20 graphic novels everyone should read – part 1

Soooo… this one started with the post of Katerina Stamati, who aired her favourite comics and graphic novels and challenged a bunch of others (including myself) to do the same. And I figured… nice idea, why not – after all new book recommendations are worth the weight of the particular book in gold.

Two things before I get started. Firstly, the order of the books is random and secondly, as I’m the kind who buys graphic novels for the artwork, more than half of the ones I’m recommending I haven’t technically read, because they are in French (of which my understanding is very rudimentary).

Here we go.

  1. “Groenland-Manhattan” by Chloé Cruchaudet (Ed. Delcourt)


In 1897, explorer Robert Peary returns to New York after his voyage to Greenland and brings along 5 Inuits, who are housed at the basement of the Natural History Museum…

It is based on a true story (one can look up Minik Wallace, to learn more details), but the story is not mentioned in any encyclopaedia articles about Robert Peary.

2. “De Profundis” by Chanouga (ed. Paquet)

de profundis

To be honest, I never really understood what this story is about. But the artwork is so poetic and absolutely gorgeous that I never really cared. Let’s just say that there is a lonely sailor and many mermaids…

3. “Weapons of Mass Diplomacy” by Lanzac &Blain (FR -Dargaud/ EN -SelfMadeHero)

weapons of mass diplomacy

The insanity of international politics and diplomacy in graphic novel form, narrated by Abel Lanzac, (real-life diplomat Antonin Baudry), who worked in French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2002-2004. Deeply satirical, so anyone who’s sniggered at ‘Yes, Minister’ or ‘The Thick of it’, will most probably enjoy it.

4. “Rebetiko” by Prudhomme (FR – Futuropolis / EN – SelfMadeHero)


Story of rebetiko musicians in Athens in 1936 and stunning artwork to go with it.

5. “Nocturno” by Tony Sandoval (ed. Paquet)


I’m normally not a huge fan of ‘dark’ comics, but “Nocturno” is an exception. Partly, because my understanding of French is poor and partly because the artwork is just so damn great. Whoever said that one has to keep the same style throughout the book?

6. “Periode glaciaire” by Nicolas de Crecy (ed. Futuropolis)


Looking back to our days from a far and frozen future. De Crecy is a superb watercolorist and freehand architecture renderer, who needs no more than 2-3 colours to bring any story alive.

7. “Le Jardin D’Hiver” by Dillies & La Padula (ed. Paquet)


A beautiful and poetic story about love and loneliness in a city.

8. “Taste of Chlorine” by Bastien Vives (FR – Casterman / EN – Jonathan Cape)

smagen af klor

Boy meets girl in a swimming pool. And again and again, and then… Bastien Vives is one of the most talented young French graphic novelists and definitely the most productive one.

9. “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan (ed. Hodder Children’s Books)


“The Arrival” is a silent book, meaning that you won’t encounter a single word on its 128 pages. However, it shows how it feels to emigrate to another country out of need.

10. “Sambre – Maudit soit le fruit de ses entrailles” by Yslaire (book 5) (ed. Glénat)


For the second time in this post I’ll be making an exception to a ‘dark’ comic. The truth is that I wouldn’t have bought ‘Sambre’ for the story alone (as I got mine from Danish book sales, I’m actually able to read it), but I do like the red-sepia-black artwork. I also didn’t get the other volumes for the very reason that I didn’t like their artwork which was slightly different.

Aaaand the first 10 are done.

Next 10 soon to come..