#T5W: Favorite Non-Written Novels

top5

Slightly awkward title, so let me explain. Basically the meaning behind that is anything that’s not a conventional novel. So graphic novels, manga, audiobooks, other ways of enjoying a story besides reading black text on a white page. I don’t really listen to audiobooks, so I think I’m going to go full comics here. So let’s do this thing.

5. Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire. Lots of readers have recommended this one, so allow me to simply reiterate what you may have already heard. This is an apocalyptic tale about a disease that leaves one generation dying off and the next having to find their own way. If they can survive the onslaught of people who want to take their lives. It’s dark and beautiful with a gut-wrenching story to tell. Even now when I think of it, I feel this tightening in my chest. Very powerful stuff.

4. Uzumaki by Junji Ito. I mention him a lot. And by extension I mention this series a lot. It’s the story of a Japanese island that becomes cursed by spirals. It’s horrifying, beautiful, awful, and even funny at times. The story escalates into pure chaos, and the ending is so gripping and sad but also strangely lovely. I love Junji Ito, and if you want to find a place to start with him, this is the perfect one.

3. Bone by Jeff Smith. This series is so unlike any other thing you’ll ever encounter. It starts out funny and for a fairly young audience. Then over time it gets more and more epic, until by the end it’s bordering on adult fantasy. And yet there’s never a time when I’d say it was boring or childish or that the transition doesn’t make sense, because strangely it does. It feels like it’s about growing up, facing the things you would’ve run from as a child, taking on responsibility. It’s one of my favorite series ever, and it warms my heart still to think of it.

2. Black Hole by Charles Burns. This is the gorgeously and grotesquely told tale of a group of teens in the 70s who all start passing around this STD that gives you physical mutations. It’s all about teen angst, feeling like you don’t belong, and it’s just so beautiful. The artwork stuns me. I don’t know how Burns manages to make such perfect lines. I cannot recommend this highly enough, as it was a truly mind-blowing experience.

1. Watchmen by Alan Moore. When I get started talking about this graphic novel, there is no shutting me up for hours. It’s so deep. The characters feel so real. It’s raw. It’s a total deconstruction of the superhero genre. It’s political and ideological. The artwork has so much detail that you’ll keep noticing more patterns and nuances each time you look through it. It’s my favorite graphic novel of all time, easily.

Thank you for reading, and as always, happy geeking!

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