The best graphic memoirs with creativity and flair

Vince Galea Author Of Leviathan
By Vince Galea

Who am I?

I am from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I have always had a passion for art and literature. I started drawing at a young age and never stopped. Constantly drawing on scrap papers from my father’s graphic arts business. Always pulling from my imagination and the world around me for inspiration. Books were a major outlet for my creativity. Graphic novels in particular were always my favorite form of expression. To be able to tell a story using pictures and share my own personal feelings with others was a means of communication for me. I began to study illustration in school and college. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Marywood University. I currently work as a graphic designer and illustrator.


I wrote...

Leviathan

By Vince Galea,

Book cover of Leviathan

What is my book about?

Leviathan is a short story graphic novel that focuses on mental health. More specifically my own mental health… Based on true events the book takes place in a state of mind, or rather a dream. Conversations are narrated through sometimes incomplete thoughts or text messages from circa 2008. Texting was much less common then and more difficult to express emotions.

A failing relationship between two lovers and the fear of facing reality spirals to an end. There is also a comical side to this story as the protagonist is hurtling toward self-destruction. Little quirks and dark humor allow the reader to find comfort in this mature tragedy.

This book is available here.

The books I picked & why

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Blankets: A Graphic Novel

By Craig Thompson,

Book cover of Blankets: A Graphic Novel

Why this book?

Blankets changed my life for the better. I really connected with this novel. It was the first graphic memoir I had ever read and I loved it so much. Everything from the story and characters, to the flowing pen and ink art style. It was glorious! I could not put it down and read it from cover to cover. Upside-down and backward. I couldn’t get enough of this book. It taught me to be more forgiving and understanding of people. I laughed, I cried. I felt like this book was missing from my life and I had found something truly special. 

This book helped me overcome my own heartache in college and grow to become a better person. I wanted to illustrate just like Craig Thompson. I wanted to draw and feel like I was giving back to others the same way he did for me with Blankets. This book will always be number one for me.


Exit Wounds

By Rutu Modan,

Book cover of Exit Wounds

Why this book?

Not only is Rutu Modan one of my favorite illustrators she is also an extremely talented story writer and Exit Wounds is no exception. This was also one of the first graphic novels I had ever read and was so captivating. Her unique art style and writing are truly amazing. I love her color pallet and how it really keeps you engaged from panel to panel. Without giving away spoilers this book is based on real-life events and really gives you a greater sense of life in other countries can be like for better and for worse. 

I love all of Rutu Modan’s books but this one really hit home for me.


Salamander Dream

By Hope Larson,

Book cover of Salamander Dream

Why this book?

This book was a hidden gem for me. I found this on a dusty shelf in an old bookstore and was instantly in love with its whimsical drawings. The simplicity of color use and a narrative are told only through its illustrations. Intended for young adult readers, however, this book really is for all dreamers of ages. 


Don't Go Where I Can't Follow

By Anders Nilsen,

Book cover of Don't Go Where I Can't Follow

Why this book?

Don't Go Where I Can't Follow is a masterpiece in my opinion. This deeply personal story is based on the author's own life and the loss of his fiancé. A look into someone else’s struggles and hardships using drawing and photographs, notes, and sketches this novel is truly a beautiful collection of their relationship together. This one really resonates with me and hurts my heart, but I love it so much and I highly recommend picking up a copy as soon as you can.  


Dante's Divine Comedy: A Graphic Adaptation

By Seymour Chwast,

Book cover of Dante's Divine Comedy: A Graphic Adaptation

Why this book?

First I want to say how much I love The Divine Comedy Dante’s Inferno and this graphic novel adaptation by Seymour Chwast is a wonderful version of the tale. If you don’t already know the story I highly suggest you read it in its original text but also be sure to grab this copy as it will really bring the levels of hell to a more comical light. I particularly love the black and white bold art style and humor brought to life here. 


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