With Christmas around the corner, is there a comic book geek in your life that you need to get a present for? Do you need to find a way to spend all those Chapters gift cards? Schema’s here to help with a list of graphic novel suggestions for whoever you’re shopping for!
Secret Identities, edited by Jeff Yang, Perry Shen, Keith Chow and Jerry Ma
A great collaboration, Secret Identities is an anthology of Asian American comic book artists and writers responding to the lack of strong Asian characters in the medium. The topics of the shorts range from modern day Asian superheroes and WWII soldiers in the Pacific theatre, to immigrants building the railway and surviving in Chinatown. The overall book is well done and it’s nice to see industry artists and writers of Asian descent come together for a project like this.
Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine
Half-Japanese indie comic sweetheart Adrian Tomine has had some Asian cast members in his previous works (such as Optic Nerve or personal favourite Summer Blonde), it was only until Shortcomings that he decided to write a story with an almost entirely Asian cast. Following the story of Ben Tanaka as his relationship with his girlfriend begins to collapse; the characters are painfully human and are equally frustrating as they are relatable.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Originally released as a webcomic, Gene Yung’s American Born Chinese was finally published in 2006 and won the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award and garnered a nomination for the National Book Award, both in the young adult’s literature genre. Following three concurrent stories about Jin Wang, the son of a Chinese immigrant family, this book makes a great gift for a younger sibling cousin.
Same Difference and Other Stories by Derek Kirk Kim
Another webcomic-turned print, Derek Krik Kim’s Same Difference and Other Stories is a series of short stories that talk about life as a twenty-something Korean American in the ‘1.5’ generation. Winning him an Eisner, the book is as touching as it is hilarious and Kim’s work has only gotten better in his sophomore work Good as Lily.
Meanwhile by Jason Shiga
Hands down the best thing to happen to comics in 2010 is Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile. Known for his unconventional narrative technique, Shiga knocks it out of the park with a branching path story that puts the reader in the role of Jimmy, who discovers a science laboratory. From there, you make decisions regarding whether he builds one of three devices. Think of it as a choose-your-own adventure comic book, but with elements of quantum physics, Schrödinger’s cat, time travel, and over 3,000 story possibilities.