In lieu of the weekly new comic book list, True North Country Comics presents the top 10 go-to comic book/graphic novel list from Sam Noir.
Sam is a writer and cartoonist. His work includes covers for the Chapterhouse Comics Summer Special and Captain Canuck #1, and he has contributed to Steampunk Originals from Arcana, Monstrosity from Alterna, Cerebus Low Society, Toronto Comics, Strange Romance, Hogtown Horror and is the co-creator of indie comics such as Munchsters, Victorian Four, Holmes vs Moriarty, Zip Kramer, Clanky and Major North. He’s also helped create the Cauldron magazine anthology. He is also a product developer at Odeon Toys, including the official Captain Canuck action figures.
Here is Sam Noir’s top 10 go-to comic book and graphic novel list:
1. Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore
“A series about a young woman struggling to forge a future while desperately trying escape her past. The narrative is driven by one of the most unique and unpredictable love triangles ever presented in comics. It is also a comic that defies genre, moving fluidly from high school angst, to domestic comedy and drama, crime, soap opera, parody, conspiracy, thriller, farce and much more.”
2. Maus by Art Spiegelman
“The Pulitzer Prize winning comic that showed the world the artistic heights and emotional depths the medium could achieve. This is a masterwork in autobiography as cartoonist Art Spiegelman details his father’s story of surviving a concentration camp during World War 2. Depicting the Jews as mice and the Germans as cats isn’t just a simple metaphor, but part of Spiegelman’s self-reflexive exploration of his own process and construction of the narrative “truth” to his family history.”
3. Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday
“An deep dive into the science fiction, fantasy, and pulp roots of contemporary genre comics wrapped up in a mind bending conspiracy theory. Filled with analogues of familiar characters, this comic is best described as Philip Jose Farmer meets The Prisoner.”
4. Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, John Totleben et al.
“British writer Alan Moore’s first American comic was groundbreaking for abandoning the comics code in favour of “Sophisticated Suspense”. He took a title about a muck monster, and transformed it into an exploration of 80’s American culture through the lens of modern horror fiction.”
5. Sandman by Neil Gaiman, et al.
“This comic is less about the titular Lord of Dreams, or his realm of the Dreaming, and more about the nature and power of Dreams themselves. In much the same way that Moore’s Swamp Thing redefined horror in mainstream comics, fellow British writer Neil Gaiman broke the mold on the fantasy genre in comics. Bringing a much more literary approach to the medium.”
6. Bone by Jeff Smith
“A rare all ages comic that is as epic in scope and storytelling for kids as it is for adults. Three comical creatures (the Bones) are exiled to a distant land where they encounter adventures involving a hidden royal family, dragons, rat creatures, and cow racing.”
7. Fables by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, et al.
The characters from fairy tales live amongst us, hidden from contemporary society. They are magical, immortal beings in exile from their magical homelands which were overrun by the armies of a mysterious Adversary. A mature shared universe of dozens of familiar storybook characters like Snow White, The Big Bad Wolf, Pinocchio, Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Boy Blue, Prince Charming and many many more. All thrust into the modern world and trying to hold their unique secret community together against all manner of threats from within and beyond.”
8. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki
“Post Apocalyptic Eco Fable about a young female pacifist struggling to end conflict and restore balance with nature. Hayao Miyazaki is a legendary animation director in Japan. It is well worth watching the animated film version, but reading the expanded manga it was adapted from allows for much more in depth character exploration and broader narrative scope.”
9. Mad (the original Comic Books) by Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Wally Wood et al.
“Even more than a half century after it was first published, the original comic book run of Mad from the 50’s by EC Comics is still a magnificent textbook of subversion and counter culture humour that influenced the sensibilities of generations that followed. It’s astonishing how so much of their targeted parodies are still icons today worthy of lampooning. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Mickey Mouse, Popeye, Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, Archie, and more all still exist in our popular landscape today.”
10. Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
“A modern blasphemous Western. A southern Preacher imbued with mysterious powers teams up with his Ex-Girlfriend turned Assassin, and an Irish Vampire, to elude an ancient religious cult that has targeted him. Filled with Action, Romance, Outrageous Humour, Pathos, Betrayal, and one of the most colourful casts of supporting characters in comics. ”
You can discover more about Sam on Twitter at @HeySamNoir and online at sam-noir.tumbler.com.