Alibi V.19 No.1 • Jan 7-13, 2010 



For adults fond of pictures and art accompanying their reading, there is the graphic novel—what Daniel Clowes calls a "marketing moniker" in his depressingly hilarious 2005 book Ice Haven. "Are comics a valid form of expression?," he asks. "The jury's still out, I'm afraid. There exists for some an uncomfortable impurity in the combination of two forms of picture-writing (i.e. letter shapes that form 'words') while to others it's not that big a deal." The past decade saw abundant excellence in adult comic books. Below are a selection of 10 critics' favorites, volumes which also come with the Alibi seal of approval. In alphabetical order:

Alice in Sunderland

Bryan Talbot, 2007

The history and myth of an area in Northeast England are told through the Lewis Carroll lens.

Black Hole

Charles Burns, 2005

Set in stark black-and-white '70s Seattle suburbs, an STD is causing teenagers to become mutants. Originally published as a series that began in 1995.


Craig Thompson, 2003

First love, faith and growing up in an evangelical family in Wisconsin is depicted in this autobiographical tale.

Box Office Poison

Alex Robinson, 2001

An indulgent look into the personal lives of a group of young New Yorkers.


David B., 2005

Illustrates a young artist's life and fantasy growing up with an epileptic brother. Originally published as French comic series L' Ascension du Haut Mal in 1996, the first half of which was published in English in 2002.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Alison Bechdel, 2006

A labyrinthine memoir that explores sexual orientation, gender roles and the function of literature in one's life.

Ice Haven

Daniel Clowes, 2005

The weird, interconnected lives of the residents of a small town in over two dozen individual strips.

Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth

Chris Ware, 2000

Diagram-laden masterpiece about a lonely, middle-aged man with an active imagination, his grandfather during the Chicago World's Fair and a variety of other parallel stories.


Marjane Satrapi, 2003

A war story about a girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

The Walking Dead

Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore/Charlie Adlard, 2003-present

Zombies (unquestionably the favorite monster of this decade) take over the world, and a band of humans struggle to survive. Published as a monthly series.