Graphic novels & comics we loved in 2017
Our staff share some of their favourite comics and graphic novels from the past year.
‘Like many of my colleagues at Readings, I absolutely adored Eyes Too Dry, the collaborative graphic novel from Alice Chipkin and Jessica Tavassoli. This work is so heartfelt, and I found myself revisiting various sections over the course of the year, long after I’d finished reading the book in its entirety. Beyond just being lovely, I think this is a really important book for those trying to support loved ones who are struggling with their mental health. If you’re ever in the mood to read a book that genuinely radiates feelings of empathy, love and understanding, this is the one for you.’
– Ellen Cregan, bookseller at Readings Doncaster
‘I found Tillie Walden’s debut graphic memoir, Spinning, really absorbing and moving. I was a very sporty kid and teenager, so I was drawn to reading about how figure skating gave shape and structure to, and dominated, Walden’s early life. The grind of training, the tension of group rehearsals, the nerves of exams and competitions come across beautifully in a visual format. Spinning gives a delicate sense of the balance and shifting of friendships and identity in the tween and teen years; it’s a sombre and thoughtful read.’
– Leanne Hall, bookseller at Readings Kids
‘After winning the 2015 Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell spent two years travelling around Great Britain. Part travel memoir and part diary, Travels with My Sketchbook encompasses his political and artistic encounters over this period. Including some of his most beloved children’s characters and his bitingly witty political cartoons, this book is hilarious from start to finish, or even just to dip into.
In 2010 Sarah Glidden 'tagged along’ with a small group of journalist friends from the Seattle Globalist to visit Syria, Turkey and Iraq, and Rolling Blackouts is her account of this time. Do not be fooled by Glidden’s appealing illustrative style, this book contains some extremely moving and poignant stories of the realities of people whose lives have been marked by war and violence.‘
– Julia Gorman, bookseller at Readings Carlton
'I was blown away by Emil Ferris’ brilliant debut My Favourite Thing Is Monsters, a multifaceted murder mystery set in turbulent late sixties Chicago. I can’t wait for the second volume, which is due to be published in 2018. I also really loved Boundless, a beautiful collection of stories by one of my favourite comics artists Jillian Tamaki.’
Kim Gruschow, children’s and YA buyer at Readings St Kilda
‘No other book has made me laugh more this year than Keiler Roberts’ autobiographical comic Sunburning. Roberts observes the absurdity of being the parent of a young child with a sharpness that will leave you breathless from laughing one moment, moved the next. Her depictions of her struggles with bipolar disorder, as well as her brutal and hilariously honest exchanges with her family are some of the most direct and real scenes I’ve ever read. I love her work so much.
I’m keen to get stuck into Roz Chast’s Going into Town. This is a meandering map of Chast’s hilarious emotional approach to New York – both a bird’s-eye view of the city itself and a memoir of Chast’s and her family’s experiences and advice for navigating it.
I’m also looking forward to catching up on a handful of graphic novels I’ve heard high praise for throughout the year: The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui (a poignant memoir of immigration and emotional dislocation), My Favourite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris (a deeply textured homage to mid-century horror comics and film) and Boundless by Jillian Tamaki (a witty, disorienting short-story collection about modern life).’
– Stella Charls, marketing & events coordinator_
‘Thi Bui’s illustrated memoir was a standout for me this year. The Best We Could Do is a deeply empathetic exploration of immigration and the lasting effects of displacement. I also loved Perfect Hair, a breathtaking and unsettling offering from Australian comic artist, Tommi Parrish. Parrish has been a favourite comic artist of mine for a while, and if you haven’t checked out their work before you really must. You can read a rave review of their graphic novel here.
Three other of my favourite comic artists also released new books this year. Chris Ware gifted us another incredible and multi-layered work with Monograph. Jillian Tamaki’s Boundless is a collection of genre-bending stories. You & a Bike & a Road is the excellent Eleanor Davis’s evocative, imaginative journal from a long cycling trip across America.
There were a slew of great graphic novels for tweens this year, all exploring themes of identity, friendship and growing independence. Real Friends and Awkward are both set in the classroom and tackle school politics, while Spinning is a brilliantly nuanced and powerful pick for sport-loving kids. For young people who prefer reading of other times and places – Opposite Land is a funny and surreal adventure complete with talking cabbages, and The Invisible War is a wonderfully strange historical tale about microbes.
Looking even younger – I adored Ben Clanton’s first Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea. This cute and funny story about an optimistic narwhal and sensible jellyfish is a lot of fun and perfect for beginner readers.’
– Bronte Coates, bookseller at Readings online