Wordless Graphic Novels
*Here are two graphic novels from First Second Publications that have no dialog, but convey a whole lot of universal themes.
Dog and Robot are best friends who do everything together, until Robot breaks down at the beach and Dog must leave him behind. As the months pass Dog goes through a string of unlikely friendships with a bunch of ducks, a couple of anteaters, a penguin, and a snowman. While Robot is stranded he is mutilated by a pack of rabbits, and later becomes a surrogate tree for a bird. Through it all Dog and Robot dream for their lost best friend. Robot Dreams by Sara Varon is a touching tale that chronicles the everchanging cycle of friendship. Readers of all ages will be delighted by Varon’s picture book-like style and the plotlines playful charm. (Sara Varon is also the author of the graphic novel Sweaterweather and the children’s book Chicken and Cat.)
A.L.I.E.E.E.N (short for Alien of Lost Issues and Earthly Editions of Extraterrestrial Novelties) by Lewis Trondheim is wordless with bits of generic alien language. In the intro Trondheim claims that he found the comic in the Catskills while picnicing, and that it is truly an extraterrestrial comic book. Essentially, the graphic novel is a bizarre mix of interwoven stories featuring characters who look like they would appear in a wacky Japanese toy store. I’m not exactly sure what the universal themes were in this novel, but it was apparent to me that aliens know a lot about pooping and torture.