Posted in *Recommended, Art & Animation, Books

Graphic Novels or Comic Books

Here are some prominent graphic novels (aka comic books) most of which I’ve read and enjoyed.

Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities by Jason Shiga
Available in book form or as an iPad app which seems ideally suited to this choose your adventure comic!

Vietnamerica by G.B. Tran

Runners (series) by Sean Wang – A fun sci-fi adventure which is absolutely free to read online. The premise is a cross between Serenity/Firefly and Star Wars. I really dig the artistic design of the world and characters that Sean Wang has created here. The first volume was in black and white but the second volume is in very lovely colour.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang – The graphic novel contains three seemingly independent stories of a Chinese American kid, a Caucasian kid and the Monkey King which are gradually revealed to all be linked together.  I enjoyed this one a lot and found it very easy to relate to. The art is more cartoonish with much use of solid primary colours.

Jellaby (2 volumes) by Kean Soo – An excellent kid’s book about a friendly creature and the two kids who befriend it. It uses mainly black and purple in the colouring although there are tiny bits of orange and red used. The story is based in Toronto where Kean resides.

Same Difference and Other Stories by Derek Kirk Kim – This one was very amusing and at times funny. It has a few separate short stories which encompass the Korean American experience. The art is black and white.

Johnny Hiro by Fred Chao – A fun action adventure about a seemingly average guy who partakes in some superheroics occasionally. It’s black and white but still very kinetic.

Chinaman (series) by Serge LeTendre & Olivier Taduc (French) – A series of French language albums (a large format comic book) about a Chinese cowboy that started long before the idea was realized in the film, Shanghai Noon. The french-born artist Taduc is of Vietnamese descent. I like the art although the stories and characters are kind of generic and predictable.

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine – Excellent black and white line art and very good character writing although the main character is an ass. I know it’s intentional but it made it a less enjoyable read for me but I will say that the story does touch on a lot of different race issues that could generate much discussion or arguments. Still I preferred Tomine’s various short stories in the “Summer Blonde” collection.

Skim by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki – A coming of age Lesbian story of a Japanese Canadian young girl who’s also into wicca. I personally didn’t like this one finding it to be dull but it has won awards so what do I know? The writer-artist team are cousins from Canada (Mariko from Toronto & Jillian from Calgary).

Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology by various creators comprised of a veritable who’s who of the mainstream comics industry. Haven’t read this one.  Volume 2 is apparently already in the works.

Author:

Longtime fan of East Asian films. Occasional guest "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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