Well, the Holidays are breathing down our necks again. So I thought I'd perform a Public Service and make a few gift suggestions of the graphic narrative kind. These books will be gladly accepted by anyone interested in comic books and graphic novels and good, clear stotytelling.
First up is "Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1" edited by Blake Bell and designed by Adam Grano. It is in my opinion one of the most beautiful reprint books I've ever read. This first volume starts off with Mr. Ditko's very first comic book stories, with crisp clear reproductions on every page of every story.
Next up is David Mazzuchelli's graphic novel "Asterios Polyp". Every visual aspect in this book is as abstract as I've ever seen in a graphic novel, quite different from any previous work I've ever seen by Mr. Mazzuchelli as well. But it reads in a beautifully flowing way. Graphic language is tailored to each individual character's motivations and morphs along to compliment the content and setting of every scene.
My next suggestion is Darwyn Cooke's "Parker" pot-boiler. A gritty crime story that is served up in elegant illustrations and biting prose. This is an adaptation of novelist Richard Stark's early '60s novel "The Hunter". If you're familiar with Mr. Cooke's comic book and graphic novel work you already have an idea of what you're in for. If you've never seen his work before this is a perfect book to be initiated with.
We end with what I think is the greatest collection of comic book stories aimed at children that you'll ever find in one place. "The Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics" compiled by Art Spiegelman & Francoise Mouly is an amazing collection of stories. It's an all-ages assortment that entertains on many levels. Don't miss it.