Here are SEQUENTIAL's Top Ten Graphic Novels of 2015. Many thanks to all the creators listed here for providing us with such great work to enjoy.
(1) Two Brothers
by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá
Dark Horse • 234 pages
An immersive, magical work that takes you to strange Brazilian streets that you can almost taste, and introduces you to characters that live on long after you close the book. These complex characters and situations along with visceral sense of place and time help make this the graphic novel of the year.
Twin brothers Omar and Yaqub may share the same features, but they could not be more different from one another. After a brutally violent exchange between the young boys, Yaqub is sent from his home in Brazil to live with relatives in Lebanon, only to return five years later as a virtual stranger to the parents who bore him…
(2) March Book Two
by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
Top Shelf • 189 pages
Compelling, breathtaking, horrifying, sobering…and true. MARCH tells the story of the 1961 Freedom Rides and the 1963 march on Washington, and the role of John Lewis in the civil rights movement, intercut with the inauguration of President Obama.
“Superbly told history.” – Publishers Weekly
(3) Lulu Anew
by Étienne Davodeau
NBM • 158 pages
A languid, exploratory tale of a woman who decides to leave her husband and children on a whim. Unsentimental and real – not in a 'gritty' way – but in its suggestion of the often ephemeral feelings that motivate us to do decidedly unusual things. A beautifully-paced classic by Étienne Davodeau, creator of The Initiates. (This is even better than that.)
by Ethan Young
Dark Horse • 210 pages
The book opens and Ethan Young throws you into 1938 and the barbarity of war – both physical and psychological. A rough, dirty, kinetic experience of a book that disgusts, and enlightens.
“A sucker punch of emotion and fury.” – Paste
by Glenn Head
Fantagraphics • 163 pages
Any autobio graphic novel with Robert Crumb, Playboy and Muhammed Ali in it had to be one of the year's best…This confessional has a love story at its heart that is convincing, and it entertainingly scrutinizes a 70s art school drop-out finding his identity in a United States long gone.
“Glenn has found his voice…” – Robert Crumb
(6) Sacred Heart
by Liz Suburbia
Fantagraphics • 311 pages
After a few pages you assume you're too old for it… then a few more and you're hooked. Read the rest in wonder and, finally, swear loudly at what the book has done to you, knowing you'll be reading it again very soon.
“Every time the veil is lifted, another one shimmers into existence … " – Graphic Policy
(7) Soldier's Heart
by Carol Tyler
Fantagraphics • 365 pages
An epic exploration of the army life of Carol Tyler's father, her relationship with him, her errant husband and her daughter. Beautifully drawn, it's clearly a cathartic project for Tyler, but one that's a meticulously realised page-turner helping us to understand a generation that's mostly gone.
(8) Fante Bukowski
by Noah Van Sciver
Fantagraphics • 81 pages
A short, acidic piss-take of the delusional Fante Bukowski: aspiring artist but accomplished alcoholic. He's waiting for inspiration that if it came he wouldn't have the talent to execute. Knowing, funny – and sad. Van Sciver's cartooning is truly superb, and it's even better in colour. This is one of those books you will want to come back to read every year or so.
(9) Grey Area
by Tim Bird
Avery Hill • 88 pages
This winner of the 2015 British Comic Award reminds us more than anything we've read in a while of some of the vignettes of the photocopied 80s. Measured observation of things that don't usually get observed, delivered in a hypnotic progression of panels. A poetic journey through the streets, tunnels, overpasses and byways of London and its suburbs.
“A beautiful work … ” – Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet
(10) Between the Billboards
by Owen D. Pomery
Avery Hill • 117 pages
A drolly delivered bit of slow-burn mania from Pomery, chronicling the happy alienation of protagonist Ebner who has built himself an apartment atop a building, between two billboards. The few warm social interactions amplify the hollowness of the rest.
“… a reflective comic drawn with skill and intelligence.” – Rob Clough
AND JUST ONE MORE…
11) Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Guide
by Gilbert Shelton
Knockabout • 88 pages
SEQUENTIAL produced this, so *cof* there's a certain conflict of interest here, but if you love the Freak Brothers, or have always wanted to find out more about them, then look no further. This exclusive digital collection boasts close to 100 pages of Freak Brothers material including the first ever Freak Brothers strip and the complete Underground Classics #1 (published in the UK as Freak Brothers #0). It also includes a history of the Freak Brothers written by Gilbert Shelton himself, and a plethora of rare illustrations, photographs, cover galleries and strips including “Winter of ’59”, “Fat Freddy Gets the Clap”, and “The Unbearable Lightness of Being Fat Freddy”.