This is my first post for rewind month and my chosen topic is: Favourite Non-Written Novels (comics, manga, audiobooks, etc). I’m going to cheat a little here and showcase five of my favourite graphic novels and five of my favourite manga. Because choices–they’re hard.
- Saga (Written by Brian K. Vaughan; Art by Fiona Staples):
Hands down the best scifi graphic novel out there.
- Descender (Written by Jeff Lemire; Art by Dustin Nguyen):
Think Artificial Intelligence (the movie) but not as depressing. The worldbuilding is fascinating and intricate, and the artwork is done in gorgeous watercolour.
- The Wake (Written by Scott Snyder; Art by Sean Murphy):
While I hate how the ending of this one-shot graphic novel was handled, the first half is just absolute perfection. It’s about a Marine Biologist who gets sent to an underwater oilrig and discovers ancient creatures that humans weren’t meant to find. It’s spine-tingling horror at its finest.
- The Woods (Written by James Tynion IV; Art by Michael Dialynas):
An entire highschool (the building plus the students) gets transported to a different planet on a whole different universe, and a group of teens must figure out a way to survive. It’s fun, exciting, and super super diverse. The series has also been greenlit for a TV adaptation at Syfy!
- Unsounded (Written and illustrated by Ashley Cope):
Unsounded has to be the best fantasy webcomic out there. Ashley has created a world that is ludicrously rich and complex and characters that dig into your heart with tenacity. There are 12 1/2 (meaty) chapters so far, and it updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Blade of the Immortal by Hiroaki Samura:
This sweeping pseudo-historical epic spans 31 volumes and I had to restrain myself hard from devouring it all in one week. Set in an alternate 18th-century Japan, it stars a teenage girl named Rin, who’s on a quest for vengeance, and her companion/bodyguard Manji, who’s been cursed with immortality. The artwork is the beautiful balance of sensuous and violent, and the characters (especially the antagonists) are all wonderfully complex. The series took 20 years to finish (1993 to 2012), and Samura has said that he never wants to draw a single kimono ever again. And you know what? Fair enough. He’s earned a break.
- 20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa:
Honestly, I could add all of Naoki Urasawa’s work on this list and be happy with the result, but if I must to pick a favourite, it’s got to be 20th Century Boys. It’s a coming-of-age story to end all coming-of-age stories. It’s also a part mystery, part scifi, and part superhero/supervillain story. Words can’t do this masterpiece justice. Just go check it out.
- A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima:
A Silent Voice gives one of the best depictions of the pains of childhood and bullying I’ve encountered in recent memory. The MC is not immediately likeable from the get-go–he’s a bully who’d tormented a deaf girl to the point of her switching schools. Years later, he’s wracked with guilt and is determined to do whatever it takes to make it up to her. It’s a hard read but a necessary one–filled with as much hope and compassion as pain and horror.
- Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori:
OHSHC was (and still is, in my opinion) the bar to beat for Shoujo mangas. It’s a reverse-harem story that subverts usual reverse-harem tropes. Starring the most unlikely heroine and a group of eccentric boys, this series is at once funny, charming, and heartwarming.
- Cardcaptor Sakura by CLAMP:
This was the very first manga series I’d read as a kid and it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. The story just radiates with so many positive themes–friendship, love, courage, just to name a few. It was also probably my first introduction to queer characters in fiction, which is pretty wild.