Laika, a semi-historical graphic novel about the famed canine cosmonaut, may be the best dog story ever told. I was on the verge of tears by the end. As he tells the tale of the first Earthling in space, writer-artist Nick Abadzis reveals the inner workings of the Soviet space program, and the tragic pasts of some of the leading scientists involved. On a more theoretical level, Laika paints a vivid portrait of an economy focused on signaling “progress” to the world via silly prestige projects instead of actually raising living standards.

If you like graphic novels, Soviet history, and/or dog stories, you must read this book.