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Favorite Graphic Literature of the Year, p.1

Politics & Prose Bookstore    |    Politics & Prose Staff    |    December 14, 2009

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?
By Fies, Brian, Fies, Brian
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE WORLD OF TOMORROW? one of the most unique and effective graphic novels I’ve ever read. Brian Fies draws himself as a kid, giddy and amazed when, with his father, he visits the World’s Fair in New York in 1939. His excitement about the future reflects the world in which he grew up. As he gets older, attitudes around him change. Issues of “Space Age Adventures,” a golden-era style comic book Fies created, are inserted throughout and make you feel like you are rummaging through old comic books. Thad Ellerbe

George Sprott: (1894-1975)
By Seth

Originally serialized in the New York Times Magazine, GEORGE SPROTT is a masterly accomplished work of literary graphic fiction. Quite simply the life and death of George Sprott - adventurer, lecturer, and T.V. personality, it provides what many timeless works of fiction do: offering the reader a fleeting glimpse of a time past, while simultaneously stricken with the incongruities of life. Filled with subtle humor, short “interviews” with old friends and acquaintances, and the clean, well-wrought panel work of Seth, George Sprott is a must read for anyone concerned with serious, literary work, be it in graphic form or not. Adam Waterreus

Aya: The Secrets Come Out: Volume Three

is the third volume of stories by writer Marguerite Abouet and illustrator Clément Oubrerie about three girlfriends in 1970s Abidjan during a short-lived, “golden era” in Ivory Coast. Aya introduced us to the friends and family of Aya, Bintou and Adjoua, caught up in teenage romances. Aya of Yop City continued the girls’ stories and solves some mysteries about paternity. Aya: The Secrets Come Out raises the possibilities of faraway Paris. Abouet’s narratives are charming, and grounded in detail: we get an insider’s view on family, class, and the tensions between city and village lifestyles. Oubrerie’s richly colored pen-and-ink drawings bring the homes, night clubs, and streets of Abidjan to life. Each book has sweet bonuses: glossaries, proverbs, interviews, recipes, and even instructions on how to tie a pagne (with and without a baby on your back). András Goldinger

The Squirrel Machine
By Groth, Gary, Rickheit, Hans, Covey, Jacob

Every few years a graphic novel comes around that is so good you have to stop reading for a while, because if you read anything else you’d only be disappointed. A few years ago this happened to me with Tony Millionaire's Billy Hazelnuts. THE SQUIRREL MACHINE is a lot like Billy Hazelnuts, but surprisingly Hans Rickheit's work leaves Millionaire in the dust. This is a masterpiece of comic fantasy. When I finished this book, I immediately returned to the introduction and read the whole book again, and again. Read this book to see what heights serial art can achieve in narrative and in the creation of worlds that exist in one character's mind. Read it if you think you can handle it, for it abandons the typical narrative structure and accomplishes its ends as only serial art of the highest quality can. This is a fine, gut-wrenching book, written and drawn by a true master. Thad Ellerbe

West Coast Blues
By Manchette, Jean-Patrick, Tardi, Jacques

This graphic adaptation of Peter Manchette’s savage noir thriller of the same name, WEST COAST BLUES is a later work by Jacques Tardi. Especially when one compares it with You Are There, the looseness in this work is apparent and this quality perfectly compliments the gritty tale, lending his art brutality and malevolence. From the two assassins' hunt for George Gerfaut to the revenge he wreaks in the end, West Coast Blues is an unflinching story, perfect for any fan of the thriller. Adam Waterreus

A Good and Decent Man
By Tyler, C.

C. Tyler’s YOU'LL NEVER KNOW: A Graphic Memoir - Book One: A Good and Decent Man is a homage to Tyler’s father and his time in World War II, about which Tyler longs to discover the hidden details. But the book is also an impressive and beautiful history of the era; Tyler creates a panorama of images that sweep across the page as she documents her father’s childhood, her parent’s engagement, and her own young life. Her pen, ink, and color transform her creative panels (at times evoking a scrapbook) into vibrant memories intertwined by her restless imagination. Adam Waterreus

Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Deluxe Edition
By Gaiman, Neil, Kubert, Andy

Neil Gaiman’s beautifully written BATMAN: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? is an ode to Batman and a capstone to the incredible events at the conclusion of Final Crisis. Bruce Wayne is dead, so what will happen to the figure known as Batman? Recounting past exploits, romances, near death experiences, and the extremely important part Batman has played in the DC universe, Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusaderis a wonderfully conducted eulogy to this iconic hero. Adam Waterreus

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
By Shanower, Eric, Young, Skottie

L. Frank Baum’s original tale finds its way to Marvel readers through the artful simplicity of Eric Shanower’s adaptation which follows Dorothy and her friends as they travel all over Oz in their search for the Wizard. The imaginative visualizations by Skottie Young are sure to appeal to young and old alike. This edition of THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ includes alternate cover designs for the book and varying ideas for character representations. Meghan Tucker

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