Now for the final part, here’s three graphic novels that are superb and considered some of my favorites.
The Death of Gwen Stacy
Considered one of the turning points were the Silver Age of Comics ended. It may not be a complete graphic novel, but the two-parter packs a lot of shocks then most graphic novels usually do. The legacy of Spiderman is unpredictable in its storytelling as Peter Parker is always cursed to be a masked vigilante. He is a teenager who must deal with work, family, money, his love life, and villains all at once. And the death of his beloved provides one of the best tales in all of comic history. His girlfriend dies and the final confrontation with the Green Goblin is tragic. A compelling tale that made comic books thereafter darker and scarier.
1001 Nights of Snowfall
Fables is a wonderful series where the mythical creatures of our childhood co-habit in the real world. And, I would love to read the entire series but it’s an ongoing title and I simply can’t put too much effort into another comic book. Fortunately writer Bill Willingham provides a standalone story that provides a prequel to the main series. What’s great about this novel is that you have the decision of continuing with the rest of the stories with the main series or simply stop with what you have. The plot revolves around Snow White as she journeys to Arabia to seek an alliance. She’s later trapped by the sultan with marriage and death. She escapes death by telling stories of her friends from Fabletown. Each character has a different backstory ranging from the princely frog to the wicked witch to the big bad wolf. And each story is illustrated beautifully by different artists. It’s a rich collection of stories that’s satisfying on its own merit. Check out because it’s very accessible.
First, I must say that writer Grant Morrison is a genius. A genius on cocaine that has produced some mind-altering and revolutionary work that no writer before has ever produced. His takes on the X-Men, Batman, Sebastian O, The Justice League, and Animal Man are mind-blowingly good. Now I wish I mentioned something from Mr. Morrison, but it’s a perfect time to do so now. Besides his first run with the New X-Men with E is for Extinction, his All-Star Superman entitled the “Twelve Labours of Superman” is one of the definitive tales of the Man of Steel. After absorbing too much radiation from the Sun and gaining almost nigh indestructible powers, he find out he is going to die. He then seeks to live a legacy of unfathomable accomplishments before he perishes. Along the way, his interactions with Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and his parents provide an epic, yet human tale that fleshes out the best of the Superman character. A must read for any fan of storytelling. Very accessible too.
The Sandman is a sprawling piece of work. Lauded as one of the best masterpieces of the graphic novel medium by writer extraordinaire Neil Gaiman. But again, it’s over 10 volumes and 75 issues and it’s not self-contained like a true graphic novel. For a teaser, check out The Sandman: Endless Nights in which it focuses a vignette of each of the godlike entities: Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destruction, and Destiny. These are stories that are mastered by telling human stories interacting with the gods. They vary, but they are entertaining and provide a glimpse on a masterpiece.