Best Books 2012: Graphic Novels

Are You My Mother Best Books 2012: Graphic NovelsBechdel, Alison. Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama. Houghton Harcourt.
ISBN 9780618982509. $22.
Using literature and psychoanalysis as twin lenses, Bechdel examines her own and her mother’s interwoven lives in a complex, almost dizzying tour de force of storytelling. More than matching her acclaimed Fun Home for its blend of drama, poignancy, and humor, this intellectually challenging bricolage toggles dexterously between multiple zones of time and the psyche, even folding in Dr. Seuss. (LJ 5/15/12)

Bendis, Brian Michael (text) & Sara Pichelli (illus.). Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man. Vol. 1. Marvel. ISBN 9780785157120. $24.99.
In an alternate Marvel universe, Peter Parker is killed, and African American and Latino middle-schooler Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man. Miles must own his new powers and responsibilities, convince onlookers that suiting up as the dead hero isn’t some sick joke, and persuade other superheroes that he has the chops to join them. Pichelli’s art is terrific  and Miles’s developing character a winning blend of naiveté and brilliance.

Bourdain, Anthony & Joel Rose (text) & Langdon Foss (illus.). Get Jiro! Vertigo: DC.
ISBN 9781401228279. $24.99.
In this futuristic Los Angeles, food culture rules. But eating out can be risky, partly because two culinary empires control the city like a mafia. Both want new-in-town sushi-meister Jiro on their team. But Jiro can out-badass both snotty international omnivores and their rival holistic purists. Note details swiped from fight manga, kung-fu films, gourmet trivia, and food professionals. (LJ 7/12)

Siegel, Mark. Sailor Twain; or, The Mermaid in the Hudson. First Second: Roaring Brook. ISBN 9781596436367. $24.99.
This romantic tragedy, mystery, sailor’s yarn, and fairy tale stars a cursed riverboat captain and the three women in his life, one of whom is a wounded mermaid. Siegel’s smoky, dreamlike charcoal-and-pencil drawings lend beguiling charm to the 1880s period setting, clothing, and characters. Hint: the captain’s surname, Twain, relates to the denouement, not to the famous author. (LJ 9/15/12)

Van Sciver, Noah. The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln. Fantagraphics. ISBN 9781606996195. $24.99.
Van Sciver makes Lincoln real by picturing one of the hardest times in his younger life. Confronting professional and personal setbacks, Lincoln plunges into depression (which he calls “the hypo,” from “hypochondriac”), ends his engagement to his beloved, and breaks down completely. Yet he recovers, going on to marriage and greatness. Dickens-style squalor and melodrama plus Austen-style romance, all done in gritty cross-hatching. (LJ 9/15/12)

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Martha Cornog About Martha Cornog

Martha Cornog is a longtime reviewer for LJ and, with Timothy Perper, edited Graphic Novels Beyond the Basics: Insights and Issues for Libraries (Libraries Unlimited, 2009).

Comments

  1. Chap says:

    Ultimate Spider-Man? Really?

    Otherwise, not a terrible list.

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