Saturday, November 7, 2015

Ten Great Graphic Novels Being Sold on Amazon for a Penny

As I discussed in my previous entry, Reading As an Addiction, I’ve digested an inordinate amount of books and graphic novels over the years. To better support my habit I have a rule in that I never buy a book when it first comes out. Give it enough time and the price will always go down. Thus I can get four to five older books for the price of that new release. If I’m lucky, the price on that book has dropped a ridiculous amount, often to a penny. So for those of you who must feed the literary monkey on your back, here are ten great graphic novels being sold on Amazon for one cent.

Three Fingers by Rich Koslowski- This is a fun, behind the scenes, pseudo-documentary of the cartoon scene, where toons live alongside humans as second-class citizens. Mimicking a television expose’s hyperbolic format, Koslowski alternates confessional head shots of interviewees with "archival" stills that narrate the history of toons in film. It chronicles the rise of a Walt Disney character and his greatest actor, Ricky Rat, and the terrible secret they have.

Suburban Nightmares: The Science Experiment by Larry Hancock, Micheal Cherkas, & John Van Bruggen- A collection of nine stories from the independent comic of the same name. The running theme here is one of the paranoia of post-war 1950s America manifesting in anti-communist hysteria, the atomic bomb, aliens, all wrapped in a suburban setting. The art here is distinct, sticking with Cherkas standard black and white blocky style, which adds another level to the paranoia of the series.

2024 by Ted Rall-  An adaptation of Orwell's 1984 to fit modern times. Rall does an amazing job here in staying true to the feel of dread surrounding Winston, but operating in a strictly capitalist, rather than socialist, society. Where Orwell’s Big Brother wanted a country where every person was completely focused on the goals of the party, in Rall’s interpretation total distraction is the party’s plan, where the citizens are so immersed in consumer crap that they don’t care what the powers-that-be are up to.

Volcanic Revolver by Scott Morse- 1930s New York is a dangerous place to be. Crime lords battle for control of the streets, and the web of corruption extends from the docks through the media and up to the highest levels of government and religion. Though just one player in the city's grand drama, Vincenzo is skilled in many arts. He paints, runs a bakery, and runs a secret counterfeiting operation. When a rival mob family sends a bomb into Vincenzo's shop, it starts a chain of events that shakes up the underworld and leads to an elaborate plot for vengeance.

Strangehaven- Arcadia by Gary Spencer Millidge - Alex Hunter crashes his car to avoid an apparition in the winding road. When he awakens he finds himself in Strangehaven, a gently off-kilter village that he first doesn't want to leave - and then finds himself entirely unable to escape. He soon encounters some of the village's bizarre inhabitants. This is a greatly underappreciated story by a master artist, and his work keeps getting better and better. While this story takes its time, I feel that it is worth the journey.

M by John J Muth & Adam Kempenaar- Based upon the Fritz Lang film of the same name, about the hunt for a pedophile haunting the streets of Berlin in the 1930s, ending with a very intense trial scene. While the action is the same as the movie, what brings this graphic novel out are the photorealistic paintings, making this an unforgettable story. 

Crecy by Warren Ellis & Raulo Caceres- This the story of the battle at Crecy in France where the smaller army of England’s Edward the III faced the seemingly overwhelming forces of Philip the IV of France, yet England prevailed, cutting down “the flower of French Chivalry” in an afternoon and, reportedly, spawned the use of England’s two finger salute. Told from the perspective of foot soldier, this is a fascinating tale filled with all sorts of historical tidbits.

Rocketo- Journey to the Hidden Sea Vol 1 by Frank Espinosa & Marie Taylor- In a far flung destroyed earth, where the magnetic poles no longer exist, the Mappers chart the new seas. After returning from a war a broken man, Rocketo Garrison is swept away on a journey to the Hidden Sea, a fabled land that may hold the key to an ancient mystery. This is truly a different story, filled with tons of imagination and flair, and a unique illustrative style. 

Solstice by Steven T. Seagle - An off putting business mogul goes on a trip for the Fountain of Youth in South America, after discovering that he has brain cancer. His son Hugh goes with him, his other son having committed suicide years earlier due to the father’s incessant bullying. As the book opens, Hugh is making a one-handed attempt to keep his father from falling to his death on the summer solstice in equatorial Chile. Hugh fails to save Russell, but only after relaying the backstory in a tangle of crisscrossing flashbacks.

Clover Honey by Rich Tommaso- This is not the revised, redrawn twentieth anniversary version of the book, but its original presentation- that I felt needed very alteration. Abigail is an aspiring hitwoman out to prove her value to the family. She braves the wilds of Newark, overpriced parking, traffic jams, and bad hair days to track down Trevor, her former mentor, who is on the lam with a big briefcase of mob dough.
Hope you’ve found something that peaks your interest. For more suggestions check out the What I've Been Reading  page