Great graphic novels from 2012

Ten illustrated tales of love, war, crime, politics and sex, not to mention ghosts and mermaids

Published November 26, 2012 1:00AM (EST)

While connoisseurs of the graphic novel form will undoubtedly be reserving most of their comics budget for "Building Stories," Chris Ware's enormous, years-in-the-making boxed set of 14 miscellaneous paper items, not everyone with a yen for visual storytelling wants to tackle broadsheets, pamphlets and charts in order to get it. This year saw the publication of an ever wider and richer array of graphic "novels" -- some of the best of which are not novels at all, but nonfiction. The success of Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" has spawned a bunch of quirky graphic memoirs by women who like to label their drawings with little arrowed explanatory labels, and there are still plenty of square-jawed heroes punching their way through this or that hellscape between bouts of stagey despair. Look further, and you'll find books like the 10 stand-out gems included here, a mix of ancient tales and the latest news, private lives and public problems, the beautiful, the horrifying, the wondrous and the melancholy. Why not dive in?

By Laura Miller

Laura Miller is the author of "The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia."

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