EW Releases List of 10 Greatest Graphic Novels With One I’ve Never Heard Of
Last week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly took a summer vacation by skipping out on most of its content and instead running lists of the “All-Time Greatest” movies, books, TV shows, etc. Each medium got a list of 100 items, each with a few sentences of description.
It seems like quickly assembled, low-effort discussion bait, meant to increase hit counts as comments debate what was left out. (And as a double issue, that meant no fresh content for two weeks, so I wasn’t a happy subscriber.) I skimmed through it quickly, until I hit the sidebar addition of “10 Greatest Graphic Novels”. They are as follows, credits as listed in the magazine and my kibitzing in parentheses:
- Maus by Art Spiegelman (also appears as #33 on the overall book list)
- The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn by Herge
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
- Sandman by Neil Gaiman (and some artists they don’t bother to name)
- Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
- Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi (not as well known as her Persepolis, but a shorter, stronger book)
- Blankets by Craig Thompson
- Mendel’s Daughter by Martin Lemelman
- Stitches by David Small (a horrible book, badly paced, and not living up to the revelations it promises, but it’s trendy graphic memoir with a shocking real-life event)
- Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
I have no quibbles with most of this list; heck, it resembles mine. Most of the choices are safe, praised and acclaimed by the literary circles that have dabbled in graphic novels. I was stunned, though, that they’d name something I’d never even heard of to the list, since I do try to keep up, even if I don’t like the book. Yet Mendel’s Daughter was a complete surprise to me. Has anyone read it? Or even heard of it?
Based on its Amazon description, it sounds like a wannabe Maus, a son’s memoir of his mother’s experience with the Nazis in 1930s Poland. It resembles illustrated text as much as comics, but some readers (particularly those not as familiar with comics) like that sort of thing more, since they always know which direction to read and don’t get confused by the panels. It’s text-focused, which to me, doesn’t have the full impact of the comic integration of word and art. Not something I need to run out and read, and not something that seems to belong on this list, which is already memoir-heavy (six of the ten).