Monday 14 December 2015

The Books, Graphic Novels and Comics I Read in 2015: Big Long List(s)

With Christmas fast approaching and the end of 2015 not far behind (as is traditionally the case), I know there'll be one question on the collective lips of Existential Ennui's ever-dwindling readership: Will we have to endure another one of Nick's tedious essays detailing the dubious and likely spurious achievements of this 'ere blog over the previous twelve months? To which the answer is, thank Christ, no. The odd decent post aside (a handful of Patricia Highsmith missives; a well-received guide to the Heinemann Library Edition of Graham Greene; and, latterly, reasonably thorough posts on Jimmy Sangster, Brian CleeveDonald MacKenzie and Elmore Leonard) it's not exactly been a banner year for blogging chez Existential Ennui, even compared to 2014 – fewer posts and with markedly less substance to many of those posts – and since I didn't inflict a year-end round-up on my meagre readership last year, it seems perverse to do so this year. Plus, y'know, I really can't be arsed anyway. (Remind me: Why do I bother blogging again...?)

However, I am inclined to assemble a big long list of the books I read this year, as I've done every year since 2010 – except in a change of programming from previous years, this time I've elected to also include the various comics serials I read in 2015 (but not the children's picture books I read – and reread, and reread – with Edie this year – of which there must have been over a hundred – nor the various books and graphic novels I read for work purposes), and to break the big long list up into three not quite so big long lists – comprising books, graphic novels and those aforementioned comics – both for ease of reference and in order to better reflect the breadth, if not the depth, of my reading.

The books and graphic novels I've arranged in roughly the order in which I read them – but not the comics; since those are for the most part ongoing monthly series it would be a nonsense to try and arrange them in that manner – and there are links to whatever I've written about each book/graphic novel/comic, which, in many cases, is fuck all. Analysis – such as it is, and emphasis on the 'anal' – follows the lists.

Books: Fiction and Non-Fiction
The Striker Portfolio by Adam Hall (Heinemann, 1969)
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Picador, 2014)
The Man Who Wrote Books in His Head and Other Stories by Patricia Highsmith (Eurographica, 1986)
War Game by Anthony Price (Gollancz, 1976)
The Conduct of Major Maxim by Gavin Lyall (Hodder, 1982)
Hong Kong Kill by Bryan Peters (Boardman, 1958)
Intrigue by Desmond Cory (Muller/Shakespeare Head, 1954)
Feramontov by Desmond Cory (Muller, 1966)
The Holm Oaks by P. M. Hubbard (Joseph, 1965)
The Tower by P. M. Hubbard (Bles, 1967)
A Time to Kill by Geoffrey Household​ (Joseph, 1952)
A Dog's Ransom by Patricia Highsmith (Heinemann, 1972)
The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene (Heinemann, 1946/1960)
Eleven by Patricia Highsmith (Heinemann, 1970)
Carol by Patricia Highsmith (Bloomsbury, 1990)
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene (Heinemann, 1958)
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe (Harper, 2012)
Vote X for Treason by Brian Cleeve (Collins, 1964)
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday, 2015)
Pity Him Afterwards by Donald Westlake (Boardman, 1965)
The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (Hodder, 1950/Blackwood, 1915)
private i by Jimmy Sangster (Triton, 1967)
The Kyle Contract by Donald MacKenzie (Hodder, 1971)
Pilgrim at the Gate by Desmond Cory (Muller/Shakespeare Head, 1957)
Foreign Exchange by Jimmy Sangster (Triton, 1968)
Touch by Elmore Leonard (Viking, 1988)
Right as Rain by George Pelecanos (Little, Brown, 2001)
Glitz by Elmore Leonard (Viking, 1985)
Bandits by Elmore Leonard (Viking, 1987)
Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett (Panther, 1958/Cassell, 1950)
The Crocus List by Gavin Lyall (Hodder, 1985)
Ways of Escape by Graham Greene (Bodley Head, 1980)

Graphic Novels
Copra: Round One by Michel Fiffe (Bergen Street, 2014)
How to be Happy by Eleanor Davis (Fantagraphics, 2014)
Poor Sailor by Sammy Harkham (Ginko, 2005) (reread)
The Clouds Above by Jordan Crane (Fantagraphics, 2005) (reread)
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (Faber, 2014)
Benson's Cuckoos by Anouk Ricard (D&Q, 2014)
It Never Happened Again by Sam Alden (Uncivilized, 2014)
One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry​ (Sasquatch, 2002)
Girl Stories by Lauren R. Weinstein (Holt, 2006)
Scenes from an Impending Marriage by Adrian Tomine (D&Q, 2011)
Houdini: The Handcuff King by Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi (Hyperion, 2007)
Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoet (D&Q, 2014)
Garage Band by Gipi (First Second, 2007)
Notes for a War Story by Gipi (First Second, 2007)
Megahex by Simon Hanselmann (Fantagraphics, 2014)
Here by Richard McGuire (Hamilton, 2014)
Fran by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics, 2013)
The Black Diamond Detective Agency by Eddie Campbell (First Second, 2007)
Avengers: Endless Wartime by Warren Ellis and Mike McKone (Marvel, 2013)
Judge Dredd: Origins by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra (Rebellion/Hachette Partworks, 2015)
The Chimera Brigade vols 1–​3​ by Lehman, Colin and Gess (Titan, 2015)
Silverfin: The Graphic Novel by Charlie Higson and Kev Walker (Puffin, 2008)
Beauty by Kerascoet and Hubert​ (NBM, 2014)
White Cube by Brecht Vandenbroucke (D&Q, 2014)
Grendel: Devil by the Deed by Matt Wagner (Comico, 1988) (reread)​
Big Questions by Anders Nilsen (D&Q, 2011) (part reread)
Copra: Round Two by Michel Fiffe (Bergen Street, 2015)
Black River by Josh Simmons (Fantagraphics, 2015)
Infinite Bowman by Pat Aulisio (Hic & Hoc, 2015)
Killing Time by John Smith and Chris Weston (Mandarin, 1992) (reread)
Haunter by Sam Alden (Study Group, 2014)
​Another Blue World by Jon Chandler​ (Breakdown, 2015)
​Terror Assaulter (O.M.W.O.T.) by Benjamin Marra​ (Fantagraphics, 2015)
Star Slammers by Walt Simonson (Marvel, 1983)
The Oven by Sophie Goldstein (Adhouse, 2015)
Sky in Stereo by Mardou (Revival House, 2015) (part reread)
The Spectators by Victor Hussenot (Nobrow, 2015)
Asterix and the Missing Scroll by Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad (Orion, 2015)
Ruins by Peter Kuper (SelfMadeHero, 2015)
New Construction by Sam Alden (Uncivilized, 2015)

Serial Comics
Thors by Jason Aaron and Chris Sprouse (Marvel, 2015)
Velvet by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting (Image, 2015)
Sex by Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski (Image, 2015)
Doctor Who: Four Doctors by Paul Cornell and Neil Edwards (Titan, 2015)
Injection by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey (Image, 2015)
Trees by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard (Image, 2015)
Squadron Sinister by Marc Guggenheim and Carlos Pacheco (Marvel, 2015)
Invisible Republic by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko (Image, 2015)
Avengers/New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman and various (Marvel, 2015)
The Dying and the Dead by Jonathan Hickman and Ryan Bodenheim (Image, 2015)
East of West by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta (Image, 2015)
Manhattan Projects by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra (Image, 2015)
Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic (Marvel, 2015)
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (Image, 2015)
Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses by David Lapham (Image, 2015)
Hellboy in Hell by Mike Mignola (Dark Horse, 2015)
Jupiter's Circle by Mark Millar and Wilfredo Torres (Image, 2015)
Marvel Boy by Grant Morrison and J. G. Jones (Marvel, 2000) (reread)
Nameless by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham (Image, 2015)
Airboy by James Robinson and Greg Hinkle (Image, 2015)
Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark (Image, 2015)
Captain America by Roger Stern and John Byrne (Marvel, 1980)
Dark Circle by Rich Tomasso (Image, 2015)
Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang (Image, 2015)
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image, 2015)
We Stand on Guard by Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce (Image, 2015)
Mage: The Hero Discovered by Matt Wagner (Comico, 1984)

Combining the novels (twenty-eight), short story collections (two), works of non-fiction (two) and graphic novels (forty) I make that a grand total of seventy-two books, which is more books than I've managed to get through in any single year since I started keeping a record of my reading; although as I read many more graphic novels this year than in previous years, and graphic novels tend to be quicker reads than novels, that total perhaps isn't as grand as it might at first appear. As for my comic book consumption, that's probably about the same as it has been – both in volume and the kinds of titles I read (predominantly Image-published ones) – for the past few years.

Of the novels that I read, around half were classic spy fiction of one type or another, and most of the rest were classic crime fiction, with the exceptions of Carol, Station Eleven and A God in Ruins, the latter two of which were the only newish novels I read this year – as opposed to the graphic novels that I read, where well over half were published in the last year or two. (The remainder were largely ones I'd had sitting in my loft unread for some time.) There were also four books, not listed, that I started but didn't finish (for various reasons): Kingsley Amis's The Old Devils and ​Collected Poems 1944–1979, Geoffrey Rose's Nobody on the Road and Mike Ripley's Just Another Angel.

Now, what I've tended to do in previous years is to choose my ten favourites of all of the books that I read, whether it be novels or graphic novels or whatever, and put together a top-ten-of-the-year post. However, seeing as I read so many graphic novels this year, for a change I thought I'd test my by-now virtually non-existent readership even further by picking my ten favourite books and my ten favourite comics/graphic novels and doing two posts instead of one. Will there be anyone still reading Existential Ennui by the time I'm done? Let's find out.


  1. Stunning list but not as stunning as your assistant at the top.

    1. Haha, thanks Patti. Edie is indeed by far the best thing about this post.

  2. My, your daughter is growing and maturing. It amazes me to see the changes at this age.

    1. Tell me about it. She seems to change every day at the moment.

  3. Keep up the great posts. They are much valued.