From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–This is a wonderful primer for someone new to the genre or who is starting a graphic-novel collection. Gravett does an excellent job of acknowledging that there are things to hate about comics and he confronts them head on, with explanations and suggestions for future reading. Next he offers a classics list of 30 of his favorite titles. Most of them are well known and are considered must-haves in any collection, such as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbonss Watchmen
(DC Comics, 1995), Art Spiegelmans Maus
(Knopf, 1993), and Neil Gaimans The Sandman series (DC Comics). The rest of the book examines those titles and others like them, showing sample pages with directions on how to read them and pointing out themes, keywords, and special features. This oversize volume has glossy, full-color pages and an easy-to-read text. Some of the sexier examples of graphic novels are included, such as Robert Crumbs My Troubles with Women
(Last Gasp, 1991). A useful, informative book for anyone who wants to become better versed in the genre.–Melissa T. Jenvey, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Anyone who wants a handle on that suddenly hot new format, the graphic novel, should seize upon this useful, incisive, intelligently arranged guide. Gravett analyzes 30 key graphic novels ("stories to change your life") in generic or topical chapters that bring together, say, alternative comics products such as Maus
and Jimmy Corrigan
, or superhero standouts such as Watchmen
and The Dark Knight Returns.
For readers inspired to investigate further, he follows each discussion of a particular book with selections from four similar graphic novels. Entire pages from the work under discussion appear, indicating its quality far better than a panel or two would. Gravett's analyses are concise and perceptive, and his introductory remarks in each chapter are knowledgeable. He has long been associated with the British alt-comics movement, which allows him to recommend a number of notable British and European graphic novels that likely would have been overlooked by a more American-centered book. Even the most well-versed comics fan will discover new treasures here, and newbies to the field may consider it indispensable. Gordon FlaggCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved