“Perhaps you might want to write about your favorite graphic novel.”
This was the suggestion when I was asked to write a post for LitTherapy, which I readily agreed to doing. After all, I love graphic novels so it should be easy for me to write about it, especially about my favorite. And then it hit me—what was my favorite? Do I even have one? It was only then that I realized that I have never given it a thought. It took me a few days to narrow things down.
I went to look at my biased book shelves. I say “biased” because some books or series have their own special shelf. Let’s see….
Agatha Christie by Harper…no, as much as the Dame is my most favorite author of all, I am disappointed with Harper’s adaptation with its terrible illustrations. Some stories moved so fast that they lost the slow psychological essence of a Christie murder.
Nancy Drew by Papercutz….yeah, but I still prefer the yellow-spined books of my childhood.
Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama…yeah but not quite. It just appeals to the mystery buff in me. It’s a manga series about a high school detective genius transformed into a seven-year-old by the bad guys but that doesn’t stop our hero from solving crimes and finding the villains so he can go back to his normal self.
Sherlock Bones by Yuma Ando…has potential but it’s still a new manga series so let’s see if it can sustain the quality. Sherlock Bones is about Sherlock Holmes coming back as a dog in contemporary Japan. He still solves mysteries through the help of his human whom he regards as his Dr. Watson.
...and then it hit me! My favorite graphic novel is “Oishinbo!” I even remember the first time I saw the book. I only noticed the series because they were laid out with covers facing outward unlike the rest of the mangas on the shelves battling out for attention with their spines. My attention was not caught because of the unique artistry on the cover, but because the titles simply read “Vegetables” and “Sake” accompanied by panels of food images. I flipped them over, saw the promise of “a fascinating, addictive journey through the world of cooking and food culture” and out came my credit card.
I immediately pored over the books and fell in love not so much with the stories but with its concept of presenting the Japanese food culture through comics and comically. What is more amazing, the series dates back to the 1980s when the word “foodie” was not yet in vogue.
Looking at my entire graphic novel collection, I realized it’s the series I’ve read over and over. Even just looking at the books per se brings a smile to my face. And knowing that the series has stopped a long time ago makes me sad. And I guess that’s why it’s my favorite. It speaks back to me. It comforts me. It’s my friend. I also guess my fondness for Japan and anything Japanese especially its food might have something to do with it? Nevertheless, the verdict is in. Sorry, Agatha and Nancy. Love you still!