While it’s becoming the norm for comics and graphic novels to pop up on year-end “Best of …” lists, seeing them on a list of the best spiritual books of 2006, as compiled by the Detroit Free Press’s David Crumm, seemed kind of odd, yet strangely fitting:
“Sandman: The Absolute I,” by Neil Gaiman (Vertigo; $99). This coffee-table edition pulls together full-color reprints of the first 20 volumes of this landmark comic book. The series began in 1988 with the bizarre, spiky-haired hero whom Gaiman calls the embodiment of human dreams. Alternately terrifying and awe-inspiring, Gaiman’s comics are credited with fueling the growth of graphic novels.
“Pride of Baghdad,” by Brian Vaughan and Niko Henrichon (Vertigo; $19.99). This new graphic novel tells of the 2003 bombing of Iraq through the eyes of animals in the Baghdad Zoo. One of the cosmic questions it raises: Do animals have souls?
The graphic novels weren’t even the oddest entries in the list. “Kafka’s Soup: A Complete History of World Literature in 14 Recipes,” a book of recipes presented in the voices of famous writers, broke new ground for cookbooks on the list.