- Age Range: 10 and up
- Grade Level: 5 - 6
- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Candlewick (September 27, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 076365938X
- ISBN-13: 978-0763659387
- Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.7 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,291,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box Hardcover – September 27, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—In this volume, Marcus compiles interviews with 13 different graphic novel artists. All of the interviews retain their question-and-answer format and are about 12 to 14 pages long. They cover the interviewees' childhoods, how they got interested in comics, ways comics and graphic novels have changed over the years, and the creative process. Each interview also includes an original two-page comic, created specifically for this volume, loosely focusing on the theme of "city." Each artist featured is a currently working, well-known creator of material for children (e.g., Cátia Chien, Kazu Kibuishi, Hope Larson, Dave Roman, and Gene Luen Yang). The work provides an interesting perspective on the evolution and growth of graphic novels, as the artists come from different times and places. While there is not enough information to be useful for reports, this is an engaging volume for the format's fans to learn more about the creators behind popular works and might serve as a good bridge from graphic novels into more prose-based selections. VERDICT A solid choice to supplement a robust graphic novel collection. Hard-core fans will be pleased.—Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage Public Library, AK
This is an engaging volume for the format’s fans to learn more about the creators behind popular works and might serve as a good bridge from graphic novels into more prose-based selections. A solid choice to supplement a robust graphic novel collection. Hard-core fans will be pleased.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Most valuable for young readers may be the discussions of the cartoonists’ work routines, providing the indispensable insight that this is not just an art but a job and emphasizing the level of professional discipline it requires. In addition to the interviews, each cartoonist provides an original short comic, deepening the significance of their words and illustrating how comics occupy a seemingly impossible position, simultaneously intensely personal and resonantly universal.
Though this will likely be most valued by kid fans of the assorted artists, this could easily serve as a source for a variety of programming both in the classroom and the library.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Marcus’s chosen comics creators together represent a nice range of styles, topics, nationalities, backgrounds, and intended audiences...The profiles are concise and informative; taken together as a whole, the book represents a snapshot of the genre as it continues on its upward trajectory (what with Newbery Honors going to graphic novels in consecutive years).
Each substantial, in-depth artist's interview is introduced by an insightful, expertly crafted biography, and accompanied by a short comic created by the artist just for this book...It's hard to imagine anyone—especially an aspiring artist—who wouldn't be fascinated and inspired by the creative paths of this talented group of graphic novelists and the thoughtful, clear-eyed context that Marcus gives their stories.
—Shelf Awareness for Readers
For comics fans who are a bit older , this collection has insights from some of the best, most thought-provoking graphic novelists for young people.
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The informative nature of the work very much suits it for academia. It's more of a chronicling than a story. This is more of a resource than entertainment. The book would sit very well in a library, especially at an art school, or as required reading for a history of comics course. The anthropological approach to comics and comics creators is refreshing and continues to build on the trend of validating comics as a high art form.
Marcus asks all of his subjects about their childhoods, how they got into comics, who or what their inspirations were and generally what their family life was like. This loose template helps to highlight and compare the differences and similarities in the origins and early lives of comic artists. It is wonderful to follow their early careers and note how unique everyone's journey into comics can be.
The nice thing about COMICS CONFIDENTIAL is that all of the artists Marcus interviews have been making images for a long time, but most of them aren't entirely well-known to the average comic book reader. Names like James Sturm, Geoffrey Hayes, Catia Chien, Mark and Siena Cherson Siegel, Harry Bliss and Matt Phelan have all been around for a while but, like everyone else in the book, they fall on the often neglected alternative spectrum of comics.
The best thing about the book is that each interview is followed by a short comic from that particular artist. A lot of the works tend to be autobiographical and rather introspective. Dave Roman narrates what it was like growing up in Long Island and the wonders of visiting New York City. Gene Luen Yang also illustrates his expectations of big city life and how the reality of college shattered his comic book-fueled illusions. Kazu Kibuishi relives a day spent in a bustling metropolis. All of the artists contribute short two page stories ranging from a bear leaving the city for the country and a woman finding a feral boy in the park to a block party in a small neighborhood.
COMICS CONFIDENTIAL is a straightforward exploration of a selection of non-mainstream comic artists. It appeals to comics historians who are interested in documenting the medium. It will appeal to academics who enjoy a collection of artists works and statements and it also appeals to lovers of alternative and more introspective comics. Leonard Marcus's respect for the medium shows through in this book. COMICS CONFIDENTIAL is a love letter to the comics history.
Reviewed by Michael Lee Harris
Review by Mason H. age 14 Denver Mensa
James Sturm's interview made me laugh out loud. The Geoffrey Hayes interview was interesting. He revealed that he was devoted to his brother Rory Hayes, also a comics creator, who died of a drug overdose. I've just read Hayes' new kid's comic book, 'Benny and Penny in How to Say Goodbye.' The Benny and Penny story is about death and loss. This interview is quite touching, having read that book.
Included in Comics Confidential are specially commissioned original comics. Some of these are quite fine. The watercolor cityscape about dance by Mark and Siena Cherson Siegal is especially lovely. For educational purposes, I was pleased that all the artist's initial sketches were included in the book. Teachers of writing and/or illustration will find this book a most useful tool for introducing new artists and techniques to the classroom.