This…this has been a long journey! From brainstorming a list of potential candidates to whittle down to 100, writing up the entries and (my own solo mission) putting together the images this has been a real marathon. But when you look back through the list, notebook in hand to jot down your new reading list, I know it was worth it. To round things out we have the last of the genre books, mixed in with a couple that we couldn’t place in a single category. Enjoy!
#91 – Fray
Take an established character and put them in the future. Tale as old as time. In the hands of Joss Whedon, however, anything can feel fresh and exciting. Fray is the newest vampire slayer in a future where the Slayer mythology has been forgotten. Vampires are a daily menace for the citizens and Fray’s watcher is a demon. Most interestingly is her prophetic Slayer dreams went not to her, but her twin brother – now a vampire and her greatest foe. Pure. Whedon. Awesome.
#93 – 300
Frank Miller had an idea: he wanted to take a historical event and elevate it to the level of mythology. Working from the Battle of Thermopylae, the famous last stand of King Leonidas and a force of 300 warriors against the armies of Persia. In this landscape volume the Spartan soldiers are recast as ideologically driven fighting machines, clad in little more than a billowing red cape while the twisted Persian forces employ beasts and monsters. It’s awash with blood and gore, but it succeeds in its mission statement.
#94 – Blue is the Warmest Color
Blue is the Warmest Color, or Le bleu est une couleur chaude, is a hauntingly beautiful graphic novel by Julie Maroh about a teenage girl who falls in love and while discovering her sexuality, discovers herself as well. Recently adapted into a critically acclaimed film, Blue is a book that you can’t put down, even if you’re already seen the movie. Maroh didn’t just create a beautiful lesbian love story, she created a tribute to love and loss that anyone can identify with.
#95 – Usagi Yojimbo: The Ronin
Don’t be fooled by the cartoon animals, this is not a book of funnies or even wise-cracking critters. This is an epic tale set in the Edo era of Japan, following a Yojimbo as he comes travels the land. Due to a quirk during the design process the decision was made to make the character anthropomorphic animals, even though this has no bearing on the story or character work. It lifts ideas from Japanese legends and the films of Akira Kurosawa, and is awesome in every way.
#96 – Lost Girls
There’s no getting around it: this is porn. But to be fair it wasn’t meant to be anything but porn. Alan ‘Watchmen, V For Vendetta and From Hell’ Moore always likes to challenge himself, and one day he challenged himself with creating a pornographic book that could be classed as literature. Centred on the characters of Alice, Wendy and Dorothy (of Wonderland, Neverland and Oz fame respectively) as they reside in Austria at the beginning of WWI, the women recount their personal sexual awakenings. It’s a stunning volume, packed with twisted and powerful visuals by Melinda Gebbie and it takes a fresh look on the classic stories. Be warned though – things start out as graphic and descend into the downright disturbing.
5 more at the source
Since I totally slacked off with posting the other entries here they all are:
Part 1: DC Part 4: Marvel Part 7: Art Imitating Life and Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Part 2: DC Part 5: Marvel and Villains Part 8: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Part 3: DC and Marvel Part 6: Crooks & Spies and Art Imitating Life Part 9: Creative Ventures