Graphic Reading Material

This week’s topic is Graphic Novels!

Before I continue, let me say that the community of graphic artists and illustrators would like to reclaim ownership of the word GRAPHIC.  Accordingto MerriamWebster’s online dictionary, “graphic” is defined as‘relating to the artistic use of pictures, shapes, and words especially in books and magazines’.

Therefore, graphic should not mean gratuitous scenes of violence, and, you know, that other stuff.

And, back to this week’s topic; Graphic Novels come in all genres and all styles of art.  Trust me, the reading experience they provide can be every bit as engaging and absorbing as any book of prose. So to promote awareness of the graphic novel, I am offering up an eclectic summer reading list.

Many of these suggestions came to me via Dan Brown’s weekly Saturday column in the London Free Press.  This column reviews graphic novels, comics, local graphic artists and shamelessly promotes all manner of graphic art. Follow at @DanatLFPress, or

Another resource is Canada’s own Drawn and Quarterly, a major international graphic arts publisher, at

In no particular order these are some of the graphic reads I have enjoyed;

MausMaus: A Survivor’s Tale, by Art Spiegelman
This is the only graphic novel (so far) to win a Pulitzer Prize. It tells the true story of a father recounting his experience as a Polish Jew surviving Auschwitz to his son.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The autobiographical story of a young girl trying to understand the disruption to her family’s way of life following the Islamic Revolution.  Persepolis is also available as an animated film.

Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
The title sounds like this would be a fun read.  It is not.  It is a story of three generations of dysfunctional fathers.  It is however, brilliantly poignant and told through clever art and expression.

Over Easy by Mimi Pond
If the 1970’s was your era, or if you ever worked in a diner, you’ll enjoy this one.

Sailor TwainSailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel
A good story for a beach day.  This is possibly going to be made into a movie by Pixar.

Britten & Brulightly, by Hannah Berry
The art and the story are reminiscent of a 1930’s style detective movie.  I good Who-Done-It with a soupcon of psychosis added in.

Essex County by Jeff Lemire
Hailing from Essex County, Jeff Lemire created a well told story of a boy trying to connect with his uncle after his mother dies.

PalookavillePalookaville, by Seth
Another local artist, Seth has a nostalgic style in both art and story.  If nostalgia can be defined as: pleasure and sadness caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again…then this book hits the mark.

Try one and let me know what the experience was like for you.

This week’s comics have been graphically posted at

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