My Introduction to Graphic Novels- A Wrap Up

So I mentioned wayyy back in my resolutions for 2017 post that I wanted to try graphic novels this year. Over the course of the last couple of months, I’ve made good on that promise and *finally* checked out some graphic novels! And cos this was such a unique experience for me, I thought it would be fun to share what I thought of them in One Big Ol’ Wrap Up Post!! Many of these were recommended by the lovely Lashaan over @Bookidote– thank you so much for your suggestions!

Volume 1 Days Gone ByeThe Walking Dead– Volume 1- So this was my first experience of a graphic novel and I really enjoyed it. I picked it up on a whim, because I’d seen the show and thought it’d be fun to read. And though I’ve seen a fair amount of the TV show, I ended up getting a lot more out of it than I expected. I loved the design and how action packed it was. Maybe it was the familiarity of the story, but I honestly felt like I did connect with the characters in this. I’ve always liked the deep, dark questions this story asks, so I can happily say this was an excellent way to get into graphic novels and the start of a b-e-a-utiful friendship…

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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V_for_vendettaxV For Vendetta– I can see the cult-like appeal of this one for sure. I honestly loved the artwork. It was denser than the Walking Dead, but it was so cleverly done and I loved the artistic style of it. In terms of characters, I liked the enigmatic and mysterious V (who doesn’t?) but did find it harder to connect with Evey, though I liked how she grew as a character over the course of the story, especially after she was freed from her internal “cage”. As for the story… well, I won’t ruin anything here- I just think it’s fantastic how it captures the feel of an oppressive government.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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sandman volume 1The Sandman– Volumes 1-4- personally, I found this style a bit more surreal and therefore harder for me to follow. And there were other downsides- for instance, in the first volume, for instance, I did find the build-up slow, but that it picked up when the Sandman was released. Plus while very imaginative, it could be a little confusing story-wise at times. Overall, though, I did find the narratives always came together by the end. Some of the volumes had more meat on them than others- but ultimately I enjoyed every single on I read. I also have to say I started with just one volume on this wrap up, but it was so addictive that I couldn’t stop reading this series- I’m certain I’ll keep on with it!!

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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Watchmen_HCWatchmen– I can see some reasons why this is super popular. In particular, I’d say the characterisation is interesting- unfortunately I just didn’t connect with anyone in the story. In fact there wasn’t very much I connected with at all. I don’t know what it was about it- maybe my not being of the comicbook world or finding the illustrations less exciting than the other books on this list, but I’d definitely say, this one wasn’t for me.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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maus completeThe Complete Maus– this was UNBELIEVABLE! I can easily say this was my favourite. The style was incredible, it was phenomenally moving and I loved the interaction between the characters. I liked how it flicked through the timeline, back and forth from the Holocaust to the present day. That technique together with not shying away from anything- not what happened or who is father was- gave this graphic novel its sense of realness and humanised Art Spiegelman’s father. What was incredible about this book was that it not only told the story of those that died and those that survived, but also that of how child of a survivor is affected. It is a story of those left behind- the scope of the tale reaching beyond death, both to the people in the narrative and his father who has died by the time of the second volume. The cartoonist continuing to connect with his father through the tapes of their interviews is one of the more beautiful aspects of this book. Whether you are a fan or graphic novels or not, I can really recommend this book.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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And that’s a WRAP! I hope you enjoyed that!! Do you read graphic novels? Which are your favourites? I’d love more suggestions on what to try next!

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62 thoughts on “My Introduction to Graphic Novels- A Wrap Up

  1. lostartofreadingblog says:

    I have been wanting to try Maus and V for Vendetta, I’m glad to see you liked them. I read graphic novels from time to time, but I’m still getting into them. I picked up watchmen, but didn’t like it so I put it down, now I’m glad I didn’t continue.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Krysta says:

    I didn’t really connect with the characters in Watchmen, either, and it’s blatantly obvious that they shoehorned in one female character for the sake of it, but had no clue what to do with her or how to write her convincingly. It’s interesting to see how superhero tropes are being played with and there’s a lot in the work to engage with intellectually, but I wasn’t engaged emotionally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ah I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. I completely get what you mean!! She seemed a bit superfluous and I couldn’t connect to her (or any of them). Yeah, I got that, but as you said, I didn’t emotionally connect with any of the characters enough to care (and I’ve only a basic knowledge of superhero tropes, cos I’m not very immersed in the genre- which didn’t help either)

      Like

      • Krysta says:

        I think someone told me the company made Moore add her in? To appeal to the women readers? I don’t have a source for that, but I could easily believe it based on how superfluous she seems. Oh, look! A woman superhero. She, uh..she uh…she’s someone’s romantic partner!

        I don’t much about superheroes, but I guess at the time the grittiness was kind of new. As was the idea of washed-up and aging superheroes. I also like that they don’t have real super powers (aside from Dr. Manhattan) and that it’s exploring what kinds of people would put on a funny outfit and engage in vigilantism. Apparently dysfunctional people, according to the story. Not what we usually think of when we think of superheroes!

        Liked by 1 person

        • theorangutanlibrarian says:

          hehehe oh dear whenever something is done for an “appeal to” reason, it usually ends up being lousy (or maybe that’s just me 😉 ) Yeah I did like that too- and I liked that they were all slightly dysfunctional- it’s the kind of combo that I usually like- don’t know why I couldn’t connect to it!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Kat Impossible says:

    Lashaan has great taste in graphic novels and I am so happy to see you enjoyed most of what you read! I started digging more into that genre (can you call it a genre? Not really … Type of storytelling? Comic-world? HALP!) this year as well, mostly because I became friends with the owner of a comic book store. My wallet is not happy with me.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    I truly need to get back into The Sandman. I really felt that the first volume was full of promise. Maybe after I complete Low 🙂 I am also glad to see your thoughts on TWD as someone who has also watched the show. I never miss an episode and have been on the fence as to whether I should start the GN series right now or wait! V for Vendetta and Maus are both on my TBR 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you!! I really liked it!! Yeah- it was pretty confusing- I eventually felt like it settled down and started to make sense once he went on that quest thingy (ughh I don’t think *I’m making sense now 😉 ) But I’m glad I’m not the only one that got muddled by it!!

      Like

  5. Sarah says:

    I honestly have to admit I’ve read a pretty poor variety of graphic novels, but I’m currently reading Maus right now (it’s actually for a school WWII project) and I forgot to bring it home for over the weekend and I’m actually DYING WITHOUT IT! I can’t wait to read more, it’s so so amazing!! 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nathan says:

    I enjoyed Watchmen but I think everything it tried to do is no longer fresh. I am just not sure it has held up and my last attempt to reread it slowed until it just stopped. On the other hand I LOVE Sandman. It is a bit surreal at times, and yet at others completely grounded. It can differ so much issue to issue and that is what I loved.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

    Ohhh, you’re too kind for the shout-out!! I’m actually pretty happy that your overall experience with graphic novels so far has been pretty good. I had 50-50 feeling for Watchmen as its popularity might have also been a downside for a lot of people who expect A LOT from it, but I can definitely understand that not being able to connect with the characters made the experience a lot heavier. I was mostly impressed by the ideas conveyed though. 😛 But I’m glad that Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta turned out to be much more impressive for you!! V is wayyyy too charismatic and his moments are so memorable too! Maus is one of those graphic novels that I have ALWAYS wanted to purchase and read but something always seems to make me wait longer. It’s as if I don’t want to check it off my TBR and not feel that excitement of being able to read it for the FIRST time, you know? LOL But man, I think I’m going to have fight through that and read it before 2018. 😛 What do you plan on checking out next? 😀 Or is break time from comics until you have the perfect list to pummel through in the future? 🙂

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      You’re very welcome!! I distinctly remembered you recommending these- and they were such helpful suggestions I just had to create a GR list for them 🙂 (I should really have named it in your honour too 😉 ) Ah I can understand that- I did really like the ideas, but for me, if I don’t connect, I just switch off to them unfortunately :/ Yeah it really did- I LOVED V!!! He was so enigmatic and cool!! I also felt like he was such a complex character, that it would actually be fun to hang out with him too. Ahh I understand that- I “save” books too- thinking there will be the perfect opportunity for it and I really want to savour the moment! But yeah, it is amazing- so go read it!! At the moment I’m trying to plough through some other books I own (you know guilt read everything I bought recently and haven’t read), but I have a few in mind (Nimona, Through the Woods and Wicked + Divine) plus any others that *happen* to cross my path 😉 Any other recommendations?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

        I’d actually want to see where you stand regarding Saga by Brian K. Vaughan. It’s very “special” and I’m sure you’ve heard the title being raved about by countless number of people out here too! I’d also suggest Y: The Last Man only IF the premise intrigues you hahahha The whole Fables series is also something quite fun too! Image Comics (the company) usually has a lot of very intriguing series to check out nowadays too. There are also “classics” among graphics novels that are worth checking out, but I haven’t read them yet cause.. you know.. I was “save” them. 😛 Like… From Hell (by Alan Moore), Hellblazer, Preacher, Criminal (by Ed Brubaker), etc. I think you’ve got a nice list to try out for now!! 😀

        – Lashaan

        Liked by 1 person

  8. MyBookJacket says:

    I do read graphic novels. And I’ve only read one from here! I do have V for Vendetta though and I’ll probably bump that up my list. I’m glad you liked the majority of the ones you’ve read. Do check out Persepolis too if you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. LizScanlon says:

    Maus has been on my radar for years and it’s cool that you rated it so highly.
    I love the occasional GN but I don’t usually pick a lot of them up… one thing or the other makes me change my mind when potentially picking one out… hmm… some good ones on your list though that I’d want to check out.. V for Vendetta for example

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    Wow! You really knocked it out of the park with your introduction to graphic novels! It sounds like you really have made a connection with this new-to-you format for reading.

    I personally read quite a few graphic novels. I don’t see pictures/images in my head, so it’s a fun change for me to read a graphic novel and see how the artist renders the world. I tend to read more along these lines — classics of the genre and non-superhero stories.

    I completely understand where you are coming from with The Watchmen. It’s fascinating– but there isn’t a lot of character connection the reader can make. Plus, the plot is a bit convoluted. This is an interesting pair with Sandman. I think that on some levels these are very similar. But I agree, Sandman is overall a better story. ❤ you Neil Gaiman.

    I look forward to more graphic novels reviews from you in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Zezee says:

    When I saw your rating for The Watchmen 😮
    I still need to read it though, but EVERYONE says it’s awesome. I might like it too.
    You read a great batch of highly praised comics there.

    Liked by 1 person

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