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Best Graphic Novels of 2012

This week, we’re celebrating the best in graphic novels from 2012. With a selection of the year’s best comics from our awesomely nerdy booksellers, here are some highlights that are sure to bring a “colorful” start to your New Year.

This year saw many great graphic novel publications, but perhaps none so great as the deluxe two-volume hardcover box set of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki. Those of you who recognize the name Miyazaki no doubt know him as the director of the monumental animated films Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. As triumphant as those films may be, this graphic novel remains Miyazaki's magnum opus, completed long before he became a director. Nausicaa set the tone for themes most people now associate with Studio Ghibli: strong female characters, environmentalism, and the inherent destructive nature of mankind. Nausicaa is the closest thing comics has to The Lord of the Rings and should be experienced whether you're a fan of high fantasy or Studio Ghibli.
Frans
$60.00
ISBN-13: 9781421550640
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: VIZ Media LLC, 11/2012

Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics
Dark Horse Comics continues to treat fans of European graphic novels with the third volume in the ever-growing Milo Manara library. While the first two volumes collected historical fiction rendered in lush watercolors, this third volume is a collection of surrealist storytelling in clear-line monochromatic splendor. The Manara Library Volume 3 collects all of the artist's collaborations with legendary Italian director Federico Fellini. As if that weren't enough, this volume is rounded out by Manara's masterful interpretation of the Chinese Monkey King legend. Most of these stories were published in various forms throughout the past decade, and have always been difficult to find in the U.S. This book will only be rarer in the future, so save yourself the hardship of tracking them down once they're out of print!
Frans
$59.99
ISBN-13: 9781595827845
Availability: Not currently shipping from publisher – Subject to future availability
Published: Dark Horse Books, 8/2012

Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics
If you thought the resurrection of Rob Liefeld's Prophet was a miracle, the successful re-launch of his Wonder Woman archetypal character Glory is nothing short of divine intervention. Not even the deepest nostalgia for Extreme-era 90's comics could move one to care about this title, yet Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell somehow managed to do so. Artist Ross Campbell, best known for his goth angst comic Wet Moon, blends his dynamic sense of drama with his overt appreciation for gore in a perfect combination that is rarely seen in mainstream comics. The cosmic giantess known as Glory leaves her war-torn planet to experience Earth and winds up as the protector of humanity. This comic reads like a Saturday morning cartoon that ate Sailor Moon for breakfast.
Frans
$9.99
ISBN-13: 9781607066040
Availability: Not currently in the store – Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Image Comics, 9/2012

Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics
Prophet was yet another one of Rob Liefeld's many titles that vanished into dime-bin obscurity, much to the joy of the comics community. However, when Image re-launched this title under the creative control of indie comics guru Brandon Graham, it took comics readers by storm. Graham is well known through his comics King City and Multiple Warheads, as well as his meandering blog posts, in which he shares his love for Manga, European comics, and even Care Bears. Those familiar with Graham's ramblings will immediately recognize why he makes the perfect writer for the remake of this series, and it's his far-reaching sway in the community that has attracted some of the best independent comic artists to work on the project. Recommended for fans of Dune, Starship Troopers, and Total Recall.
Frans

Remission (Paperback)

$9.99
ISBN-13: 9781607066118
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics, 9/2012

Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics
Nobrow has quickly become one of P&P's most beloved independent comic publishers printing books today. The consistency of the artists they work with, high-end printing methods, and overall aesthetic have kept us eagerly anticipating each unique release. Whether it's their anthologies, their 17x23 series showcasing groundbreaking up-and-comers, or their gorgeous self-titled comics magazine featuring the absolute best short stories and illustrations, all you have to do to fall in love with Nobrow is pick up any of their titles, flip through the pages, and take a deep whiff. It's okay, go ahead, do it...
Frans
$24.00
ISBN-13: 9781907704345
Availability: Not currently shipping from publisher – Subject to future availability
Published: Nobrow Press, 9/2012

Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics
Alex Alice was struck by genius when he decided to turn a Wagner opera into a comic. This beautiful graphic novel is the first of three installments that follow the arc of the opera, from overture to crescendo, with Alice’s incredible drawings. Siegfried is a hero, survivor and child of destiny swept up in a European story that resonates with the familiar and the strange.
Hannah

Siegfried Volume 1 (Hardcover)

$24.95
ISBN-13: 9781936393459
Availability: Not currently shipping from publisher – Subject to future availability
Published: Archaia Entertainment, 6/2012

Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics
Adrian Tomine’s New York Drawings (Drawn and Quarterly, $29.95) is a collection both of Tomine’s work and of New York City itself. Featuring his art from The New Yorker, illustrations for albums and books, and Tomine’s own commentary, the book is the story of Tomine’s discovery of the people that make New York, New York venerable the world over. His often close up, textured and straightforward drawings tell more about the city than the magazine that made him famous ever could.
Hannah

New York Drawings (Hardcover)

$29.95
ISBN-13: 9781770460874
Availability: Not currently in the store – Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Drawn and Quarterly, 10/2012

Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics
Courtney Crumrin, Volumes One and Two are the perfect avenue into the Crumrin series and an excellent collector’s item for those who already love theour adventurous, disgruntled heroine. Ted Naifeh’s combination of dark magic and whimsy are lit up by the deft illustrations of Warren Wucinich. Full of everything that goes bump in the night, these dour color collections are a necessity for lovers of magical and humorous graphic novels.
Hannah
$19.99
ISBN-13: 9781934964774
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Oni Press, 4/2012

Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics
Glyn Dillon’s The Nao of Brown tells the story of Nao, an aspiring illustrator and shop girl, held hostage by her OCD and her struggle to overcome her demons while finding her footing in the world. Through meditation, Nao begins to see that the world isn’t black and white but littered with shades of grey. Compelling, honest, and beautifully illustrated, The Nao of Brown is a reflection on the complicated business of being human as we make missteps into adulthood.
Mark M.

The Nao of Brown (Hardcover)

$24.95
ISBN-13: 9781906838423
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams, 9/2012

Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics
The Hive (Pantheon, $21.95) is the second graphic novel in Charles Burns’s trilogy about Doug, a man with a Tintin mask and a haunted past. In this volume, Doug sifts through his memories in an effort to recall the tragic event that shattered him—shattered him in both our world and in an alternative universe. Burns’s compelling style and gripping storytelling ensures a smooth landing for these narrative jumps between worlds, time periods, and dreams.
Becky

The Hive (Hardcover)

$21.95
ISBN-13: 9780307907882
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon, 10/2012

2012 Holiday Newsletter, Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics
Touted as an instant classic, Chris Ware’s graphic novel Building Stories gives us a peek into the lives of the inhabitants of a Chicago apartment building (an old woman, a young amputee, a forever bickering couple) and their struggles to find meaning amid the isolation of modernity. Ware’s characters existentially writhe amid commonplace failures, mundane routines, and the crushing grip of loneliness. More akin to a puzzle box, Building Stories contains 14 distinct books, booklets, and pamphlets that, much like the trick of memory, are ordered and constructed as the reader sees fit. Ware exposes something utterly human through his meticulous documentation of the ordinary, and takes us so deep into his characters’ lives that it becomes impossible to separate their struggles from our own.
Mark M.

Building Stories (Hardcover)

$50.00
ISBN-13: 9780375424335
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon, 10/2012

2012 Holiday Newsletter, Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics
The Eyes of the Cat is the true first narrative collaboration between psycho-shamanistic storytellers Jodorowsky and Moebius, a project that ushered in an era of limitless surreal science fiction that their works helped inspire. The Eyes of the Cat is a simple yet beautiful story of a mystic figure who sends forth an eagle to help him procure a secret power. The story reads more like a children's book for adults, but the imagery is so powerful and captivating it will guide you on your own spiritual journey if you allow it.
Frans

The Eyes of the Cat (Hardcover)

$34.95
ISBN-13: 9781594650321
Availability: Not currently shipping from publisher – Subject to future availability
Published: Humanoids, Inc., 8/2012

Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics

The Annotated Sandman comes in two large volumes (issues 1-20 and 21-39) and is worth every penny. Vertigo assembled an introduction from author Neil Gaiman and annotations from the rock star of research Leslie S. Klinger. Klinger gives just enough background, discussions with Gaiman, and research to flesh out Gaiman’s story without getting in its way. The large format black and white reissue breathes new life into familiar images and creates a stark contrast where Klinger’s notes and the comics reside bright white against a black frame. These editions assure that Sandman will have its place in the canon as the great work that it is.

Hannah
$49.99
ISBN-13: 9781401235666
Availability: Not currently in the store – Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Vertigo, 11/2012

Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics
As with their publications of The Incal and The Eyes of the Cat, Humanoids has finally provided us with a standard edition of one of Europe's finest science fiction graphic novels. The Metabarons tells the epic saga of the dynasty of the Metabarons, the universe's ultimate warriors who originally appeared in The Incal by Moebius & Jodorowsky. Those unfamiliar with the series should note that this book is the closest thing you can get to a death metal space opera. And trust me, that's a good thing!
Frans
$129.95
ISBN-13: 9781594650642
Availability: Not currently shipping from publisher – Subject to future availability
Published: Humanoids Inc., 9/2011

Best Graphic Novels of 2012, Graphic Novels & Comics