Textcast #7 My Personal Top 5 Volume 1

I decided while I was working on the Mugshots and staring at my bookshelf I should go through my collection and make a list of the best Trade Paperbacks that I own. Then it hit me, I could make a top 5 list of all of my favorite things while I work on the book and this one will be the first!
This Textcast is going to cover my top 5 favorite Trade Paperbacks (at least out of the ones that I own). I went through and carefully thought of reasons why I like them and why YOU should check them out. So let’s get this started shall we?
First of all I have to say the phrase GRAPHIC NOVEL is being warped lately. In my opinion a trade paperback covers a book that is either a collection of individual comics OR a solo one shot lone story. So I stick with TRADE PAPERBACK! People who call Watchmen a graphic novel are wrong in my book…it was 12 issues like a normal comic first…not one big book as it is now…
Lets walk on over to the bookshelf…

5. Daredevil: Guardian Devil

A tragic accident took his sight – but in return, enhanced Matt Murdock’s remaining senses far beyond human limits. An accomplished attorney by day, by night Murdock seeks justice outside the law as Daredevil, the Man Without Fear! When Marvel Knights took hold of this classic Marvel Comics character 10 years ago, the fledgling imprint redefined Daredevil for a new generation. In famed filmmaker Kevin Smith’s series debut, a scared teenager on the run places her baby in Matt Murdock’s hands. She claims her infant is humanity’s newborn savior, a true miracle child. Yet an elderly stranger soon confronts Murdock with some shockingly different news about this infant. While Daredevil attempts to separate fact from fiction, the deadly assassin Bullseye enters the fray, determined to capture the baby and leave the hero dead in the process! Collecting Daredevil #1-8.
Whenever anyone asks why I like Daredevil so much I always tell them to read this first. Kevin Smith introduces people to Matt Murdock with a brief introduction of his origin, a history of his loves, and a tragic ending at the hands of his biggest foe. This book covers so much ground and has so much emotion packed into it I can’t even go into it because I don’t want to ruin anything. It is fantastic and if you think daredevil is lame…read this and let me know.

4.  Pride of Baghdad

In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, Pride of Baghdad raises questions about the true meaning of liberation – can it be given, or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity?
This book took me by surprise when I bought it and it is forever burned into my memory. When we first went to war with Iraq, we bombed Baghdad taking out various buildings and in the process destroying their Zoo. This book covers the true story of three lions that escaped the zoo amidst the bombing and takes first hand accounts of witnesses of the lions and turns them into this heartbreaking book. The book is beautifully drawn and written and gives the three lions a personality that you fall in love with. This book actually got me teary and not many books do that to me, but this one got me. I want to thank my wife for getting me this for my birthday that year, its one I will never forget.

3. New X-Men: Omnibus

Sixteen million mutants dead… and that was just the beginning! In one bold stroke, writer Grant Morrison (The Invisibles, JLA, Fantastic Four: 1234) propelled the X-Men into the 21st century – masterminding a challenging new direction for Marvel’s mutant heroes that began with the destruction of Genosha and never let up. Regarded as the most innovative thinker of the current comic-book renaissance, Morrison proceeded to turn the mutant-hero genre on its ear. Gone were the gaudy spandex costumes – replaced by slick, black leather and an attitude to match. Now, his entire Eisner Award-nominated run on New X-Men is collected in one deluxe hardcover! Collects New X-Men #114-154 and Annual 2001
The book that made me love the X-Men. This book takes everything that got old and stale about the X-Men and makes it off the wall and wacky. Writer Grant Morrison takes the Xavier Institute and showcases all of its wild and weird mutants including a new one named Xorn. The school transforms from just being a hideout for the X-Men as it was in the 90’s into a huge populous of students similar to Hogwarts with the team as the teachers. Wolverine and Beast being the Hagrid, Xavier and Cyclops as the headmasters and Emma Frost as the Dark Arts Teacher. A fantastic read, especially the issues with the Omega Gang. The Omnibus however sells on Amazon for $379.99 (cover price is $99.99 though) so I would look for the smaller trades or the individual issues.

2. Spider-Man: Blue

“It’s about remembering someone so important to me I was going to spend the rest of my life with her.” What Peter Parker didn’t know was that meant Gwen Stacy would only get to spend the rest of her life with him. This is the story of how they fell in love. Or, more appropriately, how they almost didn’t fall in love. Welcome to Spider-Man’s life. Bad before good. It’s kind of amazing. So, in order to get the girl of his dreams, he’ll have to run the gauntlet of the Green Goblin, the Rhino, two Vultures and a mysterious man in the shadows controlling it all. Join Eisner Award-winning team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale (Superman For All Seasons, Batman: The Long Halloween, and Daredevil: Yellow) in the story about Spider-Man’s first love, Gwen Stacy. Highlighted by the introduction of Mary Jane Watson, it is a critical moment in Spider-Man’s life when everything was just coming together… only to fall apart. Collects Spider-Man: Blue #1-6.
It was tough putting this at number two but alas it is. This book is the best Spider-Man story of all time, yeah I said it. As Guardian Devil is the best Daredevil story, Spider-Man: Blue is the best Spider-Man tale. It is the story of Spider-Man growing up in high school falling in love, learning his powers and fighting his deadliest foes. It is basically another viewpoint of Amazing Spider-Man issues 92-96 covering Norman Osborn getting Amnesia, the first appearance of Mary Jane, and The love triangle between MJ and Gwen Stacy and the entire thing is beautifully crafted by one of my favorite artists of all time, Tim Sale. The end Monologue by Peter Parker in his attic is incredible, I liked it so much I used it as my monologue in Acting class in College.  
Seriously go read it.

1. Blankets

Revisiting the themes of deep friendship and separation Thompson surveyed in Goodbye Chunky Rice, his acclaimed and touching debut, this sensitive memoir recreates the confusion, emotional pain and isolation of the author’s rigidly fundamentalist Christian upbringing, along with the trepidation of growing into maturity. Skinny, naive and spiritually vulnerable, Thompson and his younger brother manage to survive their parents’ overbearing discipline (the brothers are sometimes forced to sleep in “the cubby-hole,” a forbidding and claustrophobic storage chamber) through flights of childhood fancy and a mutual love of drawing. But escapist reveries can’t protect them from the cruel schoolmates who make their lives miserable. Thompson’s grimly pious parents and religious community dismiss his budding talent for drawing; they view his creative efforts as sinful and relentlessly hector the boys about scripture. By high school, Thompson’s a lost, socially battered and confused soul-until he meets Raina and her clique of amiable misfits at a religious camp. Beautiful, open, flexibly spiritual and even popular (something incomprehensible to young Thompson), Raina introduces him to her own less-than-perfect family; to a new teen community and to a broader sense of himself and his future. The two eventually fall in love and the experience ushers Thompson into the beginnings of an adult, independent life. Thompson manages to explore adolescent social yearnings, the power of young love and the complexities of sexual attraction with a rare combination of sincerity, pictorial lyricism and taste. His exceptional b&w drawings balance representational precision with a bold and wonderfully expressive line for pages of ingenious, inventively composed and poignant imagery.
This book is basically the life story of the artist and writer, Craig Thompson. It is an amazingly accurate portrayal of being a teenager and going through all of the emotions of falling in love for the first time. The book immediately transports you to a snow-covered Wisconsin and you become immersed in the life and times of the author. This book like Pride, is burned into my memory forever and fully captures what its like to grow up and all of the emotional baggage it brings.  Dont let its length scare you, it is a big book but it flies by. I would say Blankets is not only my favorite GRAPHIC NOVEL but also my favorite book ever.
The beautiful artwork alone is worth the price. Anything by Craig Thompson is worth reading, he is an indie artist and writer so SUPPORT HIM and go buy this and his other book the fantastic, Good-Bye, Chunky Rice.
Well that’s it for me, that’s your Summer Reading List, any of these 5 books are worth your time and money so go get them and let me know what you think!

One Response to Textcast #7 My Personal Top 5 Volume 1

  1. I helped you assemble this bookshelf but when it comes to the comics…i couldnt tell you a good one from a horrible one! But Daredevil is the Blind Bastardo!!!! I dunno what i am saying…

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