Friday, May 25, 2012

Spotlight: Mystery Graphic Novels

Graphic Novels, like print books, cover a wide range of genre and tone, which means you don't have to be a fan of super heroes to check one out! Today we'll be focusing on graphic novels with appeal for mystery fans.

Earlier this month Andrew reviewed The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke, a graphic novel adaptation of the first book in Richard Stark's Parker series of mystery novels. The Hunter will be the topic of discussion at the next meeting of Carnegie-Stout's graphic novel discussion group, Graphic Content at 7:00 p.m. on June 12. You can read Andrew's full review of this gritty crime thriller by clicking here.

Ed Brubaker's Criminal series has a similar inspiration in hardboiled mysteries. The series is drawn by Sean Phillips, whose expressive style conveys the violence of the story without overwhelming gore. The series starts with Coward, Leo is a professional pickpocket known for his skills as a thief and in avoiding risky situations, but now he finds himself on the run.

Mr. Brubaker also writes superhero stories for Marvel, including the Gotham Central series, a police procedural set in the city famous as the home of Batman. Mr. Brubaker's coauthor on the series is Greg Rucka, who got his start writing suspenseful crime novels. Michael Lark is the artist, and his style is striking, reminiscent of shows like Law and Order. The story follows the men and women of the Gotham City police department as they try to do their jobs without the assistance (or interference) of Batman.

Evan Dorkin's Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites has received several Eisner Awards and a Harvey Award and was a 2011 selection by YALSA. The story of a group of dogs and cats who band together to solve supernatural mysteries. Mr. Dorkin is known for his humorous writing, and it's on display in this series. Jill Thompson created the excellent watercolor illustrations.

Blacksad by Juan Diaz Canales also features a feline investigator, though of the two-legged hardboiled PI variety. The series is set in 1950s America, with murder and kidnapping under the threat of Soviet attack. Illustrator Juanjo Guarnido's art is lush, emotive, and has a film noir feel.

The graphic novel collection even has titles for the True Crime aficionado. Green River Killer: a true detective story was written by Jeff Jensen whose father, Detective Tom Jensen, was in charge of the original investigation. Illustrator Jonathan Case's black and white art does not distract from the story.True Crime readers may also want to check out the work of Rick Geary. Mr. Geary has written about several high profile historic murders, including Lizzie Borden.

Batman, despite his costume, is a detective, and the new series by Scott Snyder, Court of Owls has more of that mystery flavor. Illustrator Greg Capullo has a high gloss superhero style to the art.

In John Layman's series Chew, Tony Chu works with the Special Crimes Division of the FDA (not a typo). When Mr. Chu eats, he's given a psychic vision of the food, which makes for some disturbing and darkly humorous investigations. Rob Guillory's illustrations have a cartoonish style that is both goofy and unsettling.

And finally, the beloved fictional author and amateur detective, Richard Castle, has a graphic novel adaptation of the equally fictional Derrick Storm, private eye. The team of Brian Michael Bendis, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Scott Hanna, and Dan Green do a fine job of bringing this action-packed television tie-in to life.

Please stop by the Recommendations Desk on the first floor, check out NoveList Plus on the library's website, or visit W. 11th & Bluff next week for more reading suggestions. Or submit a Personal Recommendations request, and we'll create a reading list just for you!

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