To celebrate National Book Day in Canada, we’ve compiled a list of five of the best comics to read today and any day for that matter.
Written By: Scott McCloud Art By: Scott McCloud Price: $34.50 CAD
One of the best graphic novels ever written, The Sculptor tells the story of a struggling artist named David Smith who makes a deal with a shadowy figure in exchange for the ability to sculpt anything with his bare hands. The catch is that by agreeing to the offer, David also agrees to die in two years time. While it may seem like a weighty and out-there concept, The Sculptor is a surprisingly grounded tale that explores the themes of life, death, love, legacy through its cast of engaging characters. The Sculptor is also emotionally rich, and it provides readers many questions to ponder over its 496-page count.
What’s more, it’s written and drawn by renowned comics theorist, Scott Mcloud, the author of Understanding Comics (1993), Reinventing Comics (2000), and Making Comics (2006). Overall, The Sculptor is a tour-de-force and one of the most relatable and lofty graphic novels in existence. Also, the book is currently listed at $14.95 CAD on Amazon, which is more than 50% off its Canadian retail price. You pretty much owe it to yourself to pick it up.
Written By: Jeff Lemire Art By: Jeff Lemire Price: $26.99 CAD
Like The Sculptor,Roughneck is grounded mostly in reality, but it also introduces concepts and facts of life that most people don’t face or even consider. The book tells the story of a brother and a sister who come together after a troubled childhood and has them facing the demons that they are trying to forget. Roughneck paints a harrowingly real portrait of addiction and the effect that it has on people’s lives. It also focuses on the discrimination and hardships that Indigenous peoples face in a thoughtful and eye-opening fashion.
In many ways, Roughneck serves as a spotlight on the dark side of Canadian culture, as it focuses on the mistreatment of indigenous peoples as a well as the tole that being a hockey fighter takes. The book also serves as a tribute to the late, great Canadian musician Gord Downey who passed away last year after his battle with cancer. The fact is that you don’t have to be Canadian or a hockey fan to enjoy this book. Jeff Lemire knocks it out of the park and it’s certainly worth the read.
DC Universe: Legacies
Written By: Len Wein
Art By: Various
Price: $27.99 CDN
Written by the late great Len Wein, and drawn by a bevy of top comics talent, Legacies follows a family throughout all of the major happenings in DC Comics history. While that may sound like an intimidating task, Legacies succeeds because it focuses on the lives of everyday people affected by a world with superheroes, and shifts the history to the background. That being said, if you are a Comics fan or someone who knows about major events like the Death of Superman, then Legacies is even more of a treat as it is full of winks, nods and straight up superhero history. Art-wise, Legacies also soars, as it features a number of different artists with unique styles to tell stories from every era of the DC Universe.
The fact is that Legacies does a stellar job of celebrating DC’s storied history while also blazing its own path. It’s also in many ways a celebration of Len Wein and his storied life as a creator and person. If you’re curious about superhero comics or are a lifetime fan this is definitely a book worth reading.
Y: The Last Man Book One
Written By: Brian K. Vaughan Art By: Pia Guerra Price: 23.99 CAD
The only book on this list that isn’t a complete story in one package, Y: The Last Man Volume One has a simple premise: What if every creature with a Y chromosome suddenly dropped dead, except for an escape artist named Yorick Brown and his monkey companion Ampersand? Over the course of its 50+ issue run Y: The Last Man examines the ramifications of almost half of the world’s population dying, in a thoughtful and immensely engaging way. Artist Pia Guerra’s art is simply breathtaking and understated. Her line work is tight but the muted colours inject a sense of melancholy and eerieness to the world of Y: The Last Man.
Released back in the early 2000’s the series won three Eisner Awards and is an intense page-turner that constantly leaves you wanting to read just one more chapter. Y: The Last Man is also a funny book, but one that earns its humour through its socially relevant story and enthralling world. Y: The Last Man? Because it’s simply fantastic.
Written By: Geoff Johns Art By: Ivan Reis Price: $25.99 CAD
Superhero event comics have a track record of being notoriously hit and miss. For every great event like Infinite Crisis, we tend to get two or three duds, like last years Secret Empire. That being said, Blackest Night is very much the exception to this rule as it is one of the best event comics of all time, and one of the most engaging and exciting superhero stories ever told. Written by Geoff Johns with Art by Ivan Reis, the series introduces the Black Lanterns, a new lantern core with the ability to command the dead and who possess the goal of assimilating the universe. Basically, it’s a superhero zombie book, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun.
Where some event books are slow and methodical with their pacing, Blackest Night is the complete opposite. The series throws you right into the creepy zombie action and never really lets its foot off the gas. Most importantly though, Blackest Night is a series that felt like it had stakes and throughout the course of its seven issue run a number of well known DC Comics characters ended up dying, in gruesome ways to boot. The event is very the pinnacle of Geoff Johns storied run on Green Lantern and a great introduction to the world of quality superhero comics.
What are your favourite Comic Books? And how are you spending National Book Day? Let us know in the comments below!