Discussion: Graphic Novels

Image courtesy of Mike Egan
Image courtesy of Mike Egan

Have you read any graphic novels this summer? How about this year? Have you ever read a graphic novel? I think that people tend to think that graphic novels are only for certain people. People might think that graphic novels are only for “nerds,” whatever that means. But I disagree!

I am here today to encourage you to check out a graphic novel. Just try one! I used to read a lot of graphic novels when I was younger, and then I stopped reading them for some reason. Recently, however, I’ve discovered a lot of interesting graphic novels and have been reading a lot of great stories as a result.

BoingBoing had a Summer Reading List of Graphic Novels just a little while ago, and I think they had some great recommendations. Their list includes Saga, which I definitely agree with. I’ve only read the first volume of Saga so far (there are 3 out right now), but it’s a story of cross-species romance and intergalactic conflict. It. Is. Amazing. Also on their list is Hyperbole and a Half, the graphic novel memoir of Allie Brosh, who runs a blog of the same name. I read it earlier this year and enjoyed it immensely! It had a good mix of comedy and tragedy, coupled with Allie Brosh’s signature art style.

To this list, I would like to add some recommendations of my own. My first recommendation is Sex Criminals. Sure, it sounds a bit scandalous–and maybe it is–but it’s a superb idea and has an awesome art style. Basically, two people find that they both have a unique ability–they stop time when they climax, but they remain aware and able to move around. What will they do in that quiet space? You’ll have to read it to find out!

Another great series that I’ve been reading is Manhattan Projects, which is an alternate universe re-imagining of what happened with the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project. There are aliens, robots, and a whole lot of crazy corruption. If you’re ready for a story that’s really out there, I’d recommend this one.

Finally, I want to put in a good word for two oldies-but-goodies. Firstly, Fables, which has been going on for quite some time. It’s all about fairytale characters in modern day Manhattan. Secondly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, there are Buffy graphic novels. They start with a “season 8” run of stories, which continues the seven-season television show. They are so much fun to read if you’re a Buffy fan.

I hope that these recommendations have inspired you to check out some graphic novels this summer, or any time this year!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things



Last week, the “Awesome Literary Thing” we focused on was bookstores. I think we can all agree that bookstores are awesome and that you should support more of them in your community if you want them to stick around. But what about the people behind those bookstores? What about the booksellers themselves?

Through BoingBoing, that great internet repository of awesome, I found a photo series by photographer named Steve Kenward. The series is called “Literally” and Steve has taken photographs of many booksellers among their books and inside their bookshops. On his website Steve says, “Independent bookshops are great places to spend time in. These portraits are some of the lovely people who can help you find something special. You really can’t beat the smell of fresh ink in a new hardback or the excitement on discovering a copy of that out of print classic. So next time you are passing a bookshop, pop in. You might be surprised what you find.”

I love the way Steve describes booksellers here, as “the lovely people who can help you find something special.” Yes, sometimes you go into a bookstore with a prepared list, all ready to find what you’re on a mission to find. But other times you come in less prepared, and you need a helping hand. These are the folks who can recommend, locate, and research for you.

These photos are fascinating because each one of these booksellers is completely surrounded by their wares. Steve has also collected each bookseller’s favorite book, which is a great way to get some insight into these folks.

I encourage you to check out the photo series, “Literally,” and do some reflecting on the booksellers that you’ve come into contact with on your book-hunting adventures.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan