2008′s best graphic novels
Graphic novels continue to be one of the few categories in bookstores experiencing growth. As such, there’s a near explosion of quality work coming out in the longer format. This week, Word Balloons will look at the best graphic-novel format comics released for the first time in 2008; next week we’ll look at the best periodical comic-book releases.
Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly’s tale follows young Megan McKeenan as she crisscrosses America. Each chapter is set in a different city in a different year. Wood and Kelly capture a sense of each city on the itinerary.
2. Too Cool to Be Forgotten
Software engineer Andrew Wicks seeks the aid of a hypnotist to quit smoking. But rather than waking up smoke-free, he wakes up in 1985, as a high school freshman. He decides he’s been sent back to avoid taking his first smoke, but hopes to avoid otherwise shaking up his teenage life. Written and drawn by Alex Robinson (“Box Office Poison,” “Tricked”).
3. What It Is
Part autobiography, part creative workbook, Lynda Barry’s “What It Is” features dazzling artwork with elements of collage throughout.
4. Bottomless Belly Button
Dash Shaw writes and draws this huge graphic novel about the adult children of Maggie and David Looney, who have announced their divorce after 40 plus years of marriage.
5. Freddie and Me
Mike Dawson’s memoir shows how his life was influenced by Freddie Mercury of Queen. Influenced by the aforementioned Robinson, Dawson intertwines speculation about the band with his own coming-of-age.
6. Burma Chronicles
Guy Delisle and his wife go to Burma as part of Doctors Without Borders. As his wife battles the dictatorship’s bureaucracy to care for malaria victims, Delisle takes care of his young son and details day to day life in the oppressed nation.
Writer Adam Beechen and artist Manny Bello are the creative team for this story of a down-on-his-luck baseball manager in 1959 who decides the only way to save his job is to break a hotshot pitcher out of jail. “Dugout” mixes the sports and caper genres with aplomb.
8. Love and Rockets: The Education of Hopey Glass
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