25 Graphic Novels & Comic Books We Love #BrownBag25





We're continuing on with our #BrownBag25 picks in celebration of our 25th anniversary, and this month we'd like to feature some of the graphic novels and comics that our creatives love, in light of Comic-Con taking place this month. 

We did a call out to our crew and were inundated with suggestions! (So much so, we cheated a little and added a few sneaky extras at the bottom).

Take a scroll through and be sure to add your own favourites in the comments below:

Mister Amperduke by Bob Byrne
Mister Amperduke by Bob Byrne

1. Mister Amperduke by Bob Byrne

Mister Amperduke is a totally silent comic about sentient 'Lego minifig' style characters dealing with racism and intolerance from the mad genius of Irish comics Bob Byrne.

- Cliodhna Lyons, Episodic Director

 

Just a brilliant work of passion and really clever way of telling the story without words.  

A quote from Bob Byrne: “I feel comics use too many words in general, it’s a graphic medium and the speech balloons are largely redundant in most cases. The pictures should be able to carry the story. Plus, it’s more of a challenge.” (via www.writing.ie)

- Mark Rusk, Animation Director

Bone by Jeff Smith
Bone by Jeff Smith

2. Bone by Jeff Smith

I'd have to suggest 'Bone' by Jeff Smith as one of my favourites, an all-ages comedy/fantasy/adventure graphic novel about three cousin cartoon characters that get lost in a magical valley and caught up in an epic quest involving lost princesses and sorcerer witches.

The art is gorgeous even in black and white and the story strikes a great mix of comedy and seriousness, getting much grander in scope as it reaches its conclusion.

You can get the entire series as one huge 1300 page book nowadays that has the whole story, plus there have been even more accompanying books (including a short prequel) that have come out since then.

Recommended!

- George Crosbie, 2D Designer

 

Great story, very engaging, amazing artwork and illustration.

- Jen Venter, Previz / Layout Department Coordinator

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

3. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Crazy and unpredictable space odyssey with fantastic dialogues and story arcs.

- David Blanc, Online Editor (Flame)

 

Refreshingly good storytelling and pacing.

 - Katherine Ellsworth, 3D Animator

Love and Rockets by The Hernandez Brothers
Love and Rockets by The Hernandez Brothers

4. Love and Rockets by The Hernandez Brothers (Jaime Hernandez, Mario Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez)

A love letter to punk and sci-fi and just about everything else. One-off stories and characters and ongoing narratives depicted in the very different visual styles of each of the Hernandez brothers. You’ll read it for one storyline and set of characters and ten years later you’ll reread it for another. A must for all.

- Erica Lack, Head of 2D 

 

Great female lead stories that are both fantastical and very relatable. 

 - Katherine Ellsworth, 3D Animator

Marshall Law by Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill
Marshall Law by Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill

5. Marshall Law by Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill

Marshall Law was a superhero comic book written by Pat Mills and drawn by Kevin O'Neill and published by Marvel Epic and later Dark Horse Comics and most recently DC comics.

Mills and O'Neill HATE superheroes and so this comic is a subversive, satirical and visceral attack on superhero tropes. It is a work of genius.

- Conor Clancy, Previz/Layout Artist

The Incal by Alexandro Jodorowsky
The Incal by Alexandro Jodorowsky

6. The Incal by Alexandro Jodorowsky

Opened my eyes to the worlds of Moebius and Jodorowsky.

Mind-blowing stuff with amazing artwork that inspired me to draw!

- Darragh O’Connell, Group Creative Director

Docteur Radar by Noël Simsolo and Frédéric Bézian 
Docteur Radar by Noël Simsolo and Frédéric Bézian 

7. Docteur Radar by Noël Simsolo and Frédéric Bézian 

I'd like to recommend the French comic series, Docteur Radar. I found them in a bookshop in Paris but they are available on Comixology. It's a frantic, ultra-dramatic detective adventure.

As an animator, I love drawings that look like they're moving and these books are filled with kinetic, high energetic brushstrokes of genius!

- Freddie Elsom, Lead Animator

Earthboy Jacobus by Doug TenNapel
Earthboy Jacobus by Doug TenNapel

8. Earthboy Jacobus by Doug TenNapel

Earthboy Jacobus deals with loss, faith, and hope (messages we all desperately need in this period where hopelessness is running rampant) all set in a world of parallel universes and monsters with Doug TenNapel's distinctive artistic style.

- Regan Greenwood, Lead Animator

9. Creature Tech by Doug TenNapel

Creature Tech incorporates more of TenNapel's humour as the main character Dr. Ong of Creature Tech, an Area 51-esque laboratory, becomes dependent on a symbiotic alien and battles a ghost allied with cat demons.

Other books of his I'd recommend are Ghostopolis, Iron West, Tommysaurus, and Ratfist. His stories are always visually dynamic, comedic, and hopeful and have always entertained and lifted my mood.

- Regan Greenwood, Lead Animator

Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli

10. Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli

My all-time favourite graphic novel is Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli. While it has a basis in The Odyssey, it's essentially about relationships from the perspective of a very flawed individual.

Coming from the guy who drew Batman and Daredevil with Frank Miller, it's surprisingly experimental. Each character and location has their own art style and colour scheme, and the styles mesh when characters interact. There are probably layers of depth I haven't even understood yet!

- Jamie Roberts, Rigger

Nelson by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix
Nelson by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix

11. Nelson by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix

Nelson is a bold endeavour. A who's who of British cartoonists draw a page or a few pages of a character's life, each covering a single year as a snapshot, from the early '70s to the late 2000s.

The whole thing was improvised in chronological order and passed on like a game of Consequences, which means a huge variation in artistic vision and some weird twists and turns in the story.

And for some reason, you can buy it on Amazon for less than £2, which should be illegal.

- Jamie Roberts, Rigger

 

250-page anthology featuring the who's who of UK comics. Each chapter is drawn by a different artist and records the single day of Nel Baker's life for 43 years from birth to 2011.  Eisner nominated for best anthology.

- Cliodhna Lyons, Episodic Director

Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson
Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson

12. Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson

The graphic novel by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson about a group of dogs and one cat who fight evil mystical forces.

There are ghost dogs, rain of frogs, werewolves and an evil coven.

This description doesn’t do the series justice or attest to the immense creative skill on display here…  

- Derek Horan, 2D Designer

Charley's War by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun
Charley's War by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun

13. Charley's War by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun

As a child of the 1970/80s I picked up Battle (a weekly Comic) in 1980 and was immediately hooked by Charley's War, a very an anti-war strip, in the middle of a kids war comic. Written by Pat Mills with stunning detailed artwork by Joe Colquhoun.

- Derek Horan, 2D Designer

The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire
The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire

14. The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire

A poignant story which sees a man going through a series of supernatural events which lead to a late coming of age, where he learns to let go of the past and the burden of guilt to become the man and the father he wants to be. 

- David Blanc, Online Editor (Flame)

Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon
Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon

15. Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon

Each chapter of Daytripper peers in at a completely different moment of the protagonist's life and asks: What are the most important days of your life? 

A beautifully lyrical tale chronicling Domingos's entire existence - from his loves to his deaths and all the possibilities in between.

- David Blanc, Online Editor (Flame)

Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark
Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark

16. Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark

A saga set in a dystopian future where civilisation has regressed to a feudal hierarchy controlled by a few families who fight against each other for hegemony.

Each of the families owns one “Lazarus”, a biologically engineered super-soldier which can be healed and brought back to life in case of death and who officiates as their army commander-in-chief. A compelling read in a beautifully mapped out world and lots of drama, the perfect sci-fi soap opera!!! 

- David Blanc, Online Editor (Flame)

Opus by Satoshi Kon 
Opus by Satoshi Kon 

17. Opus by Satoshi Kon 

One of my favorites - Opus by Satoshi Kon (Paprika, Millennium actress & Perfect blue).

I like it for the way the plot is revealed alongside the way the character arcs are treated.

One of the best parts for me was the way the fourth wall was broken using comic panels where characters look right at the reader.

- Mathew Jacob, 2D Designer

18. Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

I recommend it because it's a fun and clever LGBT+ positive series about university and hockey, where nothing really bad happens and sometimes that's exactly what I want.

- Kathryn Walsh, Layout Artist

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell 
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell 

19. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell 

'Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me' is written by Canadian Mariko Tamaki. It is another LGBT+ read, but the story is true to any relationship. I definitely could see myself in the main character, especially when she was making mistakes.

- Kathryn Walsh, Layout Artist

Outer Darkness by Afu Chan and John Layman
Outer Darkness by Afu Chan and John Layman

20. Outer Darkness by Afu Chan and John Layman

I'm currently obsessed with Afu Chan and John Layman's Outer Darkness. I was lucky enough to pick it up at TCAF and it's probably one of my favorite graphic novels ever.

It has that rare combination of phenomenal art, storytelling and world-building. It's a sci-fi horror comic about a crew traversing the outer darkness of space in a world where magic, tech, and elder gods collide. It's… it's just so damn good. 

It's also available at select chapters/indigo

- Fraeya Pinto, Background Artist

21. Astérix et Obélix - Astérix Chez Les Bretons by Goscinny, Uderzo 

This book was one of my favorites in the whole series when I was a kid. It’s witty and funny and beautifully drawn! It’s about Astérix visiting his British cousin and it was a perfect depiction of what England is like! (If I may say so…)

- Frederique LeBlanc, Lead Tradigital Animator

22. Stray Bullets by David Lapham

Beautiful artwork with a gritty modern (well.. 80s) noir feel. The thing that really drew me to this book and cemented it in my all-time favourite list is the cast of characters. Heavily flawed and depicted with a depth I wasn't seeing in the other series I was reading at the time.   

- Erica Lack, Head of 2D (UK)

Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore
Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore

23. Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore

Strangers in Paradise will always be very close to my heart. It’s a soap opera of a comic. Not my normal thing, but what a soap opera. This is the first comic I read where the female characters felt and looked real. Prior to this I was almost exclusively reading DC and Marvel books. Strangers in Paradise opened my eyes to indie books and the smaller publishers.

- Erica Lack, Head of 2D (UK)

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki
This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki

24. This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki

I’m a bit of a sucker for a coming of age story and this one sits at the top of my list. A quiet atmospheric story, with a gentle plot that rings true of that tricky time between childhood and teen years.

- Erica Lack, Head of 2D (UK)

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Smile by Raina Telgemeier

25. Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Autobiographical comic about the artist's life in 6th grade when an accident results in major dental trauma. 

Started as a webcomic, it is now an Eisner winning (like the Oscars for comics) graphic novel with several sequels. 

When I run comic book workshops, I show examples of different comic books and this one, hands down, is the one all the kids (male or female) ask how to buy.

- Cliodhna Lyons, Episodic Director

Sneaky extras:

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Maus by Art Spiegelman,  War in the Neighbourhood by Seth Tobocman, Koko Be Good by Jen Wang, SCUD: The Disposable Assassin by Rob Schrab, Dan Harmon, Mondy Carter, and Jack GreySupercrash by Darryl Cunningham, Irredeemable by Mark Waid, Zombillenium by Arthur De Pins, Tintin et Les Picaros by Hergé, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac by Jhonen Vasquez, The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, Manly Guys doing Manly Things by Kelly Turnbull, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud, Draw Stronger by Kriota WillberyBatman the Long Halloween and its sequel Batman Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Fables by Bill Willingham, Blacksad by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido, Tomboy by Liz Prince, AD New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld, Agito Cosmos by Olivier Milhaud and Fabien Mense

/images/labs/Persepolis.jpg Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi /images/labs/maus.jpg Maus by Art Spiegelman /images/labs/War_in_the_Neighbourhood.jpg War in the Neighbourhood by Seth Tobocman /images/labs/Koko_Be_Good.jpg Koko Be Good by Jen Wang /images/labs/SCUD_the_disposable_assassin.jpg SCUD: the Disposable Assassin by Rob Schrab, Dan Harmon, Mondy Carter, and Jack Grey /images/labs/Supercrash.jpg Supercrash by Darryl Cunningham /images/labs/Irredeemable.jpg Irredeemable by Mark Waid /images/labs/Zombillenium.jpg Zombillenium by Arthur De Pins /images/labs/Tintin_Et_Les_Picaros.jpg Tintin et Les Picaros by Hergé /images/labs/Johnny_the_Homicidal_Maniac.jpg Johnny the Homicidal Maniac by Jhonen Vasquez /images/labs/The_Sandman.jpg /images/labs/Understanding_Comics_-_The_Invisible_Art.jpg Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud /images/labs/Draw_Stronger.jpg Draw Stronger by Kriota Willbery /images/labs/Batman_the_Long_Halloween.jpg Batman the Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale /images/labs/Batman_Dark_Victory.jpg Batman Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale /images/labs/Fables_1.jpg Fables by Bill Willingham /images/labs/Blacksad.jpg Blacksad by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido /images/labs/Tomboy.jpg Tomboy by Liz Prince /images/labs/AD_New_Orleans_after_the_Deluge.jpg AD New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld /images/labs/Agito_Cosmos.jpg Agito Cosmos by Olivier Milhaud and Fabien Mense

Got a favourite graphic novel or comic book? Pop it in the comments below!

#BrownBag25


Anahita Tabarsi

Anahita is Brown Bag Films' Marketing Director, Digital & Social and drinks more than five coffees a day...

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