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.
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.
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.
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 Worldby Larry Gonick.