I like to doodle and draw, but I will never be a graphic novelist. I began my own love affair of the comic book thanks to a guy named Matt LeBlanc (no, not him) way back in high school, who loaned me a few X-Men comics and from there I sort of exploded out and about for a few years. I fell away from comic books while I was in university, but then stumbled back into them after meeting my fella. He had the Sandman series, and the Watchmen, and quite a few other comics that opened my eyes to the idea of the graphic novel. Since then, I've shrugged off any of that stupid book snob drivel about how graphic novels are somehow inferior, and have found many wonderful, moving, engaging and exciting series to read.
In many ways, I consider graphic novels to be illustrated short stories (though serial graphic novels really turn into novel-length works). Stand-alone short graphic novels, though, I'm happy to place in the same mental headspace as short stories. And I love short stories.
"Plagued: The True Story of a Fake Apocolypse" by Ryan Estrada
I got to read "Plagued: The True Story of a Fake Apocolypse" by being a backer of The Whole Story: Winter 2013. It was a backer perk, and the whole collection itself is doing very well on kickstarter.
It's actually a two-part tale, and as a whole this graphic novel is a mix of two very different things: funny, and moving. The funny is the titled piece, where Ryan Estrada takes a moment to explain to you about the time he was working as a volunteer on an island struck by a tsunami and woke up covered in locusts and was sure this was the end of all things (or at least another tsunami). Once the frogs and the Hitler cats made their appearance, I was laughing. It's so insanely crazy it had to be true.
The second part of the tale is Ryan re-telling a tale told to him by one of the survivors of the tsunami, and his actions during that time. Moving, painful, but ultimately hopeful - it was lovely.
Definitely worth a click or two via Kickstarter.