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Five Great Graphic Novels For A Good Cry

Be prepared: these titles will bring April showers.

Stargazing Dog – The pairing of a scoundrel with an innocent is a great recipe for tension in a story, but the tragedy here is that there’s no villain save for abject poverty. This book is a chronicle of a man, Oto, who loses everything and falls through society’s safety nets with only a couple of bright spots along the way. His companion through the despair, a loyal mutt who doesn’t know any better, brings a naïve perspective that condemns the sort of world that would let both of them disappear into homelessness. Want some tragic foreshadowing? When Oto says he thinks he’s eaten his last nice meal ever… just make sure you don’t look away until the ending. Then look into the eyes of a loved one while you hug them and never let go.

I Kill Giants – That this comic has even been placed on this list is too much information. Let’s pretend this is on a list about imaginative characters, yeah? Barbara Thorson believes herself to wield a mythical, giant-slaying hammer. No one else sees the world quite like her, but that doesn’t mean her struggles aren’t real. I just had to delete a description of the best part of this book because you need to find it for yourself. Not only is it one of my favorite books, period, but its decade-long, word-of-mouth popularity has led to a movie deal, with original author Joe Kelly providing the script. If ever there was a story you needed to see on the page first, this is it, because it will rely just as much on your mind’s eye and ear, and no HD display or surround sound can beat those.

The Odyssey – Yes, this is the same Odyssey everyone reads in class, but with Gareth Hinds’s artwork behind his reverence for the source material, there are certain heart-tugging scenes that are even harder to bear than in text. I won’t spoil one such scene, but it made me reread the classic version of the story to check how it was written.

The Death of Captain Marvel – Any survey of “saddest comics ever” will inevitably include “event deaths” from Marvel and DC, whether it’s Spider-Man failing to save Gwen Stacy or any number of dead Robins. However, they only have an impact if the reader was invested beforehand; now they’re just trivia to newcoming readers. What sets Death of Captain Marvel apart, then, is that it works just as well for brand-new readers. The library’s edition opens with a seemingly innocuous adventure, then a couple of cheesy space opera stories, then gets to the titular tale. You don’t have to know or really care about those earlier adventures, except as background to what’s about to happen as Captain Marvel is diagnosed with cancer, learns where it came from, and experiences one of the most honorable send-offs anyone could want. There’s not a single moment I would pluck out as an example, but suffice it to say this is the total experience, complete with final goodbyes, bedside visits, and an existential battle about the worth of a life.

We3 – Animals outfitted with experimental high-tech armor, with voiceboxes attached so they can say what they’re thinking. Hey, maybe animals enjoy being killing machines! Who cares if they’re an adorable rabbit, cat, and dog? Or if they’ve just escaped their laboratory and are on the lam, Homeward Bound style? Or if these animals are committed to each other no matter what? Sorry… I need a tissue…

(Note: this one can get pretty violent compared to the others on this list, but it has no less heart.)

There are certainly more than five tearjerkers in Richland Library's collections, illustrated or otherwise. What are some of your favorites?


Stargazing Dog by Takashi Murakami
Amazon Says: Translated from the Japanese bestseller, this story centers on Oto-san, a man who finds himself abandoned by his family and friends with nothing in his life happening the way more...
Amazon Says: Translated from the Japanese bestseller, this story centers on Oto-san, a man who finds himself abandoned by his family and friends with nothing in his life happening the way he had planned. He embarks on a road trip to escape it all, and he soon discovers the only one he can count on completely is his faithful, recently adopted dog, who helps him see the light at the end of the tunnel. Illustrating the valuable lessons of friendship and loyalty, this is a heartwarming tale of two endearing characters and their shared adventure into the unknown. less...
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I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly
Amazon Says: Barbara Thorson, a girl battling monsters both real and imagined, kicks butt, takes names, and faces her greatest fear in this bittersweet, coming-of-age story called "Best I more...
Amazon Says: Barbara Thorson, a girl battling monsters both real and imagined, kicks butt, takes names, and faces her greatest fear in this bittersweet, coming-of-age story called "Best Indy Book of 2008" by IGN. Collects I Kill Giants #1-7. less...
Amazon

The Odyssey by Homer
Amazon Says: With bold imagery and an ear tuned to the music of Homer’s epic poem, Gareth Hinds reinterprets the ancient classic as it’s never been told before. (Age 12 and up) more...
Amazon Says: With bold imagery and an ear tuned to the music of Homer’s epic poem, Gareth Hinds reinterprets the ancient classic as it’s never been told before. (Age 12 and up) "Gareth Hinds brings THE ODYSSEY to life in a masterful blend of art and storytelling. Vivid and exciting, this graphic novel is a worthy new interpretation of Homer’s epic." —Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series Fresh from his triumphs in the Trojan War, Odysseus, King of Ithaca, wants nothing more than to return home to his family. Instead, he offends the sea god, Poseidon, who dooms him to years of shipwreck and wandering. Battling man-eating monsters, violent storms, and the supernatural seductions of sirens and sorceresses, Odysseus will need all his strength and cunning—and a little help from Mount Olympus—to make his way home and seize his kingdom from the schemers who seek to wed his queen and usurp his throne. Award-winning graphic artist Gareth Hinds masterfully reinterprets a story of heroism, adventure, and high action that has been told and retold for more than 2,500 years—though never quite like this. less...
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Amazon Says: Witness the classic and tragic end of one of the greatest heroes of all time, Mar-Vell of the Kree, who became the Earth hero Captain Marvel! After dozens of battles on Earth more...
Amazon Says: Witness the classic and tragic end of one of the greatest heroes of all time, Mar-Vell of the Kree, who became the Earth hero Captain Marvel! After dozens of battles on Earth and across space, and with the power of his Nega-bands and his all-knowing Cosmic Awareness, can Mar-Vell fare well in his battles with Nitro (the exploding villain who later sparked Marvel's super hero Civil War), the death-defying Stellarax, and the seemingly dead Thanos? Guest-starring Rick Jones, Drax the Destroyer, Starfox, and all your favorite Earth heroes! less...
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We3 Deluxe Edition by Grant Morrison
Amazon Says: Available for the first time in a deluxe hardcover format, a powerful tale from the ALL-STAR SUPERMAN team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, packed with nearly 40 pages of more...
Amazon Says: Available for the first time in a deluxe hardcover format, a powerful tale from the ALL-STAR SUPERMAN team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, packed with nearly 40 pages of bonus material!Writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely deliver the emotional journey of WE3 – three house pets weaponized for lethal combat by the government – as they search for “home” and ward off the shadowy agency that created them.With nervous systems amplified to match their terrifying mechanical exoskeletons, the members of Animal Weapon 3 (WE3) have the firepower of a battalion between them. But they are just the program’s prototypes, and now that their testing is complete, they’re slated to be permanently “decommissioned,” causing them to seize their one chance to make a desperate run for freedom. Relentlessly pursued by their makers, the WE3 team must navigate a frightening and confusing world where their instincts and heightened abilities make them as much a threat as those hunting them – but a world, nonetheless, in which somewhere there is something called “home.”Included in this deluxe hardcover are 10 brand new story pages created by Morrison and Quietly for this collection as well as over 25 pages of sketchbook and character design pages featuring commentary from the creators. less...
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