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Graphic Novel Friday: Summer Reading

Northern Ontario may not be the first place Omni readers think of when it comes to planning summer vacations, but it’s the only destination for me. This summer, my family will celebrate the 50th anniversary of our cabin in the woods, and part of what makes this place so special is its bookshelves. There are covers and spines throughout the cabin that I have vacationed with for years: Nabokov and Stephen King share a shelf; Sophie’s Choice sits next to Cat’s Cradle; some years, Zippy the Pinhead and Sideways Stories from Wayside School function more as coasters than nostalgic reading, but it’s the familiarity (and smell) of all these books that helps make the summer experience--especially when the weather turns inevitably dreary. But there’s always the chance of discovering a title tucked behind the stacks, hidden by a family member for someone to eventually read over a beverage and a snack.

Several years ago, I started to bring my own selections to the cabin with the hope that they would sustain for the next generation. Barring a luggage weight test, here is what I have stuffed in my backpack and duffel:

B.P.R.D.: 1947 by Mike Mignola, Joshua Dysart, Gabriel Bá, and Fábio Moon (Dark Horse): It’s been so tough to save this one, but I know the lyrical horror collection will make for excellent late-night reading. I admit that I peeked at the interiors, and it looks like brothers Bá and Moon handle artistic duties on separate plots within the story--sometimes even on the same page. This one goes in the duffel so I won’t be tempted to read it on the plane.

Weathercraft by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics): I am woefully ignorant when it comes to Woodring’s Frank comics, and this looks like the weirdest place to start. Will pair with an after-dinner drink.

Dungeon Quest: Book One by Joe Daly (Fantagraphics): After The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, I will read anything Joe Daly produces.

Queen & Country: The Definitive Edition, Vol. 1 by Greg Rucka, et al (Oni): Another series I’ve been meaning to start, and the complex plot will carry me through the five-hour flight. I contemplated bringing Vol. 2 as well, but that second pair of jeans won out instead.

Troublemaker by Janet and Alex Evanovich and Joëlle Jones (Dark Horse): Beach read! Yes, there are beaches in the Great White North, and I am very curious to see how the Evanoviches’ popular series translates to four-color. In terms of early reviews, I haven’t heard a peep, but her fans have kept this one atop the Bestsellers in Comics and Graphic Novels.

Revolver by Matt Kindt (Vertigo): I loved Kindt’s 3 Story, and Revolver’s plot sounds like the perfect vacation thriller: Journalist Sam goes to sleep at the end of his normal day and wakes up in a post-apocalyptic nightmare. Then, he falls asleep again and wakes up in his humdrum life. Is it all a dream, and if so, which is the reality? Inception fans hoping to chase that dreamy buzz need look no further.

Criminal, Vol. 5: The Sinners by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Marvel): This series has yet to disappoint, and I cannot recommend it enough. Crime and comics; I plan to gobble this one up in a single evening.

Undeleted Scenes by Jeffrey Brown (Top Shelf): This collection of miscellany and rarities will make for perfect evening reading when I’m too tired for a full narrative and only want to sample quick moments in the life of one of my favorite authors.

Werewolves on the Moon: Versus Vampires by David Land and Matt and Shawn Fillbach (Dark Horse): For the title alone.

I’m also taking the 2010 Music Issue of The Believer (another annual tradition), which comes with a CD filled with music that will make me feel completely out of touch, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (I think I’m the only person in the office who has yet to read this). Hopefully, this will all pass customs. Last year, the pleasant but stern border guards demanded I open up my cooler after I assured them that I wasn’t smuggling fish into their country, only comics. Wait until they get a load of Werewolves on the Moon.

Anything else I should pick up on my way to the airport?

--Alex

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