My Secret Affair with Graphic Novels

OK, so it’s no longer a secret.  I have developed a passion, an obsession, a serious addition to graphic novels.

It all started with our last Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon in October last year (and yes, we are very overdue for another, I KNOW!), and during one of the Twitter parties I started talking about graphic novels with one of the other read-a-thon’ers (and I have since forgotten who, so please shout out if it was you!!) and I admitted I’d never read a single one.

She gave me at least one recommendation, El Deafo by Cece Bell (check it out on Goodreads), which I promptly purchased and started reading the next day.  I was instantly hooked, and went off in search of other similar books – and after several disappointing Kindle versions that I couldn’t even SEE, lots of awesome sounding ones that weren’t available electronically and recovering from the heart palpatations when I saw the cost of the paper versions, I’ve now read nearly 30 graphic novels in the last 3 months.

I was reluctant to try graphic novels for a couple of reasons:

1) Lack of substance – I mean, if there is less text and dialogue and you can read one in an hour, is it impactful, satisfying, emotional, captivating?  Well, yes – 30 Days of Night scared the crap out of me, the first The Walking Dead compendium had me addicted and gasping out loud, and Matthew Inman’s books had me giggling and smiling constantly.

2) Connected to the first point, but DUDE graphic novels are pricey – The Walking Dead compendiums are 30 GBP/36 Dollars apiece – I could buy 8 to 10 books for that price.  It does make finding good ones a bit of a crap-shoot – The Walking Dead I believe ARE worth the money, but several others I felt rather cheated by.

3) Graphic novels helped me achieve my reading goal for 2014, but when I read three or four in a day, does it ACTUALLY count?  This point I still struggle with a little – I feel like I’m cheating slightly by reading books with pictures rather than pages completely full of text.

Never tried graphic novels before, or tried and didn’t really click?  As a newbie myself, I’ve got some pointers:

– GET RECOMMENDATIONS – seriously, there are people out there who know their shit when it comes to graphic novels and they will point you in the right direction.

– If you are buying Kindle versions, for the sake of your sanity, and so you don’t get banned by Amazon for repeatedly returning items for refund (personally, I don’t know if this is a thing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it really was), download the sample first.  Sadly, some of the samples don’t actually give you anything but the introduction/acknowledgement pages and that’s pretty much useless, but try and see if they a) work on your device and b) the illustration style doesn’t completely piss you off.

– Try the non-fiction ones – there are some excellent memoir graphic novels that have actually made them my favourite kind of graphic novel.  I don’t tend to read memoirs in ‘text only’ format, and it’s fun to explore a new genre in a less structured and predictable format.

And now my completely selfish reason for this post: I want need some more recommendations of Kindle compatible graphic novels as I am rapidly running out of them to read.  Give it to me! Oh, and tell me YOUR favourite graphic novel, or the reason you don’t read them, so we can harass persuade you to try one 😉

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Comments

  1. I keep thinking I might like to try reading graphic novels since they are kind of along the lines of comic books and anime movies- both of which I thought I wouldnt like but now I really do. I didnt realize they were so expensive though. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. <3 Bee
    Bee recently posted..Book Review: Firecracker

    • They are SO expensive, but especially when there is a writer and illustrator, it’s easier to understand why. In the few hard-copy GN’s I have, they are also very high quality paper, covers etc, so I get it. It’s just a shame it’s so offputting to people!

  2. I would love to get into graphic novels, but like you said, it’s hard to know where to start. I did read one loved (Through the Woods) but I feel like there aren’t many like that one. But after reading this post I’m anxious to find another one I can really love!
    Tammy recently posted..There’s a Fruit Bat in my Pompadour: GET IN TROUBLE: STORIES by Kelly Link – Review

    • I haven’t read Through the Woods, but I do own it, so I’ll have to get to that one asap! It can be really overwhelming to know where to start -and probably why I was so hestitant for so long. Hopefully some of the recommendations in the comments will help you!

  3. Knowing where to start is all dependent on what you’re interested in. It’s like asking where should I start when reading fiction 🙂 Award winners are always a great entry point. THIS ONE SUMMER and EL DEAFO just won Caldecott and Newberry honors. Raina Tegelmeier’s SISTERS is burning up the indy best seller charts and Scott McCloud, the man who literally wrote the book on UNDERSTANDING COMICS has a new book out called THE SCULPTOR. If you’re not in to superheroes the blog “No Flying, No Tights” has some great recommendations for new graphic novel readers.

    • Haha so true! I’ve read all of Raina Tegelmeier’s GNs, but you’ve already given me some great ideas AND I’m off right now to check out that blog, cheers!!

  4. Holly Letson says:

    I read a lot of mangas (which are Japanese GNs that are {usually} read from R-to-L). I highly recommend the *Sailor Moon* (now called *Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon*) manga series. As for my tastes, I read alot of shoujo (romance) and mahou shoujo (magical girls) mangas, but do read some shounen (aimed at boys, usually more action-packed) series as well. I don’t really read much in the genre of non-fiction, when it comes to mangas/GNs.

    I can recommend you some good mangakas (manga authors) to try series from, but my tastes differ from yours, so I don’t know if you will like these. Naoko Takeuchi (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/117369.Naoko_Takeuchi), Rumiko Takahashi (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12948.Rumiko_Takahashi), Mayu Shinjo (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17047.Mayu_Shinjo), Yuu Watase (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/732829.Yuu_Watase), Wataru Yoshizumi (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/151717.Wataru_Yoshizumi), Io Sakisaka (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5440457.Io_Sakisaka), and Kayono (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1425785.Kayono). And, a couple good manhwa (Korean manga/GN, which are read L-to-R like American GNs) authors are: Mi-Ri Hwang (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2875851.Mi_Ri_Hwang) and Yu-Rang Han (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5046369.Yu_Rang_Han).

    Another thing, most fans will refer to these authors as last name first, as it is custom to do in their home countries. As for shounen, try the *Big 4* (Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, and Fairy Tail) first, as you will probably like one of them. Also, if you like a certain anime series, you can usually find a manga series for it, as it was usually based on one. (Some are based on games, though, and have no manga series.)

    As for sources to get mangas/GNs cheaper, I highly recommend you check the local library in your area. Some have quire a few, and library cards are free. Another source, since you have a blog, is Edelweiss. VIZ Media has review copies on there that they would gladly let you read, in exchange for an honest review. I think there are a few on NetGalley as well. If you like reading mangas by the chapter, G2Comix has lots of series on Google Play Books, and you can usually get the first chapter (called “Episode 1”) for FREE for each of these. Also, Amazon has a “Comics & Graphic Novels” section, where you can go to see the “Top 100 FREE”, and choose the ones you want.

    If you’d like to know more about what I read, my 2015 GR Challenge can be found @ https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/1802197 , and my “mangas” shelf can be found @https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/9861836-holly-letson?shelf=mangas

  5. I would actually love to get some of your recommendations for graphic novels! I love the Saga series and am looking for a new series to read. What are some of your favorites?
    Lee recently posted..Two Blogs and a Book – Review – POISON PROMISE by Jennifer Estep

  6. I too fell in love with graphic novels… and then I discovered manga, and now I’m in love with both! I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, but Humble Bundle has these amazing DRM-free book bundles, and often they have a huge bunch of graphic novels for between $1 and $15. In the last bundle, I got the first Walking Dead compendium and the first three Saga volumes for $15. Some I’ve really enjoyed so far are Lumberjanes, Ms. Marvel, Chew, Scott Pilgrim, Death Note, and Fullmetal Alchemist (the last two are manga)
    Celine recently posted..The Sunday Post #17

  7. I just recently discovered – like two days ago – that I may now love graphic novels. I read the graphic novel memoir, Sisters by Raina Telgemeier. I love how even though there isn’t as much text, it was still able to convey emotion and it made me laugh. I definitely plan on reading more, although if they’re that expensive, sadly it may have to wait.

  8. I feel your pain – they can be pricey and hard to find, but oh so good. I love superhero stuff too so of course like graphic novels with that theme. I also find the electronic format with reading that stuff rather buggy.

    What’s really bad is getting approved for one from netgalley and having to read it on that horrible Adobe digital software that removes it after a period of time. One time I got a true blood one but it was so laggy I abandoned it after five pages. Killed the reading experience of it for me.

    I’ve always wanted the walking dead ones but alas… 🙁
    Erin @ Paperbackstash recently posted..BOOK TAG: Would You Rather…?

  9. Maybe one of these days I’ll give a graphic novel a go…but at that price point I don’t see a reason to get over my pre-conceived notion that they aren’t for me

  10. I actually have never tried reading graphic novels on my kindle. I usually buy the paper copies or request a PDF copy for review on netgalley, though I honest prefer to read in the individual issues as they come out. There are so many amazing ones out there, and even though I read 2 or 3 a month on the regular I still have so many to try out.
    Dark Horse, IDW, and Oni Press on Netgalley are very open to reviewers requesting their titles, and I’ve never had too much of an issue with them rejecting me. Vertigo is hit and miss, and DC is pretty much impossible.
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas recently posted..Review: Dead Spots by Rhiannon Frater

  11. Have you not wanted to try any of the comics specific apps like comixology or sequential? Kindle is notoriously bad for GNs 🙁 🙁

    Some really gripping ones are Habibi by Craig Thompson. Blacksad, The Nao of Brown, Lumberjanes, Wayward, Mastr Keaton and Lighter Than My Shadow.

    😀 YEAHHH Comics!

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