Chris Ware's "Building Stories" tops our list of graphic novel suggestions.
Apparently, no one ever told Chris Ware that print is dead. Or maybe they did and this is his fantastic rebuttal. Ware, the master behind "Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth," has created a batch of sad, highly detailed comics with "Building Stories." The catch is the presentation. Inside this oversized box are 14 different stories -- some are traditional books of various sizes, others are magazines, newspapers and small pamphlets. This isn't a graphic novel. It's a library ready to be explored.
If David Lynch made graphic novels, they'd look something like the weird, twisted work of Charles Burns. The latest from this visionary artist is the second volume of a planned trilogy (which began with "X'ed Out" in 2010). Burns' bold pen strokes tell the story of Doug, a confused young man caught between a dream world of grotesqueries and real life -- which proves even more nightmarish.
Adrian Tomine is one of the comic book world's great chroniclers of everyday insecurities, best illustrated in the graphic novels "Shortcomings" and "Summer Blonde." His warm, observational style made him a perfect cover artist for the New Yorker, a post he's held for the past decade. Collected in this beautiful 176-page hardcover are all of Tomine's covers, plus his interior illustrations and other New York-centric pieces (from a TV on the Radio poster to a random unpublished portrait of Batman).
Just when you thought you'd seen every "Star Wars" tie-in, here comes this hilarious parody. Call it "Parenting according to Lord Vader." Writer/artist Jeffrey Brown applies his charming, childlike style to the "lost" history of Darth Vader rearing a 4-year-old Luke Skywalker in a series of funny vignettes. See Vader give Luke a time-out. See Vader teach him about the birds and the bees. See Vader get all old-man nostalgic: "When I was your age, we didn't even have Star Destroyers."
TOM HORGEN, FEATURES WRITER