Matt Bailey
Designer & Developer

Graphic Novels You Should Be Reading

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One of the loves in my life, other than web design/dev and movies, are graphic novels. The designer in me really gets a kick out of collecting gorgeously illustrated works of art. As with my taste in films I tend to lean towards darker stories and I would like to tell you about some of my recent discoveries. So, in no particular order…

Locke & Key

Written by Joe Hill
Illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez

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I honestly can’t recommend this series by Joe Hill highly enough. The story is a brilliantly original dark fantasy, with jaw droppingly beautiful artwork. If you check out nothing else, check this one out.

"Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them… and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…"

Rachel Rising

Written and illustrated by Terry Moore

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This is a gorgeously illustrated black and white independently published series, featuring an interesting take on the zombie genre, mixed up with a bit of Wiccan magic and demonic influence.

"Rachel wakes up in a shallow grave. Horrified, she digs her way out and goes looking for her killer in the little town of Manson. What she finds is a trail of death following her and more than one blood-chilling suspect. Rachel Rising will haunt you for life… and death."

Severed

Written by Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft
Illustrated by Attila Futaki

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Another genre bending piece, this one putting a spin on vampire/cannibal mythology. Dark and brooding in its tone, with a style of illustration to match.

"1916. A man haunts the roads. A man with razor-sharp teeth and a hunger for flesh. When twelve year old Jack Garron runs away from home to find his father, a wayward minstrel who he hasn’t seen since birth, he’ll discover how quickly the American Dream can become a nightmare."

Revival

Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Mike Norton

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Yet another spin on the zombie genre (we have an innate fascination with resurrection or ‘life’ after death it seems), but there’s also some kind of ghostly spiritual element to it as well. I adore the setting of this one - The cover describes it as a “Rural Noir” and in terms of location and atmosphere it reminds me a lot of films like Winter’s Bone and TV shows like Twin Peaks, or the French series Les Revenants (The Returned).

On an aside, Les Revenants (the TV series, not the film) is a big recommendation - deeply creepy and unsettling!

"For one day in rural central Wisconsin the dead came back to life. Now it’s up to Officer Dana Cypress to deal with the media scrutiny, religious zealots, and government quarantine that has come with them. In a town where the living have to learn to deal with those who are supposed to be dead, Officer Cypress must solve a brutal murder, and everyone, alive or undead, is a suspect."

Sweet Tooth

Written and Illustrated by Jeff Lemire

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What will grab you most about this one is the deeply affecting story. It’s essentially about a little ‘boy’ (he appears to be half boy, half deer), trying to survive after some kind of catastrophic apocalypse (he describes it as “the accident”). Raised in isolation and protected by his father he has no concept of what lies outside of the woods where he lives. But when his father sadly passes away he’s left on his own to fend for himself.

"The world beyond the trees is almost dead. A decade ago the affliction raged like a forrest fire, killing billions, and the only children born since are a new breed of human/animal hybrid. Gus is one of these endangered children, a boy with a sweet soul, a sweeter tooth - and the features of a deer."

And there you have it - I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. Let me know in the comments section below if you have any recommendations in return.