January 30, 2023
“Comics are for kids.” That has always been the consensus. But what about graphic novels? Are they viewed in the same way? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be in the affirmative. Basically, if it has pictures, adults are supposed to stay away.
So, if you are an adult who enjoys reading this kind of literature, you might be looked at oddly. And since many still perceive these types of books to be only about superheroes, it could be seen as somewhat understandable. After all, isn’t there a time when you are too old for Superman? I disagree—you are never too old for the Man of Steel!
Additionally, serialized narratives about characters with powers are no longer the only kind being rendered in this format. Stories that would fit seamlessly on the adult fiction and nonfiction shelves are often located in the graphic’s section. And the combination of words and pictures can transform an ordinary story into a great one. The diversity of the art found in this medium is truly breathtaking—from the familiar form of the aforementioned superhero franchises, to gorgeous watercolor, to black and white noir, all can be found in graphic novels.
It is unfortunate that so many adults will not even try a graphic novel because of the stigma; however, if you are ready to take the plunge and enter this interesting world, I have some great recommendations:
- The Stretcher Bearers by Reid and Ryan Beaman – A 16-year-old orphan finds himself on the front lines of WWI as a stretcher bearer, witnessing all the horrors that war can bring. Fortunately, he has a mentor named Graham by his side throughout. Can both of them return home alive?
- Family Ties by Eric Hobbs and Noel Tuazon – With the patriarch of an Alaskan crime family suffering dementia, his daughters attempt to take over the business. Their brother, who simply wishes to care for their father, finds himself caught in the crossfire.
- Tokyo Rose – Zero Hour by Andre R. Frattino – The true story of Iva Toguri, who became known as Tokyo Rose. Forced to host a propaganda show after being stuck in Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Toguri worked with an Australian prisoner of war to undermine the Japanese. However, that did not stop her from being prosecuted as a traitor after the war.
- Secret Life by Theo Ellsworth – The story of an unusual building where people both live and work, slowly being transformed by a creeping plant. Secret Life is a very atmospheric commentary on modern work life and the mundanity of the nine-to-five job.
- Chivalry by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran – An elderly woman finds a chalice at her local thrift store and takes it home. Not long after, a man on a horse claiming to be Sir Galahad declares the chalice to be the Holy Grail.
All of the above are a good chance to get your feet wet in the world of graphic novels. Because graphics are for grown-ups.
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