The best graphic novels for a long, dark weekend (or two, or three…)

Kyle Fleischhacker Author Of Bear Serum
By Kyle Fleischhacker

Who am I?

I’m a writer/artist inspired by a lifetime of reading graphic novels. A visual artist at heart with a BFA in Industrial Design I have worked over a decade in conceptual thinking for research and development in the manufacturing sector. I love the experimentation that breaks the boring norms of industry standards. I wanted to use my talent, experience, and passion to create a sci-fi graphic novel, Bear Serum, and break the medium norms. I wrote and drew it to satiate my own wild ideas in the sci-fi category to push the medium further.

I wrote...

Bear Serum

By Kyle Fleischhacker,

Book cover of Bear Serum

What is my book about?

When the human race is battling for survival and leans on the military... humanity’s "evolved" cell phones into mental chips provide great strength but also lead to their demise when a central authority is controlling push notifications... molding the new world. Chaos is sure to ensue!

A soldier's life is saved by his mental chip and precious Bear Serum, we follow his journey as the world around him evolves and changes. Politics, power and greed shape his journey in the 4-level planet, Earth 2. A dystopian, stylistic and action-packed sci-fi graphic novel.

The books I picked & why

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Night Hunters

By Dave Baker,

Book cover of Night Hunters

Why this book?

Before a Friday night drink, turn on some heavy metal (or hard rock) and decide if you want to, “Become a cop or die.”

 This indie sci-fi graphic novel has style with thought-provoking themes that will make you wonder about our lives in the near future. 

The monochromatic color palette is not only stylistically cool but it frames emotion perfectly well. I loved the raw indie art by Ziritt, feels like a classic tattoo artist took his inks and drew inside comic panels. He frames a lot of statuesque and memorable moments with his violent, dystopian characters.

As an indie artist and writer, it’s awesome to see another indie story. Indie at its core is unfiltered, which is what makes it great. It isn’t watered down to hit the right tone to sell a lot of copies. It’s the creator’s voice being heard.

I suggest that you read this one on a Friday evening.

Scud: The Whole Shebang

By Rob Schrab, Dan Harmon, Mondy Carter

Book cover of Scud: The Whole Shebang

Why this book?

Scud is a ’90s indie comic at its best and is now in one giant collection. Vending machine robots with various whacky, funny, and violent scenarios. Artist/writer Rob Shrab created a ton of awesome indie work. His passion and talent are undeniable as he creates one crazy scenario to the next. I recommend going to a local coffee shop and spending some time with the printed copy sipping a latte while listening to 90’s grunge rock.

I suggest that you read this one on a Saturday afternoon.

Batman: Dark Victory

By Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale (illustrator),

Book cover of Batman: Dark Victory

Why this book?

This is my favorite mainstream graphic novel of the Caped Crusader. Mostly because of the art by Tim Sale. This graphic novel has a special place for me because it is my first experience with Tim’s art. Tim represents style, emotion, and grit through his visuals. I am an art-first comic book fan. I got into writing later as a young adult but art is what drives me to pursue graphic novels. I flip through graphic novels without reading a word first. If it is visually appealing throughout the story, I go back and read the whole story.

Dark Victory is technically Jeph Loeb and Tim’s second Batman novel after but Dark Victory is more polished, feels cooler and the story is smoother.

I suggest that you read this one on a Saturday night.

Shadow Life

By Hiromi Goto, Ann Xu (illustrator),

Book cover of Shadow Life

Why this book?

I picked this book up on a whim, I’m glad I did. It was a pleasant surprise with no expectations. A simple, easy-to-read story with art guiding you frame by frame from artist Ann Xu. The smooth art guides you through the effortless story. It shines a light from a different perspective of life. It is soft, warm, and enlightening as we question death around the corner (especially close for the elderly woman in this story who literally vacuums up death). If you are looking for something different from a harsh dystopian/superhero graphic novel, pick up Shadow Life.

I suggest that you read this one on a Sunday morning.

Akira, Volume 1

By Katsuhiro Otomo,

Book cover of Akira, Volume 1

Why this book?

Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira is a sci-fi masterpiece. Visit Neo-Tokyo again and again… then watch the most beautiful Anime ever made, based on the manga. The manga is a breeze to read with art that will have you staring and looking for insane detail. It explores dystopian imagination with a wild and cool cast of characters. Its unfathomable style and design with the attention to detail in the art will make you marvel at how Katsuhiro Otomo was able to deliver such a feat.

I suggest that you read this one on a Sunday night.

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