We’ve spotlighted comic book cover artists before, but now it’s time to list seven graphic novels every designer should know. When you’re at the next design firm holiday party and your co-workers are rambling on about the “complex psychological profiles” of the characters in Watchmen, you can speak up about the hottest graphic novel you just read (as recommended by the Core77 clogger team). Without further ado:
1. Akira – Katsuhiro Otomo
I usually won’t go near manga with a ten-foot pole, but Akira is too mind-blowing to ignore. Otomo’s epic opus is about many things, from telekinesis to love to motorcycles, but most importantly it’s about the relationship between city and self. The setting of Neo-Tokyo constantly reflects the progress of the story, starting off as a dark city full of mystery and ending as a wasteland where only the strong of heart and mind can survive. Neo-Tokyo also survives a series of explosions, nuclear and otherwise, scarily fitting given recent history. The entire series is contained in six telephone book-sized volumes, enough to give your arms a decent work out while reading them.
2. Channel Zero – Brian Wood
Brian Wood, now known for his NY Times-critically acclaimed work DMZ, started off with this series about technology, journalism, and an oppressive government. Wait! That also sounds oddly familiar… Either way, Channel Zero is jam-packed full of street art details and is definitely worth a look.
3. Casanova – Matt Fraction, Gabriel Ba, & Fabio Moon
You could sum up Casanova as a James Bond-like tale of interdimensional espionage, double-agents and giant robots, but, well, that wouldn’t even really scratch the surface. The original printings were drawn in B&W with one other color that changed based on the mood of the issue/chapter, making for graphically and visually engaging art.
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Seven Graphic Novels Every Designer Should Know