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GERARD WAY PICKS 10 GREAT GRAPHIC NOVELS

OK, it’s time to take the plunge and actually read a graphic novel. But where to start? Gerard Way, the lead singer of My Chemical Romance and writer of the acclaimed “The Umbrella Academy” comic, has 10 suggestions.

“Watchmen,” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (DC, $19.99). Graphic novel that changed the way I thought about superheroes and mainstream comics. I often refer to “Watchmen” as a gateway drug.

“The Dark Knight Returns,” by Frank Miller (DC, $14.99). A total deconstruction . . . this is Batman at 50 years old, at his grittiest, his darkest, and it paved the way for a whole generation of “darker heroes.”

“The Doom Patrol: The Painting That Ate Paris,” by Grant Morrison (Vertigo, $19.99). There are insane concepts and wild ideas on every page, from sleepwalking supervillains to sentient streets.

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“The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes,” by Neil Gaiman (Vertigo, $19.99). Drawing upon folklore, mythology, mysticism and Shakespeare, Neil Gaiman created one of the most original comics of our time, using a very simple concept as a vessel for imaginative and thought-provoking stories.

“The Invisibles: Say You Want a Revolution,” by Grant Morrison (Vertigo, $19.99). Drawing upon everything from “The Prisoner” to the Beatles, this series contains some of the craziest concepts ever put into a comic.

“Blankets,” by Craig Thompson (Top Shelf, $29.95). One of the best autobiographical comics I have ever read . . . a story about faith, love, loss and coming of age.

“Stray Bullets: The Innocence of Nihilism,” by David Lapham (El Capitan, $19.95) This book will scare you, and the only monsters in it are the ones you can find hanging out in the alleys of the city in which you live.

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“Hellboy: Seed of Destruction,” by Mike Mignola (Dark Horse Comics, $17.95). Combining elements of old-school E.C. Comics, horror, adventure and the occasional history or mythology lesson.

“Akira, Vol. 1,” by Katsuhiro Otomo (Dark Horse). It takes place in a futuristic version of Tokyo, which has been rebuilt after another seemingly atomic explosion, and deals with a corrupt government, psychic children and motorcycle gangs. Some of the best characters I have ever encountered.

“Wanted,” by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones (Top Cow/Image, $19.99). It came out of nowhere for me. . . . It has a way of tapping into that nihilism of “Fight Club” without being redundant.


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