– posted by Sven This summer The Seattle Public Library in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures is excited to offer a summer reading program for adults called Beach Blanket Book Bingo! In order to help you along on your quest to complete your bingo sheet, we’ve pulled together some reading suggestions based on each category. Stay tuned for more throughout the summer! The fusion of word and image in graphic novels offers limitless narrative and artistic possibilities, associating parts of the brain that are usually left untriggered when engaging just text or pictures alone. Writers and artists sensitive to the peculiarities of this fusion can stoke that potential for expressive connectivity and summon stories and illustrations of everlasting strangeness. The library has a wealth of works from such creators. So come go gently mad with some crazy comics this summer at the Seattle Public Library. Here are just a few to get you started: Among the most renowned of modern creators of weird comics are Peter Milligan and Brendan McCarthy. Dark Horse’s The Best of Milligan and McCarthy offers a respectable sample of their psychedelic brand of superhero deconstruction, such as Rogan Gosh, a trippy jaunt through several layers of masala-infused consciousness with the eponymous Karmanaut outmaneuvering the villainous Soma Swami’s machinations of spiritual destruction. Also featured is the super-rare Freakwave, reimagining the Road Warrior concept in a world of ocean instead of desert. McCarthy later worked on designing and co-scripting Mad Max: Fury Road. For more surreal pandemonium, try Joe Casey and Mike Huddleston’s Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker. Things get so bizarre in this book that the fourth wall virtually disintegrates, exposing the creators’ brainstorming sessions about the very comic you are reading. Aside from having the most blitzed superhero name on the stands, Huddleston’s highway chase setpieces are like liquid electricity. A book so essential that it doesn’t even give you the choice. For a real doozy of a take on conventional cape comics, DC’s super weird Dial H for Hero concept, where an otherwise ordinary Joe turns into a random hero by dialing H-E-R-O on a mysterious rotary dial, is turned into a bombastic fantasy masterpiece by neologist conceptician China Mieville in Dial H. Expanding on the concept by introducing new dials (like S for Sidekick) and exploring the instrument’s origins in an interdimensional war on creativity, Mieville and illustrators Mateus Santalouco, David Lapham, and Albert Ponticelli throw away more ideas per page than most artists and writers can conjure in entire volumes. Not for the feint of imagination. Numbercruncher is one for the logicians. A mathematician dies, but then cuts a deal with the Divine Calculator of the Karmic Accountancy for a little more time to spend with the woman he loves. The deal begins to compound, as the mathematician exploits a carefully constructed contractual loophole and the story begins to enigmatically twist in a way that is as romantically encouraging as it is headscratching. Simon Spurrier and PJ Holden animate the tale with ample abstract aplomb. Lastly but far from leastly, Tom Scioli’s American Barbarian is like Jack Kirby having a Robert E Howard fever dream. The titular Conan proxy is pitted against the nefarious pharoah Two-Tank Omen (who has tanks instead of feet). A wide-eyed homage to classic comics spectacle while also paving new creative ground, fusing dystopian fiction with sword-and-sandal tropes blended with dinosaurs and hallucinatory high fantasy, I can honestly say that while I’ve read many books like this one, I’ve never read a single book like this one. A wide range of other graphic novel choices, from memoir to mystery to history and even a few superheroes can be found in this annotated list in our catalog. Here are some of our other posts on comics and graphic novels.