Graphic Novel Friday: What I Read Over Summer Vacation

Regular Graphic Novel Friday readers might be aware of my annual summer trip into the Canadian wilderness, where I unplug at a family cabin and read as many comics as I can. This year the weather was especially uncooperative, which made for fine morning, noon, and night reading. Upon my return, a nutritional detox was necessary but I read an especially healthy batch of books, including:

  • Saga, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples: Like everyone, I wondered if Vaughan and Staples could possibly top their Vol. 1 efforts (which we selected as one of our Top 10 Best of the Year picks in 2012), and like just about everyone, I was so happy to see the indie duo succeed. There is more charm, fantasy, action, science fiction, romance, and grotesquely nude giants in this volume than any comic on the planet. It’s the best ongoing comic that I read, and I gobbled it up before anything else this summer.

  • Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust and Kim Thompson: Being one of the late Thompson’s final translation efforts makes this a must-read—plus, that title. Graphic memoirist Ulli Lust recounts her 1984 journey across Italy, which is nowhere as idyllic as it sounds. Lust is a broke, defiant punk at the time, and the aggressive sexuality she endures is shocking. She travels without passport, money, or GPS, and it’s an adventure that makes me glad I have all three.

  •  The Daniel Clowes Reader by Ken Parille: As a Clowes scholar, Parille is without parallel and this hefty paperback showcases his devotion to the celebrated cartoonist. For example, the study of Ghost World is 150 pages—complete with a reprint of the source material, interviews, annotations, essays, and miscellany. Parille’s essay on “Clowes and Advertising in the 1990s” is a highlight.

  • Hawkeye: Little Hits, Vol. 2 by Matt Fraction, David Aja, and more: Like Saga, this is another second volume in the shadow of its former’s greatness, and yet it’s just as fun—especially the game-changing Pizza Dog chapter, told from the perspective of Hawkeye’s canine sidekick. Stylistically, it’s the chapter by which all comics in 2013 should be measured. Bro!

  • B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth Volume 6: Return of the Master by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Tyler Crook: Before I go to bed in the deep woods, I like a scare or two, and Dark Horse’s Hellyboy universe rarely disappoints. Sure, the B.P.R.D. books have been somewhat aimless lately, but everything gets back on the spooky track in this volume, with twists aplenty and enough horror to keep me reaching for that night-light. Crook’s art officially comes into its own here.

How about you, Omni readers--what have you been reading the past few weeks?


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