Category Archives: Graphic Novels

The Hedge Knight


Title: The Hedge Knight

Author/Illustrators: George R.R. Martin, Ben Avery and Mike S. Miller

Summary: While you are waiting (and waiting…and waiting) for the next installment of George R.R. Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire, The Winds of Winter, enjoy this graphic novel of the first Dunk and Egg story. Set in Westeros about 100 years before the action in A Game of Thrones, these stories focus on Duncan the Tall, an unknown hedge knight looking for tournament glory but more importantly, a roof over his head, and his squire Egg, who has a surprising background. These stories, which have been published in fantasy compilations over the years, are now here as slim, well-designed graphic novels. These stories are essential for fans, particularly those interested about life under Targaryen rule. Eagle-eyed readers will also discover some revealing details that may change the way they view the characters from the main novel series.

Who will like this book: Rabid ASOIAF fans looking for more insight into the history of Westeros. Readers who like stories about knights and combat.

If you like this, read this: The next installment of the Dunk and Egg series, The Sworn SwordThe Princess and the Queen, or The Blacks and the Greens, a short story featuring more Targaryens (and dragon battles!), found in the collection Dangerous Women.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

If you would like to read this book, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or place a hold!


Title: Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

Author: Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papademitriou

Publisher: Bloomsbury, September 2009

Summary: Bertrand Russell, mathematician, philosopher, pacifist and lightning rod, was one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. This ambitious graphic biography focuses equally on his turbulent personal life and his groundbreaking work in the area of mathematical logic. We follow Russell as he discovers a paradox and works (and reworks) his theories. He teams with and is opposed by heavyweights of early twentieth-century philosophy,  including Wittgenstein and Godel, all the while searching for truth and remaining haunted by the madness he believes is constantly circling him.

Bertrand Russell affected – and was affected by – some of the most dramatic personalities and events of the twentieth century. While a graphic  novel about math and philosophy might not seem like the most enticing subject, in the hands of  these gifted writers and illustrators, Russell’s story comes to life in surprising and compelling ways.

Who will like this book?: People interested in the history of science, technology and math.

If you like this, try this: For another unique take on philosophy, try The Book of Dead Philosophers by Simon Critchley. Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities by Ian Stewart. If you are as clueless about math and science as I am, check out 100 Most Important Science Ideas by Mark Henderson.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian


Title: Stitches

Author: David Small

Summary: David Small grew up in a cold house, with distant, nearly silent parents. He was born sickly – and as was par for the course at that time, his radiologist father gave him plenty of x-ray treatments to strengthen his lungs. When a growth developed on his neck, his parents thought little of it. Four years later, he finally had surgery to remove an aggressive malignant tumor. But no one told young David what was wrong with him, or why he was now voiceless.

That Small grew up to be a renowned artist and picture book illustrator (Imogene’s Antlers, So You Want to Be President?) seems miraculous, given the circumstances of his childhood. In this boldly designed, unforgettable graphic memoir, he pulls no punches. But what elevates this book above and beyond the popular ‘terrible childhood’ subgenre is his refusal to reduce his family to caricatures. A story of family horrors shown through the eyes of a young, creative child, Stitches will make an impact on all who read it.

Who will like this book?: Readers who like redemptive stories about painful childhoods. If you or your children have enjoyed Small’s award-winning picture book illustrations, you will be fascinated by his life story.

If you like this, try this: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.  Why I Killed Peter by Olivier Ka. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Lindbergh Child

Title: A Treasury of XXth Century Murder: The Lindbergh Child

Author/Illustrator:Rick Geary

Publisher: Comics Lit, February 2009

Summary: After his transatlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh became an international hero, icon, and to his chagrin, celebrity. In the early ’30s, he and his wife moved to a new home in New Jersey in an attempt to live a private life. Little did they know that the tragic events that followed would thrust them even futher into the spotlight. Rick Geary begins his Tales of XXth Century Murder series with the story of the kidnapping (and murder) that led to ‘The Trial of the Century.’

We follow the events of the kidnapping, meet the various players in the investigation, and witness the trial and execution of Bruno Hauptman, who maintains his innocence throughout. Geary also discusses several of the alternate theories of the crime that persist to this day. Like his previous true crime graphic novels, this book is concise, informative, even-handed, and impossible to put down.

Who will like this book?: Fans of true crime and non-fiction graphic novels. Anyone interested in this famous crime, or the exploits of Charles Lindbergh.

If you like this, try this: Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Books in Geary’s A Treasury of Victorian Murder, including Jack the Ripper and The Borden Tragedy. The Plot Against America by Philp Roth.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Nat Turner

Title: Nat Turner

Author: Kyle Baker

Publisher: Abrams, June 2008

Summary: This stunning graphic novel tells the story of the deadly slave rebellion led by the infamous Nat Turner in 1830s Virginia. Author/Illustrator Kyle Baker uses the text of Turner’s actual confession to illuminate the horrors endured during the slave crossing, and the violence of life for plantation slaves. Young Nat, an intelligent and resourceful boy, learns to read and write. In reading the Bible, Nat decides that he, like Moses, must lead his enslaved people out of bondage. The rest, as they say, is history.

To paraphrase Baker, the story of Nat Turner is intriuging because while it was always mentioned in history text books, there were never really a lot of details given about why the slave rebellion had taken place. Why is something important enough to mention, but not important enough to describe at length? With Nat Turner, Kyle Baker illuminates the man behind the rebellion without judging him a hero or a villain.

Who will like this book: People who are interested in the ‘secret stories’ of American history. Fans of heavily illustrated graphic novels. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

If you like this, try this: A People’s History of American Empire by Howard Zinn. The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Burma Chronicles

Title: Burma Chronicles

Author: Guy Delisle

Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly, September 2008

Summary: Because his wife works for MSF (Doctors without Borders), French-Canadian cartoonist Guy Delisle often finds himself living in countries that, for most of us, are shrouded in mystery. This graphic travelogue recounts the year he spent living in Myanmar, formerly called Burma, a small impoverished nation run by a military junta constantly sanctioned for human rights violations. It’s most notable citizen is the leader of its banned democratic party and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for nearly 13 years.

Delisle rarely gets political, even though he lives in a house just up the road from Suu Kyi, or ‘The Lady,’ as she is referred to by the Burmese people. Instead, he describes everyday life in Burma: The oppressive heat, the delight his neighbors take in his light-skinned baby Louis, and the ubiquitous Karen Carpenter songs playing in the grocery stores. He describes the difficulties NGOs like MSF have trying to reach the impoverished and disadvantaged populations they strive to aid, and the idiosyncrasies of living under dictatorship.

Who will like this book?: Fans of travel writing. People interested in human rights, or the plight of Aung San Suu Kyi.

If you like this, try this: Delisle’s other graphic travelogues: Shenzen (about China) or Pyongyang (North Korea.) A Perfect Prisoner: A Life of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s Prisoner of Conscience by Justin Wintle.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian


Title: Watchmen

Author: Alan Moore

Illustrator: Dave Gibbons

Publisher: DC Comics, April 1995

Summary: After a summer of blockbuster movies, you might just be sick of superheroes. But soon (pending some legal wrangling) the greatest graphic novel ever is coming to the big screen: Watchmen, by legendary scribe Alan Moore (responsible for such classics as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V for Vendetta.) It is the story of a group of superheroes undone by their all-too-human frailties. Set in the mid-80s, a killer is stalking the former ‘masks,’ who have either retired or been driven underground by anti-vigilante legislation, as the world moves closer and closer to nuclear conflict.

This is a thoroughly post-modern take on heroes, and while characters like The Comedian, Nite Owl, Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan might not be as familiar as Batman and Wolverine, their stories are just as unforgettable. If you think you’re too grown-up for comics, read Watchmen. This is a true masterwork that explodes any expectations you might have for the flying and tights genre, named an essential book by Entertainment Weekly and Time magazines. Read it before the movie comes out!

Who will like this book?: Superhero fans who have read it all. People who like stories that expose the humanity, for better or worse, of heroic figures.

If you like this, try this: Anything by Alan Moore, especially V for Vendetta and From Hell. 300 by Frank Miller.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Batman: The Long Halloween

Title: Batman: The Long Halloween

Author: Jeph Loeb

Illustrator: Tim Sale

Summary: I reread this fantastic graphic novel before I saw The Dark Knight.  While the plot lines aren’t exactly the same, both the movie and the book share a similar film-noir feel and focus on the same three characters: Batman, Lieutenant Gordon, and D.A. Harvey Dent.

Over the course on one year, from Halloween to Halloween, they track a killer who strikes only on the holidays. As the year wears on, familiar villains appear as suspects, victims and surprising allies. If you, like the millions of others who flocked to the theaters this weekend, are in the grips of Batman fever, The Long Halloween is the book you are looking for.

Who will like this book?: Fans of the Caped Crusader, particularly those who read the comic books or watched the either the live-action or animated TV show. Fans of The Godfather movies. Be advised: Like many Batman graphic novels, this is an intense, mature title.

If you like this, try this: Batman: Year One by Frank Miller. The Killing Joke by Alan Moore. Heroes volume 1, also illustrated by Tim Sale.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

A People’s History of American Empire

Title: A People’s History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaptation

Author: Howard Zinn, with Paul Buhle, and illustrations by Mike Konopacki

Summary: It is hard to believe that the groundbreaking A People’s History of the United States is almost 30 years old! Historian Howard Zinn’s classic ‘history from the bottom up’ retold familiar episodes from the point of view of workers, women, minorities and others who were traditionally left out of the American story. In this graphic novel, Zinn, fellow historian Buhle and illustrator Konopacki describe the evolution of what they call the American Empire – the U.S. interactions with and policies towards other nations, beginning with Native Americans and ending with the current war in Iraq.

The story is well-suited to the graphic format, and with it’s haunting vignettes of atrocities and injustice, it is a devastating critique of the American government. It is a serious book, but there are moments of levity and humor. Particularly charming is Zinn’s own story of growing up in Brooklyn during the Depression and how serving in World War II transformed him into a radical thinker.

Who will like this book?: Fans of Zinn and Kenneth C. Davis. Any history buff who likes to find out ‘what really happened.’ Conservatives be advised: This book has a decidedly socialistic/progressive bent.

If you like this, try this: A People’s History of the United Statesby Howard Zinn.  A Cartoon History of the Modern World by Larry Gonick.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian


Title: Shortcomings

Author: Adrian Tomine

Summary: Once you meet him, you will never forget Ben Tanaka, a cranky, sarcastic Gen-X slacker and anti-hero of Adrian Tomine’s daring graphic novel. We follow Ben across the country from the Bay Area to New York City, through his relationship with the ambitious Miko, his friendship with perpetual student/skirt-chaser Alice, and his (firmly and unconvincingly denied) obsession with white girls.

This story could be called an anti-romance – it insists that love is not blind, but entirely dependent on hundreds of factors large and small including age, race, economic status, and first impressions. Will Ben’s cynical heart open? Will he get the girl and/or keep the girl? Can he change?

Who will like this book?: Fans of contemporary Asian-American stories, who are looking for something a little more edgy.

If you like this, try this: For another, more innocent Asian-American coming-of-age story, try the Printz-Award winning young adult graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian