And Now For Something Completely Serious: Biographical Comics

Baby's in BlackLately, I’ve been wanting to branch out from my superhero reads into something a little more serious.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some super serious superheroes out there (my fave right now – Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads’s run on the Punisher, but I digress), but for the sake of my family and friends, I thought I would branch out and read some brand new nonfiction comics so that I could add more to the conversation than just “Did you know that the Punisher has a coyote now?”  Lucky for me and other interested readers, nonfiction comics have just been getting better and better.

In fact, there are so many for me to choose from, it was hard for me to get it down to my top 5 for this post, so I narrowed my search to just books of a personal interest and biographical stories.  For fans of true crime, professional wrestling or The Beatles, there’s something on this list for everyone.  I hope to open it up to a broader nonfiction list later on, since I found so many great reads these past few weeks that will appeal to readers who prefer the true as opposed to the fiction.  And, trust me, I was trying to think of any way possible to get something in about Batman in this, my list of favorite biographical comics, but, alas, I could not.  Oh, well.  We’ll get back to Batty in the weeks to come.

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf:  Okay, so this book isn’t exactly brand new, as I had promised in that opening, but this is seriously my favorite nonfiction comic of recent years, so that’s how it goes.  A perfect book for older teens and adult readers interested in true crime and history, My Friend Dahmer brings readers the story of the early life of Jeffrey Dahmer, the horrific serial killer.  Derf grew up with and went to Middle & High School with Jeffrey in the 1970s.  And, this book is neither sensationalistic nor opportunistic.  It’s a story of sadness – Derf, in his narration, often wonders what, if anything, could have been done that would have prevented what happened.  The black and white line drawings that Derf provides gives readers some distance from the subject matter, and his research is meticulous and documented in the bibliography at the end.  (a 2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens selection) Continue reading And Now For Something Completely Serious: Biographical Comics

Awesome Superhero Ladies (…and some villains, too!)

photo by flickr user Andy Wetherill
photo by flickr user Andy Wetherill

Are you feeling kind of down in the dumps?  Not feeling like your normal, awesome, powerful self?  I know I’m not – this time of the year with night starting when it should still be day, I just don’t feel like I could confidently save the world, fight crime or even cause a little mischief to keep that pesky Batman on his toes.  What we need this time of the year are books that show us someone who’s willing to put in the long hours, patrolling the streets – someone who’s tough, smart, feisty – someone we can count on and look up to during those long dark nights.  Lucky for us fatigued readers of the world, there are a multitude of awesome comics that feature some seriously awesome superheroes (and villains) that will wake up your senses and inspire you.  How could you read these stories of some serious kick-butt action and not want to get back to be all that you can be in this hectic dark and cold winter season.  Let’s start with the ladies!  And don’t worry, gents…I’ll get back to you in a future post!

Wonder Woman:  Blood by Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang:  If you haven’t read Wonder Woman in a while, now’s the time to revisit the warrior princess, Diana.  With the reboot of DC’s entire universe, readers can start fresh with this first volume of Wonder Woman’s adventures on Earth and beyond.  When all the Gods of Olympus, and I mean everybody – Apollo, Hera, Hermes and more – set their sights on a child born to a mortal, Wonder Woman’s wondering, what’s up?  She needs to find out why this child has attracted so much attention while keeping the Gods at bay, and oh, yeah – there’s a three headed dog and some weird, huge octopus creature that she has to fight to keep the baby safe.  Plus, the big secret reveal at the end will get you wondering what other secrets the Gods are keeping.  (a 2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens selection) Continue reading Awesome Superhero Ladies (…and some villains, too!)