The New Generation of Graphic Novels


Many of you are familiar, at least in passing, of the medium known as graphic novels or comic books. Some of you, myself included, might even read those on a semi-regular basis. In the era of the Internet, those of us with a taste for such things have found a new way to read and enjoy this medium: the webcomic. Webcomics are much like the strips found in the newspaper in that they are released on a sort of regular basis, depending on the author, and follow a general story arc. They are usually self-published, and as such they have a lot more freedom; there variety of webcomics out there and at least one for every taste. Like comic strips, some of these have also been put into print. Here are three that I personally really appreciate and would highly recommend.

Gunnerkrigg Court  This comic, written by Tom Siddell,  tells the story of Antimony "Annie" Carver.  Antimony attends a rather different school, where a mix of science and magic provides the basis for enough mysteries and adventure to satisfy any appetite. Also, there are robots and a Trickster figure. What else do you need?

Girl Genius  A clever Steampunk comic with an interesting twist as Agatha, the heroine, adventures through the mad mechanical world written by Kaja & Phil Foglio. Watch out for Jägermonsters! It won 2008's Best Comic, Outstanding Writer, and Best Environment Design from the Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards.

Hark, A Vagrant!  Clever riffs on history and literature as well as modern culture, combined with tongue-in-cheek references to Internet memes make this book a must read. I laughed all the way through it, and loved the Jane Eyre references poking fun at Rochester. Kate Beaton, its author, also includes a comical riff on Pride and Prejudice, and as a big fan of Austen I found it to be both funny and apt. It has been named one of the top ten fiction books of the year by Time magazine.

The first two, Gunnerkrigg and Girl Genius, are updated Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays online, for your further reading pleasure.

~Lindsay T., Jamestown Bluffs Branch


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