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Parker: The Hunter

Darwyn Cooke and Richard Stark (IDW)

A magnificent comics recreation of Stark/Donald Westlake's noir classic of crime and vengeance and a stylish evocation of his stony, relentless protagonist.

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Driven by Lemons

Josh Cotter (AdHouse)

A notebook full of abstract doodles somehow morphs into a riveting narrative that is as strange as it is imaginative.

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Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papad (Bloomsbury)

Both informative and engrossing, this full-color comics-bio tells the story of mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell's messy personal life while documenting his maniacal pursuit of the philosophical foundations of modern mathematics.

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The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders

Emmanuel Guibert and Didier Lefèvre (First Second)

Alternating photos by the late photographer Lefèvre with the comics panels of his friend and chronicler Guibert, this powerful and prescient documentary work details a 1986 trip by a French medical team through war-ravaged Afghanistan.

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Asterios Polyp

David Mazzucchelli (Pantheon)

A brilliant academic architect--Asterios Polyp designs edgy buildings that are never built--and witty, self-confident pedant, Polyp is faced with a profound loss of belief in the life he has chosen.

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe

Bryan Lee O'Malley (Oni Press)

The further rollicking adventures of world-famous Canadian slacker Scott Pilgrim; his awesome girlfriend, Ramona Flowers; and Scott's ongoing battle with her seven evil ex-boyfriends.

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Footnotes in Gaza

Joe Sacco (Metropolitan)

Focused on a little-known massacre of Palestinian refugees in Gaza in 1956, this definitive work is ultimately a history of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation.

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A Drifting Life

Yoshihiro Tatsumi (D&Q)

A massive (840 pages) and poignant memoir by the master--indeed inventor--of Japanese alternative comics (called gekiga) that doubles as a fascinating history of the beginnings of the Japanese manga industry after WWII.

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You'll Never Know: A Good and Decent Man

Carol Tyler (Fantagraphics)

Tyler profiles the greatest generation and the terrible price it paid in this memoir of her father's life during WWII, and measures her own life against it.

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Pluto

Naoki Urasawa (Viz Media)

A tense mystery, an unsettling science fiction tale and a subtle exploration of what it means to be human as master manga-ka Urasawa reimagines Astro-Boy as something much more adult and serious.

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Stitches

David Small (Norton)

A graphic novel to bring us all back to comics, Small's account of his terrifying childhood is amazing. The drawings of his parents and the small suffering boy who doesn't quite understand until much, much later will pull you along panel by panel and tear your heart out.

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