and love will take the reader on a nostalgic journey back to her own first, transformative, love. And while I've never read this title in the context of a book club, bringing up memories of your first significant love should provide more than enough fodder for discussion.
by Jeff Smith
Briget from Mount Joy, PA says:
This is a fabulously and lovingly crafted story, an epic in three parts. The first part is decidedly lighthearted, establishing the initial character impressions and the innocence of the mysterious Valley. As the story progresses it gets darker and more serious, but it's always interesting, and there's always at least a little comedy to balance out the intensity.
I grew up reading "Bone" when it was still coming out monthly in single issues, and I was constantly riveted by the story. It's such a great blend of funny and dramatic. The characters are rich and the artwork is fantastic. This is a graphic novel for all audiences, never too bold and never too simple, it hits that perfect balance.
by Kim Deitch
by Frank Miller
Pat J. says:
Over the decades, Batman went from being a dark and brooding crime-fighter to a campy Johnny-Do-Good with a utility belt full of convenient tricks. With "The Dark Knight Returns", Frank Miller revisited the origins and the mythos of the Dark Knight, showing a dark and brooding crimefighter at the end — and the beginning — of his career. If there's a more powerful superhero comic, I haven't read it. (Ok, maybe "Watchmen".)
by Daniel Clowes
Alan K. says:
Bizarre and brilliant (and, unexpectedly, sexually explicit), this is a kind of twisted soap opera about a creative but reserved guy, his loves and friendships and family issues, against an increasingly apocalyptic background, with some murder mystery tossed in for good measure. You will not be able to predict the twists and turns of the plot, but it sails along and takes you with it. As David's life gets more unbelievable, he seems to become more detached. Very different from Daniel Clowes' more famous graphic novel "Ghost World," but I think just as good.
by Francois Voltaire
Alan Kennedy says:
Quite simply, this book is a masterpiece — not just in the graphic novel genre, but, in my opinion, the "book" genre. Extraordinarily detailed color drawings chronicle (non-chronologically) the Corrigan family living in the American Midwest from the 1880's to the 1980's. Some of the drawings are heartbreaking — how can a picture be both detailed and stark? Ware manages that. You will find yourself gazing for a long time at little pictures, marveling at what Ware is able to convey within the limitations of the graphic novel format. His depiction of family relationships is cringe-worthy and realistic, and he is especially good at conveying the passage of time.
by Gilbert Hernandez
Eleanor from Columbia, South Carolina says:
The perfect marriage of great story and beautiful artwork . A tale of pain and pleasure in a small Mexican village with characters both rich and poor. One of the greatest graphic novels written in my opinion.
by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons
Alan Kennedy says:
Kind of like "The Incredibles" without the humor but with trippy artwork. The ultimate "superhero" story, taking its inspiration from all that came before it in that genre. A truly imaginative narrative about the burdens of both power and nostalgia, with super-saturated color drawings and heavy themes.
by Art Spiegelman
Funny. While this list was chosen by Time Magazine, people keep writing in with suggestions for additions. One well-phrased suggestion came from my friend Shannon:"Peter, how could "Maus" not be on this list? I know Spiegelman is a controversial figure, but that doesn't take anything away from the fact that the story of his family's experience in the Holocaust is absolutely the most moving and... I dunno... surprising perspective I've ever read. In my opinion, most graphic novels (especially ones like "Persepolis," that seek to tell a story that is both true and horrible) owe something to Art."
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
I've always been interested in topics of every kind, so what the heck, I built this website to recommend books of every kind. If you have ideas as to how Flashlight Worthy could be better, let me know.
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