True North Country Comics presents Marc Michaud’s top 10 go-to comic books and graphic novels.
Marc is a transplanted Albertan living in Quebec with his wife and kids, making comics whenever possible. Being a stay-at-home dad allowed him and his family to travel while he finished his first book, HΩME volume 1, which was first published in Malaysia in 2017 and then in America in 2021 by New Friday/Lev Gleason. Volume 2 was released just before the end of the year as well. He is continuing his work on the series and volume 3 should appear in 2022. HΩME is a joint project, done in collaboration with his brother, Daniel. Each of them writing and drawing their own story set in a shared sci-fi universe.
Here are Marc Michaud’s top 10 go-to comic books and graphic novels:
“This top ten is a difficult selection to make because I love a lot of classic comics, of course, but I’m also constantly looking at new books and artists and finding new things to love, so this list is in a state of flux as I am always exposed to new things (new to me, at least). So this might not be a top ten of all time, more like a top ten that I’m really digging now. “
1) Donjon by Trondheim, Sfar et al.
This series is actually four or five interconnected series telling the story of a dungeon over the course of centuries, one series at the start, one in the middle, one at the end, plus a couple side series to explore characters within the universe. Each series is drawn by a different, always great, European cartoonist. The scope and humour of the series is what really captured my attention, coupled with the always impressive art. The artists involved are often responsible for books that almost made this list, for example GUS, by Christophe Blain, or Le Chat du Rabbin by Sfar.
2) Ping-Pong by Taiyou Matsumoto
A fascinating story of two very different friends on a high-school ping-pong team. Virtuosic, explosive drawing and compelling leads make for a very good series. I also wanted to include Number 5 by Matsumoto in my list, which is a sci-fi series that I also loved, but Ping-Pong is an easier read, though I would recommend both.
3) Pluto by Naoki Urusawa
A retelling of the Astro Boy origin by one of the greatest living Manga artists. He is also responsible for 20th Century Boys and Monster, among others. While I enjoyed those series as well, Pluto is a more manageable length at just 9 volumes.
4) Stray Bullets by David Lapham
A crime comic with a scope unlike most other comics of the genre. It is important to me as a creator as it showed a large cast of characters with beautiful black and white art in a story that isn’t told in order, leaving a lot to the reader.
5) The Marquis by Guy Davis
A horror comic set in the 18th century with beautiful art and terrifying monsters. Davis fills his pages with detail and energy and a fully realized world. A character is given the divine power to see demons in people and is charged with destroying them. Again, wonderful black and white art with the occasional spot colour.
6) Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy by Jeff Lemire and Tonci Zonjic
Set in the Black Hammer universe, this origin story feels heavily inspired by Batman or Daredevil but is it’s own thing. Skulldigger finds a young orphaned boy and proceeds to train him to become a sidekick in the fight against crime. The story is tight but the art is incredible. Zonjic is in charge of every element of the art (minus lettering) and knocks it out of the park. While the art is astounding, pay close attention to the colour, which is stellar.
7) First Knife by Simon Roy, Daniel Benson and Artyom Trakhanov
In a post-apocalyptic world, a slave wakes up an ancient warrior/weapon with mysterious intentions and the remaining humans try to figure it all out. Simon Roy is also a writer/artist who did the book HABITAT, which I could’ve included on it’s own but I’ll sneak it in here. First Knife features the art of Artyom Trakhanov which is dynamic and expressive, sometimes veering toward abstraction but always beautiful. Interesting use of textures, very detailed world building and a great cast of characters makes this one of my favorite books from last year.
8) Blueberry by Charlier et Giraud
A western comic drawn by perhaps the greatest comic artist of all time, Jean Giraud or Moebius. Again, I’m using this title to sneak in an entire body of work. The Blueberry books are good to great westerns with incredible art but as Moebius, Giraud’s pseudonym for when he was doing sci-fi, his influence on me is even greater. Basically anything with his name attached will be worth a look.
9) Le Marquis D’Anaon by Fabrice Vehlmann and Mathieu Bonhomme
Another 18th century story, this time a young man is given the title “Marquis D’anaon” or Marquis of lost souls, after he helps solve a deadly mystery on a secluded island in France. Though the stories are good, the main draw here for me is the art of Mathieu Bonhomme, who also drew the series Texas Cowboys with Lewis Trondheim writing as well as two recent Lucky Luke homage books. Everything he draws is a delight to read. Very clear, well researched and expressive.
10) Batman Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli
Perhaps the best Batman story drawn by one of my favorite artists in Mazzuchelli. An exemplary artist, able to draw superheroes and indy comics alike. Rubber Blankets and Asterios Polyp are also important works by the artist. Miller also had an outsized influence on a young me, with this book, Dark Knight Returns and Sin City all blowing my mind.
You can discover more about Marc at homecomics.ca and on Twitter at @arc29comic