View Full Version : Graphic Novels

Dr. Zirk
05-23-2005, 06:32 PM
I'm wondering if any other TLO members are fans of graphic novels, as I am. Please don't call them comics; you'll make me feel unsophisticated!

Graphic novels are a huge field, so I won't even pretend to have a comprehensive knowledge of them, but I definitely have a few favorites. My picks are not so much "Ligottian" as they are simply the picks of someone who likes TL's fiction - whether the relationship goes deeper than that I don't care to speculate.

Here are my favorites in no particular order; I'm curious to see what other TLO members may come up with.

Enki Bilal - especially The Nikopol Trilogy and The Hunting Party.
Rick Geary - his Treasury of Victorian Murder series.
Richard Corben - basically anything by, but his adaptation of Hodgson's The House on the Borderlands is a good recent title.
Jim Woodring - author of the Frank series. This is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, if you ask me. Amazing stuff!

At one time I was a fan of Moebius (aka Jean Giraud) but eventually found his stuff to be a bit too sunny and hopeful. Some of those hippies just never got over the Summer of Love!

05-24-2005, 12:20 AM
The only graphic novels I've read have been a couple of Neil Gaiman Sandman novels. I would be interested in reading some more darker ones

05-24-2005, 04:05 AM
The comic art medium has definitely grown up. Even Norman Mailer praised Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN series. Many individual titles have mature audience labels on them nowadays. I grew up reading comic books, and I still try to check out an occasional series or graphic novel. It has been a while since I last picked one up, but I share your interest in the subject and would like to hear what other members have to say. A few I remember liking would be:

V FOR VENDETTA by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
A dystopian G/N. Moore was getting increasingly wary of Thatcher's right wing government. I think he mentioned Orwell, Huxley, Ray Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451, and Harlan Ellison's "REPENT HARLEQUIN!" SAID THE TICKTOCKMAN as influences.

A COTTON CANDY AUTOPSY by Dave Louapre and Dan Sweetman
Some clowns get drunk and burn down the circus and other hijinks. This collected some stories from the series BEAUTIFUL STORIES FOR UGLY CHILDREN. I thought the entire series was great.

THE CROW by James O'Barr.
This outstanding G/N is what they based the movie on. Good movie too.

KILLING JOKE by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland.
A Batman title. Has my single favorite page of comic writing. Mature themes. Tim Burton's favorite comic book.

Another dystopia. An evil theocracy (is there any other kind) breeds slave labor. Shades of Orwell's 1984 and ANIMAL FARM.

THE RAVEN AND OTHER POEMS by Edgar Allen Poe and Gahan Wilson

Other comic artists whose work I enjoy include:
Gary Larson
R. Crumb
Bill Waterson
Richard Sala

The Silent One
05-24-2005, 09:01 AM
Other comic artists whose work I enjoy include:
Gary Larson
R. Crumb
Bill Waterson
Richard Sala
Watterson and Larson have to be my favourite comic artists. Their pieces are witty and reflective of our society and our world, or simply examples of sane or twisted genius. I commend them for that.

05-25-2005, 05:46 AM
Anything by Edward GOREY (My screensaver is a random vignette from his Gashlycrumb Tinies)

Anything written by Alan MOORE (FROM HELL is really impressive from every point of view, probably the best work of art about Jack The Ripper...)

Lewis TRONDHEIM is great (I know some of his works have been translated from French on Fantagraphics, check out his site www.lewistrondheim.com): his works have a profound pessimistic feel, which is totally the reverse of most of his drawings, it makes really a great clash!

The same goes with Joan SFAR, even though his drawing is more tortured than Trondheim's. Their collaboration series (Donjon) is really amazing: sometimes funny (very), sometimes dark (very very), sometimes childish, sometimes violent (very), sometimes sexual,... well, you never know what to expect.

05-28-2005, 04:52 AM
I wrote a couple of columns on horror comics back in 2003. Covered
a selection of different titles.

The columns are at http://www.thealienonline.net/columns/wp_mar03.asp?tid=7&scid=64&iid=1532

and at http://www.thealienonline.net/columns/wp_oct03.asp?tid=7&scid=64&iid=1959

And a graphic novel series of possible interest is Planetary by Warren Ellis. A trio of superpowered archeologists attempt to uncover a worldwide conspiracy as analogues of characters from weird literature commingle with historical events. The X-Files meets The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

And a series I've mentioned elsewhere on this board is The Invisibles by Grant Morrsion. Occult anarchists fight to save reality from extra-dimensional overlords. Imagine Robert Anton Wilson, Michael Moorcock and Philip K Dick rewriting The Matrix as a comic (although The Invisbles actually came out before The Matrix). The series occassionally descends into pretentious gibberish but overall it's an interesting read.

05-28-2005, 05:00 AM

I agree with you on GM's THE INVISIBLES. Great, intellectual read.

Might I suggest Alan Moore's THE WATCHMEN, and PROMETHIA?

05-28-2005, 04:47 PM
The only graphic novel I have read is Allan Moore's "From Hell", and it was quite a shocking ride. Really well made and highly recomended.

Doctor Munoz
05-29-2005, 11:32 AM
I think one of the best comics ever produced it is also one of the first. I am talking about "Little Nemo in Slumberland" by Winsor Mc Cay. This comic strip, published in the New York Herald from 1905 to 1911 is just sheer "art nouveau" magic. It is also for me a beautiful elegy to the loss of childhood, that most hospitable country (alas, not for everyone).
The French poet Aime Michel said something like children are neither happy nor miserable, but sleepwalkers. Hence growing up can be defined as an awakening process. Little Nemo fought for some years every sunday (it was a weekly strip) against any "awakening". He only wanted to carry on riding the roller coaster of his dreams, so beautifully crafted by Mr. Mc Cay. Who would blame him?

The Silent One
05-29-2005, 03:53 PM
Anything by Edward GOREY (My screensaver is a random vignette from his Gashlycrumb Tinies)
I'm a huge fan. "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs..." Should I go on :wink:?

05-29-2005, 07:56 PM
I second (or third, or whatever) all the Alan Moore recommendations.

I do like Gaiman, but have gone off him a bit of late for some reason.

I would certainly describe the Japanese graphic novel, Uzumaki as Ligottian, for those who are interested.

I also very much enjoy escapist fluff, such as Outlanders by Manabe Johji.

Tezuka Osamu is considered the god of the comic book form in Japan, and I can certainly recommend what I have read of his. I believe his story of the Buddha has been translated, but I'm not sure whether the same is true of his Second World War story Adorufu ni Tsugu, which means something like 'To Adolf'.

Doctor Munoz
05-30-2005, 10:23 AM
A new graphic novel suggestion for people who can read French, Italian or Spanish. The article, (in English)which I don't fully support, specially in its political leanings, can be found at www.ninthart.com/display.php?article=646
I do agree on the quality of Oesterheld-Breccia work. Warning to the numerous Frank Miller fan base, :D since the author draws some not too flattering comparisons with the Southamericans work.

05-31-2005, 01:36 AM
I would certainly describe the Japanese graphic novel, Uzumaki as Ligottian, for those who are interested.

I listened to your advice and placed the three volumes in my amazon shopping cart :wink: I had to read just a few reviews online to have my attention picked, mainly because I am fascinated by spirals...

05-31-2005, 04:28 AM
This thread started me rummaging through my comic boxes. I came up with a few more:

BRATPACK by Rick Veitch
About some unusual superheroes and their sidekicks. Not at all like Alan Moore's WATCHMEN - which I also liked.

THE MASK. I'm not a big fan of the movies, but the early series put out by Dark Horse Comics were very good. Both violent and funny as all get-out.

LENORE by Roman Dirge
About an adorable little dead girl and her humorous misadventures. She is named after Poe's poem.

I agree with the recommendations for Edward Gorey. In addition to many of his cartoon books, I have quite a few books that he illustrated. I used to love watching the intro to the PBS series MYSTERY! that was based on his artwork.

I'm a big fan of Gahan Wilson too. I have most of his cartoon books. Unfortunately, they are often repetitive and poorly produced. I wish someone would put together a comprehensive collection of his work like they did for Gary Larson. I bought THE COMPLETE FAR SIDE on eBay for $80.00 postpaid, and it was one of the best purchases I have ever made. These books are wonderful. The only drawback to them is you can't read them in bed; they weigh a ton.

I also have a bunch of Jim Unger's HERMAN collections and PLAYBOY CARTOON books and albums. Funny stuff.

On Dr. Zirk's recommendation, I read THE FRANK BOOK by Jim Woodring. (I almost keeled over when I discovered my local library had a copy). It took me a while to get into it, but I finally fell into a groove. I won't go so far as to say I understood it, but I enjoyed it. Woodring has a truly bizarre vision. They got Francis Ford Coppola to write the introduction. I would love to know how that happened.

05-31-2005, 06:08 AM
Doctor Munoz, that article on Oesterheld was fascinating. Makes me wish I was bi-lingual so I could read a copy of Mort Cinder. And even though I'm a Miller fan I agree with the writer's assessment of 300.

And just to get Alan Moore's name mentioned on this thread once more I don't think anyone's mentioned his Swamp Thing work yet.

Dr. Zirk
05-31-2005, 04:06 PM
Some great recommendations here - thanks to all of you who have posted suggestions. This has given me a lot of good ideas about which titles I need to be looking for.

Glad to see that bendk was able to check out Jim Woodring's The Frank Book. I didn't like Woodring's stuff at all when I first ran across it in the pages of Heavy Metal years ago, but it's grown on me over the years, and now I think he's a real genius - the Frank stuff is especially amazing.

For anyone else who is curious, there are some Frank animations available on the web at the URL below (they use RealPlayer instead of Flash, so you'll need to have that installed). Definitely worth a look if you're curious about the strange world of Jim Woodring.


06-15-2005, 04:58 AM
Forgot to mention Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run. The Brotherhood of Dada, Danny the Street, The Decreator and all other manner of surreal superheroics. The first few stories (Crawling From the Wreckage and The Painting That Ate Paris) have been reprinted in trade paperback. Hopefully the rest of the series will be too.

06-15-2005, 06:47 PM
I've discovered many recent favorites published by Humanoids/DC, www.humanoids-publishing.com. Unfortunately DC recently terminated its partnership with Humanoids, but they plan to keep their previously published books available. Still no word on who'll take over the distribution after July.

I've got to list Alexandro Jodorowsky as my favorite writer/creator. His films (Fando & Lys, El Topo, Holy Mountain, Santa Sangre) put me in a state of zen; his graphic novels fill me with giddy delight. Take the METABARONS, for instance: there's a plot twist on every page, some so mind-boggling I've had to restrain myself from whipping the books across the room. The gorgeous artwork is by Jaun Gimenez who some of you may be familiar with. The METABARONS is a spin-off of an earlier comic J. created with Moebius, called The INCAL.

Another spin-off, the TECHNOPRIESTS, is a violent and truly surreal tale centered around a young boy's ambitions to become the galaxy's greatest video game creator. When I first read about this book I was turned off, but upon viewing the artwork and reminding myself that it was after all a Jodorowsky novel I picked it up and read it thrice in one day. There are vampire trees that inhabit entire planets, shark-headed pirates... someone gets raped by a comet (you read me right!) and then goes through the pain and torture of birthing the flaming offspring...

My favorite Jodorowsky, however, is a two volume collection called SON OF THE GUN. It's about a man who was born with a tail, brought up by a transvestite midget prostitute who substituted a gun barrel for a pacifier. This man grows up to become, first, a s h i t disturber, then the right-hand man to the president of Mexico. The story gets pretty messed up from there on... The artwork is rendered by George Bess, who also collaborated w/J. on another two volume collection called the WHITE LAMA. It's the polar opposite of SOTG, still packed with violence, but overall it's an uplifting tale, compared to the dark, depressing and depraved nature of SOTG.

Some other suggestions from Humanoids:

Hollow Grounds

A suggestion for something published by Fantagraphics:

Black Hole by Charles Burns. It's about an STD that only affects teens, that turns them into mutants.

And one from DC/Vertigo:

Shadows Fall, written by John Ney Reiber, painted by Jon Van Fleet. Basically it's the story of a man who loses his shadow after a little girl dies in his place. While he lives out a horribly mundane life his shadow roams the city taunting people towards suicide so it can feed on their souls. Kinda Ligottian...


The Silent One
07-11-2005, 01:21 PM
Forgot to mention Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run. The Brotherhood of Dada, Danny the Street, The Decreator and all other manner of surreal superheroics. The first few stories (Crawling From the Wreckage and The Painting That Ate Paris) have been reprinted in trade paperback. Hopefully the rest of the series will be too.
Absolutely! Plus, the Antigod itself has a relatively Ligottian air. (Its cult is led by puppets. C'mon!)

Jubel Brosseau
07-13-2005, 01:47 PM
One of my absolute favorite comics series is Cerebus, by Dave Sim. Cerebus "phonebooks" (as they are affectionately called, because the compilations tend to be huge) can be a bit on the pricey side (expect 25 to 40 dollars depending on the length of the story arc). As I have the whole series, I've not seen if Amazon carries it or not, but I know I've mainly been only able to find it in comics shops or rather large bookstores. Sim recently finished the 300 issue last year, I believe, and he'd been getting it out with his own publishing company since '77. Check it out.

Also recommended: 100 bullets by Brian Azzarello, anything by Chris Ware (Acme Novelty Library), and Cages by Dave McKean.

Doctor Munoz
07-14-2005, 08:58 AM
Hi Beakripped. Maybe you'd like to know some news on Alejandro Jodorowski, the great comic book script writer. The Chilean is trying to become the L.Ron Hubbard of the Hispanic world. The other day I was handed a flyer; the man is in Madrid recruiting people for his courses on “Psychomagic”, a dubious school of psychotherapy of his own creation. In his Web page the guy has the nerve of saying that only him, his son Cristobal Sol, and his wife Mariana Costa can work as “psychomagicians” since it is an “extremely dangerous therapy, even if it comprises some humorous and surreal traits”.
In order to spread some happiness, I would like to quote a piece of advice from the Agony Aunt column that Jodorowsky keeps in his site. A woman of slightly befuddled prose complaints of swollen legs and related anxiety. Mr. Jodorowsky healing piece of advice follows:
“Get yourself seven kilograms of earth, dug out from a field in the town where you were brought up. Every night, for forty nights, sink your feet in that earth. At the same time, read fairy tales”. Dangerous and humorous (and somehow surreal) indeed.
Alas, another charismatic and talented person who is making money out of people's naivety.
Sorry because this post is not about comics, but about a great artist gone astray.

Cyril Tourneur
10-07-2010, 01:37 PM
I'm not sure if you can classify it as a graphic novel, but for a while now I'm immensely enjoying Marvel's The Savage Sword of Conan (you can download the issues from the 70s easily on the net)
Savage Sword of Conan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ive seen that Dark Horse has come up with a colored TPB which is surely a 'must buy' for me in the future:

Amazon.com: The Savage Sword of Conan, Vol. 1 (v. 1) (9781593078386): Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Buscema: Books

Jonathan Dread
10-08-2010, 12:16 PM
I'm a big fan of the HellBoy series and particularly Mike Mignola's art work.
There are some superb examples of the art work in Cyril Tourneur's post on Mike Mignola:

Mike Mignola - THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK (http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=2694)

One graphic novel series which I picked off the library shelf, almost at random, and thoroughly enjoyed was Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra published by Vertigo .
I found myself really drawn into the series from the start. Without wanting to give away anything, it provides a novel take on the theme of society plunging into chaos, but manages it in quite a tongue in cheek way. Lots of humour, but also raises some thought-provoking ideas on what would happen if there really was only one man on earth. Not necessarily how a teenage boy would imagine it might be :D

Richard Corben - basically anything by, but his adaptation of Hodgson's The House on the Borderlands is a good recent title.

Have read the House on the Borderlands adaptation and loved it!


10-08-2010, 03:50 PM
One graphic novel series which I picked off the library shelf, almost at random, and thoroughly enjoyed was Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra published by Vertigo .
I found myself really drawn into the series from the start. Without wanting to give away anything, it provides a novel take on the theme of society plunging into chaos, but manages it in quite a tongue in cheek way. Lots of humour, but also raises some thought-provoking ideas on what would happen if there really was only one man on earth. Not necessarily how a teenage boy would imagine it might be :D

One thing that surprised me, though, was that it seemed like only the good-looking females survived. Did the unexplained phenomenon wipe out every non-good-looking female as well?

Apart from that (or, because of that) I enjoyed The Last Man very much.

10-09-2010, 10:32 AM
I used to read The Savage Sword of Conan as a kid, as well as the comics. I still think that Barry Windsor-Smith is one of the best comic illustrators ever. One of my favorite stories is "Tower of the Elephant". And a little later I read the paperbacks with those awesome Frazetta covers. This is the first Conan comic that I ever read. I got it for my birthday.


The last graphic novel that I read was also based on a Robert E. Howard story. I got it from the library. Mignola did the cover. I forget who did the writing and the interior art, etc., but it is all fantastic. Even the coloring is first rate. Here it is:


I also have a nice hardcover copy of the Kafka/Crumb book. I love it. That book is like a dream come true for me, as I am a big fan of both of their work. Highest recommendation.

10-10-2010, 06:24 PM
Before Ligotti's writing lured me into the joys of weird fiction, I was a comic book maniac. MY favorite publisher of all is probably Fantagraphics, whose sole duty is not only the preservation of American comics' artistic legacy, but also to find work that carries on in the tradition of Crumb & Co.'s comix.

Michael Kupperman tops my list of favorite cartoonists. His Tales Designed To Thrizzle is a high-minded cavalcade of surreal nonsense:


Johnny Ryan has created a series for Fantagraphics called Prison Pit which fuses his trademark ultra-scatological humor, sci-fi, horror, and homages to pro wrestling and Kentaro Miura's Berserk:


Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse is hilarious too. It's written and drawn by Ben Templesmith, who also provided the art for the comic book adaptation of "Dream of a Mannikin". A witch, a robot, and demon worm who burrows into the brains of corpses get drunk and occasionally solve supernatural, potentially apocalyptic mysteries.


Cyril Tourneur
11-04-2010, 03:02 PM
this is an excellent short online comic (Thanks Matt)


Robin Davies
11-04-2010, 03:49 PM
Is anyone else a fan of Chris Reynolds' haunting and enigmatic Mauretania Comics? I collected most of the original comics several years ago (though I'm still missing the first three issues) but several of the strips are available in book form:

11-06-2010, 12:51 AM
beakripped mentioned Charles Burns' epic Black Hole series. This is Burns' most ambitious project so far. You can get the comic books in which the series was first published or the hardback compilation. I recommend the comic books since the hardback compilation doesn't contain the awesome color covers. Here's a few examples:




There's a lot of stuff packed into this series including teenage insecurities and cruelty in 1970s era Seattle, alienation, drugs, sex, a mysterious STD that causes strange physical mutations in its victims ranging from relatively minor anomalies to hideously grotesque reworkings of the flesh, compassion, unrequited love, mystic visions of surrealistic transcendent gloom and horror, torture, murder, and a kind of ambiguous salvation.

Another enjoyable creation of Burns are his El Borbah tales, which are collected in the El Borbah hardback (known as Hard-Boiled Defective Stories in an earlier edition):

El Borbah is a tough-as-nails pot-bellied private dick sporting a Mexican wrestler's get up. He cracks heads almost as often as he cracks wise. These stories are crawling with oddball characters and all manner of high weirdness. Highly recommended!

Mr Loligo
11-02-2011, 09:12 AM
American Vampire:


Vertigo | Graphic Novels (http://www.dccomics.com/vertigo/graphic_novels/?gn=15268)

I've only read volume 1, which collects issues 1-5. Many more have since been produced.
I'm not especially a fan of vampire stories, but I did thoroughly enjoy reading this and intend to continue reading them. Not least because it restores the image of vampires being dark and malevolent creatures.
A reputation which has been tarnished recently with all this "Twilight" business *curls lip in a sneer*

Quick summary from Vertigo website -

From writers Scott Snyder and Stephen King, AMERICAN VAMPIRE introduces a new strain of vampire – a more vicious species – and traces the creatures' bloodline through decades of American history.

This first hardcover volume of the critically acclaimed series collects issues #1-5 and follows two stories: one written by Snyder and one written by King, both with art by future superstar Rafael Albuquerque. Snyder's tale follows Pearl, a young woman living in 1920s Los Angeles, who is brutally turned into a vampire and sets out on a path of righteous revenge against the European monsters who tortured and abused her.

And in King's story set in the days of America's Wild West, readers learn the origin of Skinner Sweet, the original American vampire – a stronger, faster creature than any vampire ever seen before.

11-02-2011, 10:50 AM
I second the reccomendation for American Vampire. I've read volumes 1 and 2, covering things from the Old West to the great depression. Vol. 3, covering WWII and forward, comes out in February. my favorite comic of late is Hack/Slash: Hack/Slash - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hack/Slash) Cassie Hack's mom was a serial killer who came back to life after being gunned down by cops. Cassie single-handedly stopped her after she came back, and has been hunting undead serial killers since. There've been crossovers with Evil Ernie, Child's Play (cassie vs Chucky), and Archie Comics, as well as a number of Lovecraftian elements. I like it.

04-29-2014, 09:24 AM
this is an excellent short online comic (Thanks Matt)


A great short story, also found this more recent one.

OUT OF SKIN Part I (http://www.emcarroll.com/comics/skin/)

Wonderfully unsettling.

04-29-2014, 02:06 PM
City of Glass by Paul Auster and David Mazzucchelli:


Speaking Mute
04-30-2014, 02:30 AM
One of the best graphic novels I've ever come across...

Luna Park: Kevin Baker, Danijel Zezelj: 9781401215842: Amazon.com: Books

...something of a spoiler, but it is actually a work of Weird Fiction/Cosmic Horror.

04-30-2014, 06:47 AM
I have recently watched movies adapted from these graphic novels so I decide to read them and both were pretty good but very different from the movies.

SNOWPIERCER VOL. 1: THE ESCAPE : Very good piece of dark post-apocalyptic science-fiction, pessimistic and bleak... Artwork is great it totally matches tone of the story.
Its way better that film, which is still solid effort.

SNOWPIERCER VOL. 1: THE ESCAPE: Jacques Lob, Jean-Marc Rochette: 9781782761334: Amazon.com: Books

Blue Is the Warmest Color : Very simple and straightforward story about love, I was surprised to find out how much it differ from the film which in this case is way more complex and mature - one of the best movies in recent years about theme that has been so drained and exhausted - love.

Blue Is the Warmest Color: Julie Maroh: 9781551525143: Amazon.com: Books

05-02-2014, 01:05 PM
That reminds me, I need to reread City of Glass. I also love Mazzuchelli's work on Batman: Year One and Daredevil: Born Again.