Here's a list of potential future selections for our graphic novel book club. Please comment or e-mail me your top choices and/or bottom choices. Scandalously, I have not read any of these, so below are the Amazon.com descriptions.
The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman: "In his grandfather's seaside arcade, a young boy encounters a mysterious Punch & Judy man with a dark past and a woman who makes her living playing a mermaid. As their stories unfold, the boy must confront family secrets, strange puppets and a nightmarish world of violence and betrayal."
Chew series by John Layman: "Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he's a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn't mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He's been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases."
American Splendor by Harvey Pekar: "American Splendor is the world’s first literary comic book. Cleveland native Harvey Pekar is a true American original. A V.A. hospital file clerk and comic book writer, Harvey chronicles the ordinary and mundane in stories both funny and touching. His dead-on eye for the frustrations and minutiae of the workaday world mix in a delicate balance with his insight into personal relationships. Pekar has been compared to Dreiser, Dostoevsky, and Lenny Bruce. But he is truly more than all of them—he is himself."
Incognito by Ed Brubaker: "From the creators of Criminal and Sleeper comes the most insane and evil super-villain comic you've ever read! What if you were an ex-super villain hiding out in Witness Protection... but all you could think about were the days when the rules didn't apply to you? Could you stand the toil of an average life after years of leaving destruction in your wake? And what if you couldn't stand it? What would you do then? Incognito - a twisted mash-up of noir and super-heroics."
Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine: "Tomine's lacerating falling-out-of-love story is an irresistible gem of a graphic novel. Shortcomingsis set primarily in an almost otherworldly San Francisco Bay Area; its antihero, Ben Tanaka, is not your average comic book protagonist: he's crabby, negative, self-absorbed, über-critical, slack-a-riffic and for someone who is strenuously race-blind, has a pernicious hankering for whitegirls. His girlfriend Miko (alas and tragically) is an Asian-American community activist of the moderate variety."
Thief of Always by Clive Barker: "When archetypal 10-year-old Harvey Swick desperately wishes to be delivered from a boring February afternoon, he is miraculously rescued by Rictus, a smiling (if somewhat sinister) creature. Rictus takes Harvey to the Holiday House, where every morning is spring, every afternoon is summer and every evening offers Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas in quick succession. Barker masterfully embroiders this fantasy world with a mounting number of grim, even gruesome details. Harvey must heroically battle what is gradually revealed to be the malevolent force behind the Holiday House in order to save not only himself but all its previous young guests."
Seven Soldiers of Victory by Grant Morrison: "What if there was a team of superheroes who never met each other? Included are stories of four of the eventual seven members—the magician Zatanna is a highlight—all of whose adventures stand alone but also subtly interweave. The art is uniformly impressive, the standout being Frazer Irving’s Klarion the Witch Boy, pulsing with ominous supernatural life."
Scalped series by Jason Aaron: "Fifteen years ago, Dashiell "Dash" Bad Horse ran away from a life of abject poverty and utter hopelessness on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation in hopes of finding something better. Now he's come back home armed with nothing but a set of nunchucks, a hell-bent-for-leather attitude and one dark secret, to find nothing much has changed on "The Rez" -- short of a glimmering new casino, and a once-proud people overcome by drugs and organized crime. Is he here to set things right or just get a piece of the action?"