JoAnn Purcell’s top 10 go-to comic book and graphic novel list

True North Country Comics presents JoAnn Purcell’s top 10 to-to comic books and graphic novels.

In her role as Program Coordinator for Illustration and Art Fundamentals, JoAnn oversees the promotion of the Seneca College School of Arts and Animation program and supports student contributors as part of the ongoing primary sponsorship of TCAF. Seneca College provides the opportunity for students to table their comics at the event while participating in the annual showcase entitled The Pond.

Here’s JoAnn Purcell’s top 10 go-to comic book and graphic novel list

  1. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. (Mariner Books, 2006)
    “The best book I have ever read.  It is layered, emotional, and relatable. The imperfect love between an out lesbian daughter and her closeted gay father is vulnerable in its portrayal and poignant to read.”
  1. Can’t We Please Talk about Something More PLEASANT? by Rob Chast (New York: Bloomsbury, 2014)
    “Delightful, funny and sad.  Roz is the only daughter of very elderly parents and their challenges with self care, health care and end of life is beautifully illustrated and truthfully told.” 
  1. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir by Ellen Forney (New York: Penguin Books, 2012)
    “Ellen describes herself as someone with a bipolar mental illness and documents her journey through depressions and manias.  She seeks out treatments and challenges the ideas of mental illness and creativity.  The range of styles she employs makes this a visual treat to read.”
  1. Welcome to the New World by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2020)
    “Pulitzer prize winning journalists turn their weekly series where they documented the arrival and settling of a Syrian family into this book.  It is a stark but beautifully told story.”  
  1. Persepolis, the Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi (New York: Pantheon Books, 2003)
    “A classic graphic narrative with an eloquent black and white style.  Written in the first person as an Iranian women in Tehran during the Iranian Revolution.  A feminist tale of resilience.”
  1. The Book of Sarah by Sarah Lightman (Penn State University Press, 2019)
    “From the founder of Ladies Do Comics in London, Sarah writes and draws her way through her journey through art school, religion, motherhood and relationships through this chapter for the unwritten feminist Bible.”  
  1. One! Hundred! Demons! by Lynda Barry (Montreal: Drawn And Quarterly, 2017)
    “We all have demons and Lynda Barry sets out to disclose about 100 of hers in this funny, sad, beautiful and vulnerable short graphic essays.”
  1. The Spiral Cage by Al Davison (Los Angeles: Active Images and Astral Gypsy Press, 2003)
    “Born with spina bifida, Al shows and tells his story from various points in his life. His drawings are childlike when he imparts his view as a boy hospitalized for countless operations and sophisticated and raw when he shows his physical struggles in adulthood.  A vibrant, funny and engaging book.”  
  1. Journal by Julie Delporte (Koyama Press, 2013)
    “A diary like collection of drawings and text that come together in an eloquent post relationship breakup.  Beautifully intimate.”

  1. Threads From the Refugee Crisis by Kate Evans (Verso books, 2017)
    “Extraordinary graphic journalism told through the empathic lens of British artist Kate Evans who volunteered to work in the refugees camps of Calais. She overlays the politics of lace, a longstanding female activity in the area and entangles it in the refugee crisis.”

For more information about the program, please visit and

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