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Graphic novels

Sure, many are fun escapism. But others tackle serious topics.

December 04, 2011
  • "Government Issue"
"Government Issue" (Abrams Comicart )

The Batman Files

Matthew K. Manning

Andrews McMeel, $100

A vivid assortment of "files" on everything in Bruce Wayne's world — gadgetry, enemies, police records, dossiers — collected by Wayne as a guide for helping his future successor.

Government Issue

Comics for the People, 1940s-2000s

Richard L. Graham

Abrams Comicarts, $29.95

How U.S. government agencies have used comic characters — Lil Abner in the Navy, for example, or Bert the Turtle surviving an atomic blast — to spread information to the public.


Craig Thompson

Pantheon, $35

The epic story of the lives of two refugees, trapped in a world of dunes and deserts.

The Joker

Daniel Wallace, introduction by Mark Hamill

Universe, $50

A fascinating look at the evolution of Batman's arch-nemesis from clownish criminal to grisly madman with a cadaver's smile.


Art Spiegelman

Pantheon, $35

A lavish deconstruction of his magnum opus, the prize-winning graphic memoir "Maus," on the 25th anniversary of the publication of the first part.

The New 52

DC Comics, $150

A necessity for any fan: DC's reboot of its line of superhero comics comes in a single hardcover omnibus edition containing all of the first issues.

1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die

The Ultimate Guide to Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Manga

Paul Gravett (general editor)

Universe, $36.95

This catalog of comic greats includes not only the expected ones — early Spider-Man or Flash Gordon — but others from around the world, including Les Naufragés du Temps ("Lost in Time") and Kaliman, El Hombre Increible ("The Incredible Man").

Return to Perdition

Max Allan Collins, art by Terry Beatty

Vertigo Crime, $19.99

In this sequel to Collins' "Road to Perdition," a young mob hit man discovers the identity of his grandfather and learns that he can't outrun his family's past.

The Someday Funnies

Edited by Michael Choquette

Abrams Comicarts, $55

A singular collection of comic strips remembering the cultural turmoil and political and sexual unrest of life in the 1960s.

The Spider-Man Vault

A Musuem-in-a-Book With Rare Collectibles Spun From Marvel's Web

Peter A. David and Robert Greenberger

Marvel Comics, $49.95

A comprehensive history of everyone's favorite webhead, accompanied by images and removable features.

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