Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 100

Cross Game

by Mitsuru Adachi
Genre: sports, romance, family
8 vols
ISBN: 1421537583 (Amazon)

It's really rather surprising that I waited until 100 to recommend Cross Game. This is the graphic novel I've read more times than any other. It could rightly be called my all-time favourite. It is so enjoyable that I read all eight volumes every other year at least. Sometimes more often.

Cross Game is, overtly, about baseball. I don't care about baseball. I don't even really like it. I hate spectating sports. And yet, I devour Cross Game because though it is intimately devoted to the majesty of the game (Adachi has done more than five series devoted to baseball). I devour it because it is about so much more than baseball and that "much more" subsumes the baseball part so entirely that I begin to love the baseball part.

When it comes down to a book that I can just settle into after a stressful week or when I'm down or when it's cold out or when there's just been too much rain or when I remember how much love there is in the world, it doesn't come better than Cross Game. Whenever I loan out a copy, I'll flip through the book (as I tend to do whenever I loan out any book) and I'll experience a time skip in which I've accidentally read thirty or forty pages. Sometimes more.

These books are completely, entirely enjoyable. Adachi has had decades to perfect his storytelling craft and this is him playing at the top of his game. Cross Game is fun. Cross Game is funny. Cross Game is sad, is thrilling, is touching, is smart, and is well told. Cross Game is about love and family and friends and loyalty to each—and is the most compulsively readable comic I own. I love it and it always helps me feel like I'm tapping into this thing that is intensely human. It reminds me what it is to love in all of the senses of the word.

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Good Ok Bad features reviews of comics, graphic novels, manga, et cetera using a rare and auspicious three-star rating system. Point systems are notoriously fiddly, so here it's been pared down to three simple possibilities:

3 Stars = Good
2 Stars = Ok
1 Star = Bad

I am Seth T. Hahne and these are my reviews.

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