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Surreal Graphic Novels

These graphic novels blend reality, hallucination and visual delirium to create captivating, disorienting tales.

Blegvad, Peter
The Book of Leviathan
An infant without facial features wanders through various worlds contemplating philosophy with his stuffed bunny and pet cat. Collage-like color illustrations blended with black and white strip drawings add to the disorientation.
 
Deitch, Kim
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams
A sinister talking cat and Deitch’s trademark unconventional panel layouts are just the beginning of the surrealist tendencies of this tale that draws from the history of American animation.
 
Nilsen, Anders
Dogs and Water
The hoodie-clad main character walks along a deserted road into a desert. But does he stumble into a war zone? Or is he actually drifting far from land in a boat? Or is he underwater? Wherever he is, he has only his teddy bear — with whom he’s apparently very angry — strapped to his back pack to talk to.
 
Nowak, Naomi
House of Clay
This dream-driven narrative follows the loosely linear and highly symbolic story of a hemophobic woman who takes a job in a factory to save money for nursing school. Nowak arranges panels with wild artfulness, dusty, muted colors and sprawling tangles of hair and amorphous plant life to create a sensual mix of imagination, reality and subconscious reverie.
 
Simmons, Josh
Jessica Farm
The plot navigates dream logic that darts between dread and joy as Jessica wanders from room to room, meeting different “house friends” at every turn. Some are happy, welcoming creatures, while others are nightmarish, but all fit in perfectly with the strange geography of the whimsically shifting house.
 
Talbot, Bryan
Alice in Sunderland
With images drawn from multiple sources, mediums and styles, Talbot crafts this wide-reaching historical metafictional adventure about Alice in Wonderland’s historical connections, stopping all over the pop-cultural map along the way.
 
Woodring, Jim
The Portable Frank
Equally psychedelic and allegorical, the title character wanders through a swirling, morphing landscape with his also morphing pet as they encounter demonic and strange creatures in mostly wordless stories.
 

Updated: May 1, 2009