Today on the blog I have the wonderful Melissa Keil, author of the The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl, to tell us all about the best graphic novels and comics she discovered while researching the novel. Cinnamon Girl is out today from Stripes Publishing!
One of my favourite things about writing is learning about my characters. I love getting into their heads and seeing the world through their eyes. And I ADORE characters who are passionate about the things that they love – characters with fandoms and hobbies, some of which might not be my own.
Getting to know Alba, my main character from The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl, was amazing fun – this comic-book loving nerd with an encyclopaedic knowledge of superhero lore and comic history, and bucket-loads of artistic talent. Needless to say, I had to do a lot of research to get inside Alba’s head – sadly, I never did gain any artistic skills beyond the ability to draw a stick figure with a top hat. But, as a huge part of my research involved devouring comics, I did develop a new-found respect and a lot of love for them – I’m now the proud owner of a giant comic book and graphic novel collection that seems to be growing at an alarming rate.
So here, in no particular order, are my top five current favourites:
This intergalactic space opera almost defies description. Super weird, sophisticated, and sometimes graphically violent, it’s definitely not for the very young. The artwork by Fiona Staples is lush and beautiful, and it has two of my favourite lead characters in star-crossed lovers Marko and Alana – soldiers from opposites sides of a galactic war who fall in love and are forced to flee with their baby daughter as they’re pursued by forced determined to destroy their little family.
2. Rat Queens
I stumbled on this comic fairly recently and devoured everything up-to-date in one greedy go. You know you’re in for a big dose of fun and weirdness when characters are described as, ‘Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Hobbit Thief’. It’s funny, irreverent, very naughty, and features my current favourite girl-gang cast.
Hawkeye became one of my absolute favs while I was researching Cinnamon Girl – a super hero comic that always feels more like an indie book than mainstream superhero story. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, and has some of the coolest art around. If you read nothing else, get your hands on issue #11 – ‘Pizza is my Business’ is one of the cleverest comics I have ever read.
A toss up between this and Raina Telgemeier’s Drama, which I also adored. It’s a deceptively simple concept – a graphic memoire of a childhood spent battling the ordeal of various dental procedures and surgeries. It’s funny, sweet, heart-warming, and should be appreciated by anyone who spent their teen years feeling self-conscious and out of place (so basically, everyone).
5. Lost at Sea
This short and sweet, black-and-white graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley (of Scott Pilgrim fame) stuck with me long after I finished it. Raleigh, whose soul may or may not have been stolen by a cat, finds herself on an impromptu road trip with some new friends. The art is simple and stunning, and captures the confusion of anyone who’s ever been at a crossroads.
Thank you so much to Melissa for this fab post – I love Saga too and I have Rat Queens waiting on my shelf to devour!
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl and check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour.