Graham's picks

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Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Box Set By Hayao Miyazaki Cover Image
$70.00
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ISBN: 9781421550640
Published: VIZ Media LLC - November 6th, 2012

This is THE speculative graphic epic. The legendary anime director penned this graphic novel before pitching the film of the same name, and it encompasses a much vaster story and world. With incredible, unique world-building, breathtaking dip-pen illustrations, and messages about human nature, technology, and faith that feel shockingly prescient for a comic from the eighties. Everyone who loves comics or science fiction owes it to themselves to read this story, and this box set is the cheapest way to do so.


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Prince of Cats By Ron Wimberly, Ron Wimberly (Artist) Cover Image
By Ron Wimberly, Ron Wimberly (Artist)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534312074
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Image Comics - June 25th, 2019

Romeo and Juliet, retold from Tybalt's perspective, and filtered through hip-hop culture and samurai flicks. Wimberly's dialogue matches the tone and style of the original perfectly, even when one of his characters is giving tips on how to eat a bomb-pop suggestively.


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Sazan & Comet Girl (Omnibus) By Yuriko Akase Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781645052999
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Seven Seas - September 15th, 2020

Manga fans don't often get a complete epic story in one volume, and rarer still do we see manga printed in full, glorious watercolor. Sazan delivers both! This comic has something for everyone: whimsy, action, romance, and likable characters in a fun setting. It's shocking that this is Akase's first work, because it feels first and foremost like the Eighties anime film you never saw.


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Gnomon By Nick Harkaway Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525432937
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Vintage - December 4th, 2018

What begins as a straightforward dystopian noir quickly expands into something of a short story collection. But the myriad characters -- a Greek banker, an African artist, an alchemist in the Roman Empire, and a far-future hyper-consciousness -- together form a larger picture which spells out an answer to the inciting mystery. It's like Huxley on a strong dose of Western esotericism: a hermetic meta-novel that blurs the lines between people, stories, memories, ideas, and data. This is a story that will change the shape of your mind.


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Beautiful Darkness By Kerascoët, Fabien Vehlmann, Helge Dascher (Translated by) Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781770463363
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Drawn and Quarterly - October 30th, 2018

There is nothing in any medium quite like Beautiful Darkness, yet it comes from the same recesses of the id as all ancient fairy tales. Through pristine, seemingly innocent watercolors, the artists present a haunting allegory that is made visceral through splashes of sudden, shocking violence.


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BTTM FDRS By Ezra Claytan Daniels, Ben Passmore Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781683962069
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Fantagraphics - June 25th, 2019

Though it's fair to say this is a socially-conscious horror story of the sort that's come to dominate the genre in the wake of Get Out, it would be unfair to discount all that BTTM FDRS brings to the table -- its likable, flawed, humorous characters, and its fresh combination of cartoony art with vivid body horror.


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The Magician's Land: A Novel (Magicians Trilogy #3) By Lev Grossman Cover Image
$17.00
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ISBN: 9780147516145
Published: Penguin Books - June 9th, 2015

Everyone knows the feeling of finding a story that seems to be about you specifically, and how it resonates with your core. This is what the Magicians trilogy was for me. So it's especially hard to offer a recommendation that isn't firmly rooted in my own blinkered experience, but -- if you were a "gifted and talented" kid who became a deadbeat adult, if you grew up reading Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia, and you thus feel you may have been ill-prepared for real life, with all its directionless drudgery and shapeless ennui -- this book will resonate with you too.


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Daybreak By Brian Ralph Cover Image
$21.95
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ISBN: 9781770463837
Published: Drawn and Quarterly - October 22nd, 2019

Nothing quite like Daybreak has ever been attempted, previously or since: a zombie flick told in first person, with the characters addressing you, the reader, and your perspective shifting rapidly as you flee from flesh-eaters. Brief moments of humor and humanity break up scenes of terror. The last page will leave you breathless; it's probably my favorite ending to a graphic novel.


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Wolf in White Van: A Novel By John Darnielle Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250074713
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Picador - September 1st, 2015

As an obsessive follower of Darnielle's band The Mountain Goats, I was not particularly surprised to learn that the man could also write a mean novel. Wolf in White Van is a harrowing but propulsive read. The chapters, presented in reverse-chronological order, bring you closer and closer to an unnamable event, like planets drawn into a black hole. At its core you find a meditation on the inexplicability, the senselessness, of self-destruction.


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Die Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker By Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans (Artist) Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781534312708
Availability: Backordered
Published: Image Comics - June 11th, 2019

A story of escapism gone horribly wrong that inverts the fun of tabletop role-playing games into horror. I don't frequently enjoy comics that are serialized as single issues, because the need to advance each plot-line meaningfully within 22 pages can lead to some cramped pages and rushed storytelling. Gillen and Hans make it look like a cakewalk, though. Between artist Stephanie Hans's exquisitely painted panels and writer Kieron Gillen's exquisitely painted characters, Die will grab your heart.


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This One Summer By Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator), Mariko Tamaki Cover Image
By Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator), Mariko Tamaki
$18.99
ISBN: 9781596437746
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: First Second - May 6th, 2014

The first graphic novel to win a Caldecott, This One Summer is a thoughtful, richly textured read, perfect for a teen, mature middle-grade reader, or an adult who wants to remember how being twelve feels. Its serene, effortless illustrations and naturalistic dialogue belie a roil of emotion just below the water's surface.


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Maggie the Mechanic: A Love and Rockets Book (The Complete Love and Rockets Library) By Jaime Hernandez Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781560977841
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Fantagraphics - March 17th, 2007

From the pages of the Hernandez brothers' long-running Love and Rockets, the Locas stories -- starting with this volume -- chronicle a group of Latina punks through decades of love, heartbreak, and growth. Over the years, as the characters and the author age, Locas slips fluidly between sci-fi pulp, slice of life, drama, thriller, and magical realism. Locas will remain forever a singular achievement in comics.


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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: A Novel By Susanna Clarke Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9781635576726
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - August 11th, 2020

This is what you would get if Jane Austen wrote fantasy -- a rollicking, unpredictable, and highly discursive tale of powerful magic and petty rivalry. The greatest delight are the footnotes, which take you on a tour through an alternate-history Regency England that was once split into two kingdoms under the rule of the mysterious and wizardly Raven King.


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Howl's Moving Castle (World of Howl #1) By Diana Wynne Jones Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780061478789
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Greenwillow Books - April 22nd, 2008

It sounds like heresy to say that the book might be even better than the movie when the movie is a Hayao Miyazaki film. But there you have it. The greatest difference with the screen adaptation is that Jones's Howl and Sophie are flawed, haughty characters, which in a way makes them that much more likable. This is literary comfort food, whether you're ten years old or, like poor ensorcelled Sophie, a young heart in an aging body.


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Never Let Me Go (Vintage International) By Kazuo Ishiguro Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781400078776
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Vintage - March 14th, 2006

Much has been said of this book, so I don't know if I have anything to add, except: this is the only book that has ever left me crying for hours. It could be called a quiet but searing exploration of societal repression, of othering; it could be called a poignant allegory for the human condition, for living-unto-death. But before it is either of those things, it is simply the story of parentless children trying to make sense of their place in a world not quite like ours -- a story that will be with you forever once you've read it.


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Rice Boy By Evan Dahm (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Evan Dahm (Illustrator)
$30.00
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ISBN: 9781945820106
Published: Iron Circus Comics - February 27th, 2018

If you've ever wanted something like a bedtime myth, but weirder, Rice Boy is here for you, a whirlwind tour of  otherworldly locations featuring endearingly odd characters navigating their roles in a long-deferred play of fate.


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Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume By Jeff Smith (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jeff Smith (Illustrator)
$44.95
ISBN: 9781888963144
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Cartoon Books - November 1st, 2010

Jeff Smith is the comic world's Tolkien -- if Tolkien were a good character writer, and if instead of hobbits, his world were populated with figures seemingly transported from Scrooge McDuck. The combination of both cartoony and human protagonists, surrounded by high-fantasy trappings and bound for magical destinies, works better than you might think, and what begins as a charming little jaunt becomes one of the medium's greatest epics.


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Weeaboo By Alissa M. Sallah Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781620109397
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Oni Press - November 16th, 2021

A loving, knowing, occassionally tongue-in-cheek ode to Japanophilia and fandom, Weeaboo somehow also manages to be a nuanced and believable portrait of three teens on the cusp of adulthood, navigating broken home lives and shifting gender identities. At the intersection of the two threads in this balancing act, Weeaboo lays bare the problematic aspects of otaku culture, such as colorism in cosplay, while also celebrating its positive roles: as a space for self-discovery, as an avenue for needed escapism, and as a foundation for the meaningful bonds that carry our protagonists through the dark corridors of adolescense.


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Blancaflor, the Hero with Secret Powers: A Folktale from Latin America: A Toon Graphic By Nadja Spiegelman, Sergio García Sánchez (Illustrator), F. Isabel Campoy (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Nadja Spiegelman, Sergio García Sánchez (Illustrator), F. Isabel Campoy (Introduction by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781943145553
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Toon Graphics - September 14th, 2021

This delightful children's graphic novel is also, at 45 pages, short enough to serve as a single-sitting read-aloud for younger kids. The lively illustrations, by turns playful and striking, alongside clever compositions and page layouts, make it an enjoyable read for comics enthusiasts of all ages. The writing succesfully evokes the timeless feeling of a fairytale, while expressing a modern theme of love through self-acceptance. As with other Toon Graphics releases, the story is bookended by a few pages of historical context and cultural analysis; these are engaging and accessible, and offer an avenue towards broader discussions with curious children. Parents should note that one scene depicts the titular princess holding a sword against her stomach in a moment of despair: though not graphic, this moment could prove upsetting to younger or more sensitive readers.


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Night Fisher By R. Kikuo Johnson Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781683964704
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Fantagraphics - October 12th, 2021

Masterful brushwork; lived-in environments; chiaroscuro compositions that brilliantly balance richness and sparcity. Nail-biting scenes propelled by careful, deliberate pacing, brought to life with naturalistic dialogue and character acting. And a sense of place so strong that the island-paradise Hawaii of popular stereotypes is completely flushed from your mind. It's truly hard to imagine this book is Johnson's first release, because every page is a masterclass on visual storytelling. Its nondidactic story, simple enough on the surface, churns with class tensions and adolescent confusion. Night Fisher leaves you with not much more than an incandescently vivid slice of life, like your own teenaged memories, compressed by the passage of time into raw, irreducable feeling.


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Among Others: A Novel By Jo Walton, Ursula K. Le Guin (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Jo Walton, Ursula K. Le Guin (Introduction by)
$16.99
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ISBN: 9781250237767
Published: Tor Books - March 3rd, 2020

Such a dear book! Walking the line between a fantasy novel and a novel about fantasy novels, 'Among Others' starts where a conventional YA fantasy would end. Scottish teen Mori has (probably) saved the world from her power-hungry witch mother, and in the struggle, her sister was killed and her hip broken. Now, as told through journal entries, she contends with meeting her absent father, enrolling in an English girls' school, healing from her injury, and mourning her twin, trials which she navigates through the framework of the sci-fi and fantasy stories she devours obsessively. Real-world spells, she tells us, don't work like they do in books -- they act indirectly, in ways that always leave room for plausible deniability. While she (probably) does do magic and (probably) does converse with faeries, the bulk of the novel is cozily (and sometimes heartbreakingly) quotidian, resulting in a sweet coming-of-age story shot through with occasional veins of beautiful, mythic fantasy.