Anyone know any good graphic novels that are Catholic-friendly??
Are you into graphic novels of Japanese origin? If so, the first thing to realize is that on some level, they are all inherently different from Catholic thinking simply because they originate from a non-Catholic culture. It is your responsibility to read them critically and have a strong sense of your own faith before you do so.
That being said, I know you asked for graphic novels but what I recommend is an anime series called Escaflowne. It may have the appearance of being about giant robots and lots of fighting, but if you look beneath the surface, this is not the case! It is actually a story about free will. I can’t say much more without spoiling it, but I found it absolutely fascinating and cannot recommend it enough. (Plus, it’s scored by Yoko Kanno, one of the greatest composers of our time that sadly nobody’s heard of.)
I have not read any Japanese ones, but certainly would not be opposed. Right now I am looking for the books…but I’ll keep your series in mind.
I’d also be happy to read any graphic novels that are Catholic-neutral. Preferably with some supernatural element, monsters, or paranormal, or sci-fi, etc…
So who can help me with some recommendations?
The works of Miyazaki Hayao, in manga form. I just watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (again). They can’t help but put in some Christian-type allegories, even if they didn’t mean to.
Rurouni Kenshin features elegant artwork, likeable characters and a classic tale of good versus evil—but only up to Volume 17, the end of the Kyoto arc.
One-Pound Gospel, by Takahashi Rumiko, features a novitiate nun whose life is complicated by a young boxer (I haven’t read the whole things, so can’t give it a no-reservations recommendation)
AND… Dean Koontz’ Odd Thomas series is adding a graphic novel. Can’t get much more Catholic-friendly than that.
I would suggest Watchmen by Alan Moore. It’s sort of a superhero story sans conventional superheroes (with the notable exception of Dr. Manhattan), and it’s much more interesting and literary than the ordinary fare that genre has to offer.
Also by Alan Moore, V for Vendetta which was made into a so-so movie–the only caution I have for Catholics is after V feeds a poisoned Host(“Anglican” so not even the Blessed host to begin with) to a pedophile bishop, two cops in the aftermath say “It was still poisoned bread when it reached his stomach!”
I’ve always loved Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. Not sure if you’d consider it Catholic-friendly, but Neil Gaiman is just such an awesome writer. His characters are always so vivid.
DAREDEVIL by Marvel Comics is Catholic friendly! The Daredevil graphic novels are a wonderful read…
Watchmen by Alan Moore is definitley one of the best graphic novels ever and one of the best told stories ever. It made Time’s list for the best novels from I think 1920 to today. It raises some posing moral questions and makes you wonder who did the right thing. It probably be good one to read to due to the movie coming out so you wont have the movie affect your idea of the book.
I second this one. Sandman is always great, and if you’re looking for a religious theme the Season of Mists story arc is particularly good.
Maus by Art Spiegelman is one of the better graphic novels ever produced. Warning this is seriously disturbing at points, the sequence when Spiegleman has his father Vladek describing how the Jews and others were burnt in pits in Auschwitz and the sequence of his mother commiting suicide in the late 1960’s after been unable to get the camps out of her mind are heavy going.
Any of Will Eisner’s work at all. Especially, ‘To the Heart of the Storm’, or ‘A Contract with God’ and ’ A Lifeforce’.
For superhero comics that might be either Catholic friendly or just have a worthwhile moral message:-
DC comic’s Kingdom Come which is set in the future of DC’s superhero universe when the next generation of ‘heros’ are just amoral people torturing and killing in the name of justice and the heroes most of us know such as Superman and Batman are long retired and are forced to return to show the meaning of using power with restraint. This particular comic uses a lot of imagery lifted from the Bible, in particular numerous direct quotes from revelations.
Superman:Peace on Earth where Superman confronts the fact that all his power cannot end world hunger and that mankind must find it’s own solutions to problems without his interference ultimately.
Fables - which takes the idea that fairytale and ficitional character such as Snow White, Shere Khan etc. etc are all real. Not explicitly Christian but the idea of self-sacrifice runs through it.
Strangers in Paradise - this has a fair ammount or rude language and mature situations but one of the main characters is a strong Christian who was originally a Yakuza member who refuses to return to violence even when threatened with death and torture at points.
Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing - not strictly a graphic novel but they’ve been collected up into graphic novel form over the years. Well worth reading just for thoughful looks at what good and evil actually mean.
Just thought of another one: All His Engines by Mike Carey. It’s a graphic novel in the continuity of the Hellblazer series, which has always been a favorite of mine. Be forewarned, though: contrary to the movie Constantine, the protagonist isn’t Catholic, nor is he an exorcist in the strict sense. I don’t recall any specific instances of anti-Catholicism in All His Engines, although there is a scene in which sacramentals are shown to be ineffective against a particular preternatural evil (an explanation is offered in the book, though).
Oh crikey I was going to throw in Hellblazer but the Garth Ennis era - but I think the ammount of swearing etc. would cause some people to fall down. Also, Hellblazer definitely by it’s nature has to deal with religion but this quote sums up John Constantine nicely I think:-
John: “All I ever wanted was for the world to be free of your kind, whether you were here in Parliament or in the senate or junta or Hell or Heaven. Maybe that’s pointless, then. Maybe the people are too small and scared to be free. Maybe they want you there, s****** all over them. But like a salesman who’s only too eager to sew up his market and stitch up his customers, you’re happy enough to exploit that. Aw, sod it. Sod you. For whatever it’s worth, you were always the enemy.”
Constantine pretty much despises Hell AND Heaven, he regards them both as using humaniy as tools. He’s pretty cynical, but he’s a far more interesting character in the comics than that dire move. His apparently endless cynicisim which occassionally parts to show idealism (not that he’d ever admit it) is interesting when done well.
Absolutely seconding Jharek on Watchmen, Eisner, and Alan Moore!! Oh yes, and Constantine too, great character, such a rogue.
I’d also add The Brothers Hernandez’ Love and Rockets which while isn’t for kids, unless they are VERY precocious indeed, definitely has both some deeply Catholic themes and characters, as well as dealing with some very serious human issues without meaning to offend, though those with scrupulosity issues may be a bit irked now and then. It is a still-ongoing work of great beauty and power, set half in a (probably) Southern Californian barrio, and partly in a small Mexican town, with enough surreality to satisfy even my voracity. It is very much a work of Latin American Magic Realism that can stand tall with the classics of Garcia-Marquez and Fuentes and all those giants, and I can think of few higher praises.
Also, just since it has to be said, Sandman is lovely, touches on Catholicism and its themes and plenty of other religions as well and my favorite of the graphic novels in the series would have to be Fables and Reflections. It is sheerly gorgeous, and boasts a fine introduction by Gene Wolfe (his style has a lot of Chesterton, a big dose of Graves’ utter confidence as a 1st-person narrator, and a load of Jack Vance too, not to mention Wolfe’s own amazing scholarliness), an absolutely brilliant writer who also happens to be a very enthusiastic Catholic convert himself. Oh right, and Constantine and his relatives show up quite a bit in Sandman too, and tweak a few noses and pull a few strings, as Constantines will do.
PS- Jharek, we seem to share a lot of tastes in the arts, we should trade stuff sometime, I think. ^^
Ack, and how could I forget Bone? Now THERE is one that will delight the whole family. It isn’t Catholic per se, but there is nothing to offend anyone, and if you like Walt Kelly and Chuck Jones (and who doesn’t?), great plot and perfectly timed gags and seriousness, then by all means, grab the first copy of the Bone compendium you can get your mitts on, and enjoy with everyone of every age you can collar!
I’m not very familiar with graphic novels but Bone is the one thing that came to mind when I saw this thread. I read it last summer and I loved it. It’s funny, has lovable characters, and the artwork is great.
Why yes, some quiche would be delightful! ^^
And I am ashamed at myself for not yelling cheers for Maus as well - I bought those the minute they were published back in the day (and yeah, all the original Watchmen Comics even…I’m a nerd, but I’m not a tasteless nerd, I hope!), and I fully endorse Spiegelman too. That work deserves every single praise and award it has recieved, which is lots.
I recently purchased the graphic novel, *In Odd We Trust *by Queenie Chan and Dean Koontz based on his character Odd Thomas from the series of regular novels. This story is a prequel to those books. Although I have not read it yet, I loved the prose novels and thought this looked interesting.
Chan is apparently known for manga comics and that is the style this book is done. And Koontz is a Catholic and it usually shows in his writing (though not always overtly so, as he writes for a mainstream audience). His stories, though sometimes dark, always seem to have some positive message.
Figure I would re-emphasize my post just a bit…
If it’s the Born Again arc from Daredevil I’d concur as that was some of Marvel Comics best output and one of the few times I ever found Captain America used well in that latter part of that story.
How do you like it so far? It’s on my must-read list (just finished Odd Hours).