Ever since I started writing my Comics For… posts over on IGGPPC I’ve had a lot of people asking me to suggest comics and graphic novels for newbies. I’ll get into comics for newbies in a future post (I have SO many suggestions) but I feel like it’s sometimes a bit easier to introduce someone to comics and graphic novels with stand alone stories. So to get you started, here are five graphic novels/memoirs for newbies:
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1. This One Summer – Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki
A graphic novel that holds so many deep, important issues within its pages is rarely simple, but This One Summer will captivate you with its simplicity. The story of Rose and Windy, two “summer cottage friends” who spend every summer together at Awago Beach with their families. This is very much a story about two young girls, discovering the way the world works, beyond their childhood ideals. A world where things can a do go wrong – sometimes drastically. The art in this book is just beautiful, if for no other reason, this book is a great introduction to graphic novels for its ability to draw you in with its breathtaking illustrations. If you want to start off slow, check out This One Summer it’s not overwhelming and you will get a sense of just how important illustrations can be in story telling.
2. Through the Woods – Emily Carroll
Known for her collection of web comics, Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods is a collection of five unsettling short stories, that have the ability to entertain even those wary of graphic novels. With simple, yet haunting illustrations to compliment the chilling tales, this collection is a fantastic entry point into graphic novels for fans of scary stories.
3. Ghost World – Daniel Clowes
Most people will be familiar with Ghost World because of the popular movie, but the cult classic started out as a widely popular graphic novel. We follow best friends Enid and Becky as they face the challenges of growing up, and the reality that sometimes that means growing apart. If you’re a fan of the movie or that 90s style geek culture aesthetic I can almost guarantee you will love Ghost World.
4. Seconds – Bryan Lee O’Malley
Bryan Lee O’Malley is a great entry point into graphic novels for just about anyone. Much like his Scott Pilgrim novels, Seconds is a fun, entertaining, and easy read.
Seconds tells the story of Katie the head chef of a restaurant that is woken up one night by a mysterious girl who gives her a notebook and a mushroom. Katie comes to learn that when eaten the mushroom allows her to fix any of her past mistakes that she writes down in the notebook. Thrilled that she can correct everything that’s gone wrong in her life, Katie becomes somewhat obsessed with what these mushrooms allow her to do and abuses their power until she’s faced with the devastating consequences.
5. Persepolis -Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis was actually my first introduction to graphic memoirs, and it remains one of the best graphic novels that I’ve read to date. This has been considered a fairly controversial book, but I truly believe that it’s one that everyone needs to read. Persepolis is a non-traditional coming of age story about the author’s experience growing up during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. A unique take on the political and sociocultural issues of the time, Persepolis introduces you to some very important issues and history in a way that keeps you entertained. Now, don’t get me wrong, this book is emotionally charged, but perhaps in unsuspecting ways. Marjane has some of the coolest parents I’ve ever read about and the book is worth a read for them alone, but even if you’re not typically interested in the issues this book brings to light I don’t think you’ll regret giving it a shot.
Have you read any of these titles? If so what did you think? What Graphic Novels (stand alone stories/memoirs) would you suggest to a new reader? Let me know in the comments!