Comics (and now graphic novels) aren’t quite what they used to be. While the superhero genre continues to evolve, a comics reader today can find works on just about anything. World Cultures? Try Amir and Kahlil’s Zahra’s Paradise. Fantastic worlds and incredible characters? See The Batman Files by Matthew Manning. Modern Classics and great artists? How about Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles or The Art of Joe Kubert. If you’re looking for a graphic work for the comic book lover in your life, just take a look at our list of recent comics works.
The Art of Joe Kubert by Bill Schelly and Joe Kubert, Fantagraphics Books, $39.99
The great war artist’s entire history is surveyed in spectacular fashion, along with critical commentary by Schelly.
The Complete Record Cover Collection by R. Crumb, W. W. Norton & Company, $27.95
A long-time fan of the blues and a musician himself, Crumb drew hundreds of record covers for artists ranging from Janis Joplin to long-forgotten blues masters.
Comics Strip Gems
Miss Fury by Tarpé Mills, edited by Trina Robbins, IDW Publishing, $49.99
The collected Sunday comic strips of Miss Fury, the first female superheroine comic strip (it ran from 1941 to 1952) and the only one of that period drawn by a woman.
Pogo: The Complete Daily & Sunday Comic Strips, Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly, Fantagraphics, $39.99
The whimsical, wise adventures of the residents of the Okeefenokee swamp are collected in a deluxe edition for the first time.
Forgotten Fantasy: Sunday Comics 1900-1915, edited by Peter Maresca, Sunday Press, $125.00
This book is big enough to serve as a coffee table, offering up the baroque stylings of long-forgotten early fantasy comic strips.
Bubbles & Gondola
by Renaud Dillies, NBM Publishing, $16.99
This French children’s work is the story of Charlie the Mouse, an author who is blocked and then rescued from his dilemma by a little bird that drags him out into the world.
The Batman Files by Matthew K. Manning,
Andrews McMeel Publishing, $100
This mammoth and detailed facsimile “scrapbook” purports to be the property of Bruce Wayne and offers handwritten notes, photos and Gotham news clips about the origin and activities of “the Batman,” his allies and his many enemies.
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope
by Morgan Spurlock, DK, $24.99
A photo-documentary of cosplaying fans and comics creators at the annual comics and pop culture fanfest in San Diego that is also a tie-in to a film documentary of Comic-Con also by Spurlock.
Elephantmen Volume 04: Questionable Things
by Richard Starkings and Various artists, Image, $34.95
Set in the future, this hardcover sci-fi epic is the story of Hip Flask and Ebony Hide, Elephantmen—human/animal hybrids, originally genetically engineered to be super soldiers—now rehabilitated and working as very unusual crime scene investigators.
Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes:
The Authorized Adaptation by Ray Bradbury and Roy Wimberly, Hill and Wang, $30
Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles: The Authorized Adaptation by Ray Bradbury and Dennis Calero, Hill and Wang, $30
Two of Bradbury’s greatest works—one a seminal tale of horror, the other a story of the science-fiction frontier—have been adapted for comics with sharp artistic interpretations.
The Kite Runner Graphic Novel
by Khaled Hosseini, illustrated by Fabio Celoni and Mirka Andolfo, Riverhead Trade, $19.
The beloved classic is adapted into a graphic novel, with a story of memory and loyalty in the face of war.
We3 Deluxe Edition by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, Vertigo, $24.99
Now with added pages, Morrison’s story of loving pets turned into killing machines by an experimental government program is as shocking and heart-breaking as ever.
Big Questions by Anders Nilsen, Drawn and Quarterly, $69.95
An unexploded bomb leads to questions, as a flock of birds deals with all the greatest unsolved mysteries of life in Nilsen’s ethereal 658-page magnum opus allegory.
Adventures from China: Monkey King Volume 1, by Wei Dong Chen, JR Comics, $9.99
A manhua (Chinese comics) adaptation of the epic 16th century Chinese novel about Sun Wu Kong, the powerful monkey King, born from stone on Spring Mountain, who rebels against the gods.
Lucille by Ludovic Debeurme,
Top Shelf, $29.95
Anorexia and alcoholism color the lives of two awkward and troubled teenagers who take off together across Europe in this touching love story.
Vietnamerica:A Family’s Journey
by GB Tran, Villard, $30
In this graphic memoir, U.S.-born Tran visits Vietnam to attend the funeral of his grandfather, who fought for North Vietnam, and discovers the unspoken history of his immigrant parents.
Zahra’s Paradise by Amir and Kahlil, First Second, $19.99
First launched as a serialized Web comic by anonymous Iranian activist creators, this book tells the story of a missing Iranian activist and the efforts of his mother and his blogger-brother to find him in a repressive political system.
Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land, edited by Paul Buhle and Harvey Pekar, Abrams ComicArts, $29.95
Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle edit an anthology of stories by a host of writers and artists tracing the influence of Yiddish in American culture.