Graphic novels on travel that'll show you the world

Some write about travel, some draw. Here's the best of both worlds.
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Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City's Most Colorful Neighborhoods

by Florent Chavouet

About the book:  This prize-winning book is both an illustrated tour of a Tokyo rarely seen in Japan travel guides and an artist's warm, funny, visually rich, and always entertaining graphic memoir.Florent Chavouet, a young graphic artist, spent six months exploring Tokyo while his girlfriend interned at a company there. Each day he would set forth with a pouch full of color pencils and a sketchpad, and visit different neighborhoods. This stunning book records the city that he got to know during his adventures. It isn't the Tokyo of packaged tours and glossy guidebooks, but a grittier, vibrant place, full of ordinary people going about their daily lives and the scenes and activities that unfold on the streets of a bustling metropolis.Here you find business men and women, hipsters, students, grandmothers, shopkeepers, policemen, and other urban types and tribes in all manner of dress and hairstyles. A temple nestles among skyscrapers; the corner grocery anchors a diverse assortment of dwellings, cafes, and shops—often tangled in electric lines. The artist mixes styles and tags his pictures with wry comments and observations. Realistically rendered advertisements or posters of pop stars contrast with cartoon sketches of iconic objects or droll vignettes, like a housewife walking her pet pig, a Godzilla statue in a local park, and an urban fishing pond that charges 400 yen per half hour.This very personal guide to Tokyo is organized by neighborhood with hand-drawn maps that provide an overview of each neighborhood, but what really defines them is what caught the artist's eye and attracted his formidable drawing talent. Florent Chavouet begins his introduction by observing that, "Tokyo is said to be the most beautiful of ugly cities." With wit, a playful sense of humor, and the multicolor pencils of his kit, he sets aside the question of urban ugliness or beauty and captures the Japanese essence of a great city in this truly vital portrait.


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French Milk

by Lucy Knisley

About the book:  Through delightful drawings, photographs, and musings, twenty-three-year-old Lucy Knisley documents a six-week trip she and her mother took to Paris when each was facing a milestone birthday. With a quirky flat in the fifth arrondissement as their home base, they set out to explore all the city has to offer, watching fireworks over the Eiffel Tower on New Year's Eve, visiting Oscar Wilde's grave, loafing at cafés, and, of course, drinking delicious French milk. What results is not only a sweet and savory journey through the City of Light but a moving, personal look at a mother-daughter relationship.


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Palestine

by Joe SaccoEdward W. Said

About the book:  A landmark of journalism and the art form of comics. Based on several months of research and an extended visit to the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the early 1990s, this is a major work of political and historical nonfiction. Prior to Safe Area Gorazde: The War In Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995―Joe Sacco's breakthrough novel of graphic journalism―the acclaimed author was best known for Palestine, a two-volume graphic novel that won an American Book Award in 1996. Fantagraphics Books is pleased to present the first single-volume collection of this landmark of journalism and the art form of comics. Based on several months of research and an extended visit to the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the early 1990s (where he conducted over 100 interviews with Palestinians and Jews), Palestine was the first major comics work of political and historical nonfiction by Sacco, whose name has since become synonymous with this graphic form of New Journalism. Like Safe Area Gorazde, Palestine has been favorably compared to Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus for its ability to brilliantly navigate such socially and politically sensitive subject matter within the confines of the comic book medium. Sacco has often been called the first comic book journalist, and he is certainly the best. This edition of Palestine also features an introduction from renowned author, critic, and historian Edward Said (Peace and Its Discontents and The Question of Palestine), one of the world's most respected authorities on the Middle Eastern conflict. Black-and-white comics throughout


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Macedonia

by Thammy Evans,Rudolf Abraham

About the book:  “Pekar has proven that comics can address the ambiguities of daily living, that like the finest fiction, they can hold a mirror up to life.”–The New York TimesFor years Heather Roberson, a passionate peace activist, has argued that war can always be avoided. But she has repeatedly faced counterarguments that fighting is an inescapable consequence of world conflicts. Indeed, Heather finds proving her point to be a little tricky without examples to bolster her case. So she does something a little crazy: She sets out for far-off Macedonia, a landlocked country north of Greece and west of Bulgaria, to explore a region that has edged–repeatedly–close to the brink of violence, only to refrain. In the process–and as vividly portrayed by the talented duo of Harvey Pekar and Ed Piskor–Heather is tangled in red tape, ripped off by cabdrivers and hotel clerks, hit on by creepy guys, secretly photographed, and mistaken for a spy. She also creates unlikely friendships, learns that getting lost means seeing something new, and makes some startling discoveries. War is hell and peace is difficult–but conflict is always necessary. “Harvey Pekar wrestles the kind of things most comic book heroes wouldn’t touch with a laser blaster.”–Cleveland Plain Dealer“A visit with Harvey Pekar . . . will cause you to reexamine your own life . . . just as the greatest literature will.”–The Austin Chronicle“Pekar lets all of life flood into his panels: the humdrum and the heroic, the gritty and the grand.”–The New York Times Book Review


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How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less

by Sarah Glidden

About the book:  When Sarah Glidden took a “Birthright Israel” tour, she thought she knew what she was getting herself into. But when she got to Israel, she found that things weren’t quite so simple. HOW TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL is Sarah’s memoir not only of her Israeli governmentsponsored trip through Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Masada and other famous locations, but of the emotional journey she never expected to take while she was there. Her experience clashes with her preconceived notions again and again, particularly when she tries to take a non-chaperoned trip into the West Bank. Sarah is forced to question first her political beliefs and, ultimately, her own sense of identity, until she finds that to understand Israel she first must come to understand herself.From the Hardcover edition.


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Burma Chronicles

by Guy Delisle

About the book:  THE POPULAR TRAVELOGUE NOW IN PAPERBACKFrom the author of Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea and Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China comes Burma Chronicles, an informative look at a country that uses concealment and isolation as social control. It is drawn with Guy Delisle's minimal line, interspersed with wordless vignettes and moments of his distinctive slapstick humor.


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Carnet De Voyage (Travel Journal)

by Craig Thompson

About the book:  Craig Thompson spent three months traveling through Barcelona, the Alps, and France, as well as Morocco, researching his next graphic novel, Habibi. Spontaneous sketches and a travelogue diary document his adventures and quiet moments, creating a raw and intimate portrait of countries, culture and the wandering artist.


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Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea

by Guy Delisle

About the book:  In 2001, cartoonist Guy Delisle lived in the capital of North Korea for two months on a work visa for a French film company. In this remarkable graphic novel, Delisle recorded what he was able to see of the culture and lives of one of the last remaining totalitarian communist societies.


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Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City

by Guy Delisle

About the book:  "["Jerusalem"] is a small miracle: concise, even-handed, highly particular." "The Guardian""""""Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City" is the acclaimed graphic memoirist Guy Delisle's strongest work yet, a thoughtful and moving travelogue about life in contemporary Jerusalem. Delisle expertly lays the groundwork for a cultural road map of the Holy City, utilizing the classic "stranger in a strange land" point of view that made his other books required reading for understanding what daily life is like in cities few are able to travel to. "Jerusalem" explores the complexities of a city that represents so much to so many. It eloquently examines the impact of conflict on the lives of people on both sides of the wall while drolly recounting the quotidian: checkpoints, traffic jams, and holidays. When observing the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim populations that call Jerusalem home, Delisle's drawn line is both sensitive and fair, assuming nothing and drawing everything. A sixteen-page appendix to the paperback edition lets the reader behind the curtain, revealing intimate process sketches from Delisle's time in Jerusalem. "Jerusalem" is a masterfully hewn travelogue; topping Best of 2012 lists from "The Guardian," "Paste," and the "Montreal Gazette," it was the graphic novel of the year."


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The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo

by Joe Sacco

About the book:  When bombs are falling and western journalism is the only game left in town "fixers" are the people who sell war correspondents the human tragedy and moral outrage that makes news editors happy.It's dangerous, a little amoral and a lot desperate.Award-winning comix-journalist Joe Sacco goes behind the scene of war correspondence to reveal the anatomy of the big scoop. He begins by returning us to the dying days of Balkan conflict and introduces us to his own fixer; a man looking to squeeze the last bit of profit from Bosnia before the reconstruction begins. Thanks to a complex relationship with the fixer Joe discovers the crimes of opportunistic warlords and gangsters who run the countryside in times of war. But the west is interested in a different spin on the stories coming out of Bosnia. Almost ten years later, Joe meets up with his fixer and sees how the new Bosnian government has "dealt" with these criminals and Joe ponders who is holding the reins of power these days...


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Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China

by Guy Delisle

About the book:  Shenzhen is entertainingly compact with Guy Delisle's observations of life in urban southern China, sealed off from the rest of the country by electric fences and armed guards. With a dry wit and a clean line, Delisle makes the most of his time spent in Asia overseeing outsourced production for a French animation company. He brings to life the quick pace of Shenzhen's crowded streets. By translating his fish-out-of-water experiences into accessible graphic novels, Delisle skillfully notes the differences between Western and Eastern cultures, while also conveying his compassion for the simple freedoms that escape his colleagues in the Communist state.


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Japan Ai: A Tall Girl's Adventures in Japan

by Aimee Major-Steinberger

About the book:  In Japanese, "Ai" means "Love" — and if you love Japan, get ready to dive head-first into the incredible world of Japanese pop-culture! Join Aimee Major Steinberger (a professional animator with a passion for all things cute) on the ultimate otaku vacation! Visit fantasy restaurants, maid cafes, and the world's most exclusive doll store! Cosplay on the infamous Harajuku Street! Attend an outrageous all-female Takarazuka musical! See beautiful shrines, hot springs, stores full of manga, and so much more! Aimee captures it all in a manga journal that is both adorable and breathtaking.


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Little Fish: A Memoir

by Ramsey Beyer

About the book:  Told through real-life journals, collages, lists, and drawings, this coming-of-age story illustrates the transformation of an 18-year-old girl from a small-town teenager into an independent city-dwelling college student. Written in an autobiographical style with beautiful artwork, Little Fish shows the challenges of being a young person facing the world on her own for the very first time and the unease—as well as excitement—that comes along with that challenge.


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