March is officially here, which means we’re now in the week of Will Eisner’s birth. In what has become an annual tradition, this marks the celebration of Will Eisner Week, aimed at “Promoting Comics, Graphic Novel Literacy, Free Speech, and the Legacy of Will Eisner.” Perhaps there’s no better way to honor the man referred to as the “father of the graphic novel” than to pick up a true graphic novel to read. It may be one of Eisner’s own works, such as A Contract With God, Dropsie Avenue, and The Dreamer, or it could be an original work by a different creative team.
Often, the term “graphic novel” has been conflated to include any trade paperback or hardcover, but most are collections of single issues. Even famous examples of graphic novels aren’t true graphic novels, such as Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns. You know what is a graphic novel? Maus, by Art Spiegelman. Ditto for Persepolis or Road to Perdition. If you are inclined to pick up something a little more superheroic, there’s X-Men: God Loves Man Kills and Batman: Ego. Also, don’t forget the Earth One (DC) and Season One (Marvel) lines of graphic novels. The point is, if you haven’t read a true graphic novel before, now is the time to dive in. And if you have read one before, pick up an old favorite or try something new.