Saturday, October 06, 2012

Eleven must-read graphic novels

Jimmy So is Deputy Books Editor at Newsweek/The Daily Beast.

One of his eleven must read graphic novels:
‘Barefoot Gen’ (1973-85) by Keiji Nakazawa

Comics were born in France and America, while Japan had manga, as the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction became increasingly “fun,” “pop” or “kitsch.” In the 1970s, the Japanese cartoonist Nakazawa elevated the art of manga into the realm of literature. But it took a horrific massacre to do so. On Aug. 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. Nakazawa survived the catastrophe. Almost 30 years later, he set down the story of the bombing, giving birth to the modern graphic novel of “serious subjects” as we know it, though the “novel” is really a long-running series. Japanese manga has been criticized as exaggerated, but it proved perfect for conveying the emotions in this dark episode.
Read about another entry on So's list.

Also see Mary Talbot's top ten graphic memoirsRachel Cooke's ten best graphic novelsLev Grossman's top 10 graphic novels, and Malorie Blackman's top 10 graphic novels for teenagers.

--Marshal Zeringue