Sunday, June 25, 2017

Of Manga, Comics, and Graphic Novels!

I have always been into comics. 
Who hasn't! 
Tinkle Digest and Amar Chitra Katha were my go to books on those long train journeys to and from Madras and Trivandrum during Summer Holidays. And during those vacations, my little cousin would read me stories from the amazing Balarama magazine.
And then, teenage happened, and I spent more time with Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica. But still, comics were a major part of my daily life.
And then, it all stopped. 
It was not until April 2011, that I was reintroduced to comics (now in the form of Graphic Novels) through Hush! That was a completely new experience. But, all that excitement died down soon enough too.
We are a generation spoiled by too much of TV Shows! Don't get me wrong - they are awesome! But they take up too much of our time! One such show I was watching was The Walking Dead. I was hooked to it. And just so that I could find out what happened next on the show before it aired, I picked up Volume 1 of the comics. I blame Robert Kirkman for everything that happened after...
I have been hooked to comics and graphic novels since March 2015. So yes, I am fairly new to this and the very first question I had was where to start. And the following is a very brief summary of what I have learned in this past 2 years:
  • There are one-off graphic novels and then there are comics available as Trade Paperbacks. I have enjoyed both. You can read more about it here on this Quora thread.
  • I feel you should start off with one-off novels rather than long series or the ongoing ones (the waiting for the next issue will kill you)
  • Some great one-off Superhero ones to start of on are:
    • Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
    • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
    • Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman
    • Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar
  • But, you should not restrict yourself to Superheroes alone. There are a huge variety of books for you to try out before you should decide what you like best
  • Try some amazing novels, like:
    • Watchmen by Alan Moore
    • Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman
    • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
    • Dark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini
    • 300 by Frank Miller
    • Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle
  • Some amazing comics, like:
    • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
    • V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
    • Y: The Last Man and Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
    • Fables by Bill Willingham
    • Sin City by Frank Miller
  • Ever-amazing Manga like:
    • Death Note by Tsugumi Ōba
    • All You Need is Kill by Ryosuke Takeuchi
    • Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
  • And then there are some that everyone should read if you haven't already, like:
    • The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé
    • Asterix by René Goscinny
  • Indian ones are really good too, but very difficult to find them. Some I liked were:

    • Ramayan 3392 AD by Shamik Dasgupta
    • The Sadhu: When Realities Collide by Gotham Chopra
    • Mumbai Confidential by Saurav Mohapatra
    • I have heard there are a number of other really cool ones (by authors like Amruta Patil, Naseer Ahmed, Sarnath Banerjee, Appupen, Vishwajyoti Ghosh, Vikram Balagopal, Suhas Sundar etc.), but unfortunately, I am yet to find copies of these *sob*
Like I said, I am new here, so I am yet to read a number of amazing books and I am trying my best to slowly catch up on most. I think that you should check out the blurb for each of these books on a website like Goodreads and decide which ones to pick first depending on your taste.
But, if I really had to pick one out for you from each of the above sections (as difficult and unfair as it is), the following is the order I would recommend:
  1. Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
  2. Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman
  3. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
  4. Death Note by Tsugumi Ōba
Phew! That was difficult to pick!
If you have any suggestions on any must-reads that I have been somehow blind to, please do let me know.
Enjoy Reading!

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