PC-TAG invited me to the teachers’ breakfast last week in the Highland Park High School Library, where I was immediately drawn to the two shelves of graphic novels. There are some good selections there, but here are a few more recommended reads:
- It’s good to see you guys have one of the two seminal comics of the 1980s, The Dark Knight Returns. But what about that decade’s other masterpiece, Watchmen, which Time once declared one of the 100 best novels ever written? (And before you ask, no, I have not read any of the “Before Watchmen” series. Not interested.)
- I was delighted to see my favorite comic-book writer, Brian K. Vaughan, represented via Pride of Baghdad, a graphic novel based on the true-life story of a group of lions who escaped from an Iraqi zoo during the “shock and awe” campaign of 2003. Vaughan’s finest work, in my humble opinion, is Y: The Last Man, a series about what happens after a worldwide plague simultaneously kills every male mammal except a Gen-X slacker and his pet monkey. I also love Vaughan’s Doctor Strange: The Oath, an out-of-continuity tale about Marvel’s sorcerer supreme. (“Out of continuity” means you don’t have to buy a dozen other series to understand the book you’re reading. Sadly, this label does not apply to most of what Marvel and DC Comics publish these days.)
- Because Michael Chabon was once the keynote speaker at the Highland Park Literary Festival, I assume the library has a copy of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, his Pulitzer-winning novel about the early days of the comic-book industry. I see one volume of The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, which is a collection of comics about the superhero “created” by the fictional Kavalier and Clay. I recommend getting a copy of The Escapists, a comic written by Vaughan that serves as a sequel to Chabon’s novel.
- There are only two series that I’m buying regularly these days. One is Saga, a space fantasy written by my man-crush, but it’s so racy that I can’t in good conscience recommend it to high schoolers. The other is Daredevil, a traditional superhero series — written by the great Mark Ward — that is somehow immune to the crossover events that “will change the Marvel Universe forever” on a seemingly monthly basis.
OK, that’s enough geeking out for one morning. Time to get to work.