I’ve been into comic books and graphic novels my entire life. I actually don’t remember a time that I wasn’t reading them. I used to read them before I could even read! I’d just follow along with the images and try to figure out the story that way. I think my love of comic books and graphic novels also ties in a lot with my love of film which makes sense, since they’re basically storyboards. Also one of my goals in life is to publish my own graphic novel, so I figured I’d better get to reading a variety to really narrow in on what I want mine to be like.
So, over the past few months I went back to reading a ton of graphic novels again. I picked up one of each and then decided on which series I wanted to continue on with. Twenty five graphic novels later and I have my review.
Y: The Last Man Book One by Brian K. Vaughan
This was a series I kept hearing about but had never read. Hot damn. I’m glad I finally read it. It’s SO good. The concept alone is so interesting. It’s about a mysterious plague that suddenly kills literally all of the men on the face of the earth. All at once. All except for one dude, Yorick. He now has to navigate the post-apocalyptic world while being hunted down to either be killed or experimented on, and tries to get from New York to Australia in order to find his fiancé. All with his lil’ pet monkey Ampersand in tow. It’s awesome. Also, it looks like they’ve actually turned this into a TV series that’s just going to be called, “Y”. The only thing I’m kinda worried about is that guy they cast as Yorick is not at all what I would have pictured, but hopefully it’s good. Can’t wait!
BTW – I wanted to show you guys what each graphic novel style is like so that you can make your own decision whether or not you want to invest in these. Style is a huge contributor to whether or not I’m going to like something. I think the story and the visuals are equally as important, but obviously it’s a very personal choice. For example, the composition and style of this comic is the kind of style I would usually go for. Simple, but detailed. Vibrant and colorful. Not a ton of panels, with a simple straight-forward and easy-to-follow composition.
Saga Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan
The last time I was in the comic book shop I was talking to one of the dudes there and he asked me if I had read Saga yet because I was reading another Brian K. Vaughn series. I said nah, I hadn’t read it yet. He highly suggested it. The only thing I really knew about it was that it was a family series, like, there’s a kid involved. If you know me at all, you know I’m not really into anything that has to do with kids. I thought having a kid in it would make it suck to be honest. I thought that there was no way I would relate to it at all. MAN. Was I wrong. Even if you hate kids this series is for you, lol. This series is now tied with Y: The Last Man for me. Which I didn’t think was possible. I LOVE the character Alana. She’s such an outspoken badass. She’s the best. Overall if I were to compare this to something it would have to be Star Wars. Only not. If that makes any sense. Oh, and FYI this has way more sex stuff in it than Star Wars, and it can be VERY graphic. So keep that in mind because most, if not all of these may not be safe for work, or youths. Lol. Definitely make sure your kids aren’t sneakin’ around to read these. Regardless, this series is just awesome. If you’re an adult, you gotta read this for sure. I’m kinda mind blown that this hasn’t become a series yet. It should be. I’d watch the hell out of it.
Fun Fact: This series was drawn by a Canadian comic book artist, Fiona Staples! A girl! Bad. Ass. I love that so much! I actually really do love her style too. The compositions are great, it’s simple and sharp. Easy to follow. The colors are vibrant and complimentary, and the characters features are so perfect for each character. She did a great job. Respect.
Paper Girls Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan
When I was looking around at different graphic novels in the comic book shop I was really drawn to the color story on the cover, and intrigued by the summary, so I got it. I totally judged a book by its cover cause honestly, it looks great. I love the color stories they use throughout the pages. The drawings aren’t the best I’ve ever seen, or in the kind of style I prefer, but I dig the layouts and compositions. Story wise? Meh. I was promised something along the lines of Stranger Things and what I got was basically that crap Netflix movie promising to be the next Goonies. Yeah, I’m looking at you Rim of the World. Not even close bro, not even close. It’s readable, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it. I read three of the books but I didn’t care enough to keep going. I told myself if I wasn’t totally invested after the third book to stop reading it… and I wasn’t. So I bailed on this one. It’s a really good reference for color and composition though.
Seriously, look at these colors! The compositions and panels are great. Though the artwork is kinda meh for me, I just feel like its TOO simple for my taste. And some of the stuff like the eyebrow and eye going over the hair in the middle panel on the left page? Not into that. Super obsessed with the colors though.
Chew Volume One: Tasters Choice by John Layman
This was a weird one. I dig the oddity and the style of the drawings. I also kinda liked the compositions. It reads more like an actual storyboard to me than a graphic novel, which I can appreciate. There can be a ton of panels per page though, almost too many at times. The overall story is basically about a cop who has the weirdest super power ever. If he eats something he has a vision and can feel and experience what that thing went through. Like if he ate a piece of bacon would see the pigs entire life, including the terror it felt when it was brutally murdered. The thing is this happens with ANYTHING. So if he bites a person, he’d know their story. Or if he consumes a decomposing body part… Yeah, it gets a lil’ weird. Lol. I was debating on whether or not I wanted to continue on with this series because I didn’t LOVE it, but I also didn’t hate it either. After talking to a friend who had continued on and read a bunch more I decided not to invest in the next one because they said it just goes downhill and kinda fizzles out. I guess if I run out of things I wanna read I’ll continue on with this just to see how it turns out.
So. Many. Panels. I did like the artwork though. It definitely has its own style. It’s a little weird and definitely unique. Into it.
Monstress Volume One: Awakening by Marjorie Liu
I don’t really know why, but I had to force myself to read this, and it took me FOREVER. I just wasn’t into it. I didn’t really like the artwork, it’s way too anime for me. I mean I can appreciate it for what it is, it’s amazing for what it is. It’s just not a style I’m into, and I don’t know if it was my ADD or my lack of interest, or both, but was hard for me to follow. There’s so many random things to keep note of – like what the hell Arcanics are, who everybody is, what their story is. I dunno. I kept forgetting who people were and what was going on because it was taking me so long to read. So it’s partly on me. Basically what I got from it was that the main character is a girl who’s half human and half magical creature with an ancient monster inside that eats people. And the magical creatures and humans are at war and hate each other. And then there were some other guys that came out of nowhere and I still don’t totally understand what their whole thing was about. Oh well. I also didn’t really dig the layout of the pages. The panels were kinda messy and hard to follow sometimes because they could be so abstract. And it’s visually really dark, like literally it can be hard to see what they’re drawing at points. I’m not saying its bad, this one just wasn’t for me. If you’re into anime and fantasy then this one would probably be for you.
See how dark the visuals are? I definitely prefer a brighter and high contrast look.
Kill or be Killed Volume One by Ed Brubraker
I had really high hopes for this one. The concept sounds like something I’d be totally into since it’s along the lines of something like Death Note. Basically this dude tries to kill himself but somehow lives, and then he’s visited by some demon who says he spared his life so now he’s gotta kill people to fill a quota or the demon will kill him. Hence, “Kill or be Killed”. So he decides to kill bad people. Sounds awesome right? But it fell flat for me. I just felt like the drawings were weak, the panels were confusing to follow at times because the composition was so messy. I hated the main character because he just seemed like a total whiny lil’ bish. Straight up like Anakin in Star Wars, and the chick he’s into is a total scumbag. I just didn’t care for any of the characters at all. I didn’t care what happened to them. I was actually kinda hoping the demon would just kill the main character so he would be dead and the story would end. LOL. I gave up on this after the first book. It was just a huge letdown for me. The concept was promising, but the execution was weak. I feel like it could have been A LOT better.
I also really wasn’t a fan of the artwork. I didn’t like the composition of the panels. It just visually looks kinda sloppy and hard to follow. The drawings aren’t the best. I just really didn’t like the style at all, in any way. Meh.
After reading all of these I’d have to say if you want to start a series I’d definitely suggest going for Y: The Last Man or Saga by Brian K. Vaughan. Even if you’ve never read a graphic novel in your life I think you’d enjoy these. I even had that crushing sadness you get when you finish an amazing story after both of these because I was genuinely worried that I’d never find something as good as them again. I’m actually still kinda worried about that.
Also, I just wanted to say even though I feel like I can be kind of brutal with my reviews when I don’t like something, I’m not trying to trash any artist or writers work. I respect anyone who actually makes something from nothing, and all of these artist and writers have done that. Which is more than I can say right now, lol. But I either really like something or I don’t at all, and I definitely didn’t like some of these. But respect to those who made them. It’s not easy. Obviously other people like them, just not me. So you do you.
- Do you have a favorite graphic novel or series? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,