As the days of summer begin to wind down and the presence of fall looms ever large on the horizon, taking advantage of vacation down time becomes priority one. But you’ve already taken that cross country road trip to visit the relatives you say? Already used the down time to make those home improvements around the house and your days are just empty hours filled with nothing to do? Well, that is why we are here to give you a few recommendations on how you can spend some time engaged with a good graphic novel that will transport you to the farthest reaches of your imagination. From capes to criminals, graphic novels offer something for every type of reader.
First up Marvel Comics offers up a crime driven melodrama from Harvey Award winning writer Ed Brubaker and Scream Award winning artist Sean Phillips called Criminal: Coward TPB Vol. 1 Fans of hard boiled/noir writing need look no further than this great entry to the first few issues of this series. Take a walk on the seedy underbelly of the underworld with the main character Leo, a man who can plan the perfect heist , but only if the risk is truly worth the reward. Written with a stylistic flourish and enhanced by charismatic art, this series delivers a gut punch with it’s gritty drama that will often have you strangely pulling for the underdog (who happens to be embroiled in criminal activity) Fans of crime fiction need look no further than this one for an engaging read.
Image Comics Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships Vol. 1 TPB is a multiple Eisner Award nominee in the categories of Best New Series, Best Continuing Series, and Best Writer/Artist and it is easy to see why. Witness this re-telling of the tale of Paris and Helen of Troy’s love story act as the spark that will ignite a war that is now legendary unfold in this prelude to tragedy. Filled with a level of such stirring emotion, it reminds readers of the humanity that lies behind historical events. History fans should check out this fictional retelling of the tragic events that led to the Trojan War. Creator Eric Shanower‘s crafting is top notch on this endeavor.
Vertigo Comics: American Vampire Volume 1 TPB collects issues #1-5 of the creative series and offers up two stories told by two celebrated storytellers. The first, most recently known for his incredible run on DC Comics Batman titles with the “Court Of Owls” story arc, is Scott Snyder. Snyder’s story tells the tale of a young woman brutally murdered by vampires in 920’s Los Angeles who comes back for revenge against the monsters who turned her into one of them. The second is created by the master of horror Stephen King and weaves a tale set against the back drop of the Wild West that introduces the first American vampire who happens to the deadliest of the species. These instances of genre bending storytelling is a lot like finding two great taste that go together and best illustrate this maxim. With art contributed by industry superstar Rafael Albuquerque, this one should find a spot into your reading queue.
Dark Horse Comics: Concrete Volume 1 Depths TPB brings to the table a different approach to the superhero genre. Whereas most “Capes” titles have heroes who are often larger than life and difficult to identify with, Concrete is of a different breed. Things From Another World beautifully captures the heart of this hero and sums him up with “Part man, part…rock? Over seven feet tall and weighing over a thousand pounds, he is known as Concrete but is in reality the mind of one Ronald Lithgow, trapped inside a shell of stone, a body that allows him to walk unaided on the ocean’s floor or survive the crush of a thousand tons of rubble in a collapsed mineshaft…but prevents him from feeling the touch of a human hand.” Created by the imagination of Paul Chadwick this series has won a total of five Eisner Awards, three Harvey Awards and earned a spot on GQ’s “The 20 Graphic Novels You Should Read” list. Richly balanced panels filled with humor, heartbreak and humanity all coalesce into a saga that showcases a hero who is more human than most.