Let’s get graphic! or, how I got started with graphic novels and comics!

It’s Comics February!


Growing up all I knew of comics was the Archies. And, thanks to my Dad, a little X-Men.


Then in junior college in Singapore (junior college is kind of like the last two years of high school), some manga came into my life. My sister and I got interested in Slam Dunk, a manga about a high school basketball team. The anime version aired on TV and we bought the manga series, although it was in Chinese (I can read and write Chinese but not comfortably so this was a bit of a stretch!). My sister also adored Sailor Moon but that was just too cutesy for me.

And in between all that? I’m not sure!


But I can definitely say that it was Marjane Sartrapi’s Persepolis that pushed me toward graphic novels again. It was the first graphic memoir I ever bought for myself. It might have been sometime in 2009.

And since then my love for the genre has grown, as has the different types of graphic novels and comics available out there.

And there are many!

Here are some of my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE graphic novels. I hope you read them too!


Neil Gaiman has done some of his best work in the Sandman series. I’ve only added six of the books, they pretty much have similar styled covers. It has been five years since I’ve read them, and I hope to reread them some day!


Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? – Roz Chast (my thoughts)


Locke and Key series (Books 1 to 6) – Joe Hill

Creepy, weird, but just absolutely amazing. Not for everyone though. The Husband read the first book and said it was too macabre for him.


Strangers in Paradise (Books 1 to 6) – Terry Moore

I didn’t expect to love this one but I fell head over heels despite those horrendous covers. The friendship! The love! The bizarre former life of Katchoo!



Castle Waiting – Linda Medley (my thoughts)

Oh! Just thinking about this makes me want to borrow (or perhaps just buy myself a copy!) these books again. So darling, so charming.



But I Really Wanted to be An Anthropologist by Margaut Motin (my thoughts) tells of parenthood from the perspective of a high-heeled Parisian. It’s funny, full of swear words and even bits about shaving legs.




Another French one, this one about wine and comics! You can read more about it here

I love how you can find comics and graphic memoirs for just about anything these days.

Depression? Read Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney
Epilepsy? Read Epileptic by David B
Young love? Read Blankets by Craig Thompson
Did your father administer radiation to you as a kid? Read Stitches by David Small
Are you cibopathic? Read Chew by John Layman, Rob Guillory
Do you want to know what it’s like to bring coffee to a shivering Kate Hudson at a photoshoot? Read Relish by Lucy Knisley
Waitressed at a diner in 1970s California? Read Over Easy by Mimi Pond
Life in a weird-ass prep school for kids who all have the same birthday? Read Morning Glories and prepare yourself to be bamboozled!
Wandered what it would be like if all the men (but one) on Earth were wiped out? Read Y the Last Man

Then there’s the way that graphic novels/memoirs can take you armchair traveling. With illustrations!

The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert takes you to Afghanistan
A Game for Swallows by Zeina Abirached takes place in Lebanon
Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang brings you to China during the Boxer Rebellion
Rutu Modan’s The Property is set in Poland
March by John Robert Lewis is the story of the civil rights movement, beginning in Alabama

Guy DeLisle’s works – Guy DeLisle’s wife works for Médecins Sans Frontières or Doctors without Borders so they’ve ended up in countries like Myanmar and Jerusalem, which he chronicles in his funny graphic memoirs. He’s also written about his stays in Pyongyang and Shenzhen (which I’ve yet to read). Delisle, who is from Quebec, writes in French but his books have been translated into many languages.

There is so much more!

Fables and its offshoots! Unfortunately I never got very far with Fables as my library’s collection is rather scattered. But it is delightful.

I’ve just started on Saga, and it is bold and such fun. It’s by the guy who did Y the Last Man.

I love how some of my favourite shows continue on in comic form. Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8. And in Serenity, the short-lived Firefly gets a second chance of sorts.

I’m sure I’ve left out so very many wonderful ones, but this post is getting a little out of hand.

What are some of your favourite comics/graphic novels? I’d love to add to my list!


  1. Not heard of a couple of these before. I get the feeling that #comicsfebruary will be adding a scary amount of new stuff to my wishlists! 😉


  2. This post is seriously amazing Sharlene! Thanks to you and nonfiction november my list seriously runneth over. I’ve loved many on your list and have several that I’m hoping to get to this month (Jerusalem, March, Can’t We Talk About Something to name a few). Yay yay yay! 🙂


  3. So much awesomeness in one post! Surprisingly, I’ve read most of these, but there are a couple I hadn’t even heard of (like The Initiates and The Property). Cannot wait to see what all you end up reading this month! I know it will be hard on the old wish list, but hey, that’s half the fun, right? 😀


  4. My ex lent me a Posy Simmonds, Tamara Drewe, which was very sweet and different, and I loved. It was made into a film, although I can’t see how that could have captured all the little observations and expressions. It’s a very wide ranging genre!


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