Here’s a VERY BASIC LIST of graphic novels & comics & related resources that I’ve found useful in my COMICS WORKSHOP programming, & in my personal reading.
I don’t update this list much, so there are plenty of great comics yet to be added… Please feel free to contact me to suggest titles & resources, update an old link, or request info on something you don’t see here! ~ Marek
Comics Research & Resources:
Here are some partial lists of the resources I’ve found helpful in my studies:
Comics in World History & Cultures
A dynamic discussion & comics history reading program for libraries, museums, & other community venues…
In all my presentations, I use the terms “cartoon” and “comics” in specific ways. I plan to post a short video about these terms A.S.A.P…. But for now, here are the definitions:
CARTOON (n) = A style of drawing that emphasizes simplicity & clarity for maximum effect. (A.K.A. “Drawing as little as possible, to get as close as possible to the main idea…”)
ALSO SEE: “‘Cartoon’: Not Just For Kids (Merriam-Webster) >>
“List of Comics by Country” (Wikipedia) >>
Including different names for comics worldwide…
RECOMMENDED TITLES, BY SUBJECT:
COMICS about COMICS:
Highly recommended! These graphic novels use the comics form to explore the comics form… Every time I read ’em, I learn something new!
Making Comics (Lynda Barry)
Follow along with these exercises from Barry’s classes… Or just soak up her wonderful messy musing notebook full of reflections on art & creativity!
“For the Love of Comics” (Alec Longstreth & Aaron Renier)
This was the first comic I ever read by both these artists — A wonderful inside view of indie cartooning careers!
“Your Comics Will Love You Back” (Alec Longstreth)
More in-depth how-to wisdom from Alec!
Transition (Alec Longstreth)
The mind-blowing origin of a life-long indie cartoonist!
- Gene Yang’s COMICS IN EDUCATION Site
- “Resources for Comic Book Creators” from BigRedHair.com >> = Lotsa cool materials & links.
1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry (Andrew BRIDGEFORD) = “For more than 900 years the Bayeux Tapestry has preserved one of history’s greatest dramas: the Norman Conquest of England, culminating in the death of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Historians have held for centuries that the majestic tapestry trumpets the glory of William the Conqueror and the victorious Normans. But is this true? In 1066, a brilliant piece of historical detective work, Andrew Bridgeford reveals a very different story that reinterprets and recasts the most decisive year in English history…”
[For Bayeux Tapestry links, see: COMICS IN EUROPEAN HISTORY >>]
Louis Riel: A Comic-strip Biography (Chester BROWN)
= “Legendary cartoonist Chester Brown reveals in the dusty closet of Canadian history there are some skeletons that won’t stop rattling….“
The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America (David HAJDU)
= “In the years between the end of World War II and the mid-1950s, the popular culture of today was invented in the pulpy, boldly illustrated pages of comic books. But no sooner had comics emerged than they were beaten down by mass bonfires, congressional hearings, and a McCarthyish panic over their unmonitored and uncensored content. Esteemed critic David Hajdu vividly evokes the rise, fall, and rise again of comics in this engrossing history.”
[For related materials, see: COMICS IN WWII HISTORY >>]
Eric HEUVEL’s series, from the Anne Frank Museum.
- The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
= “A riveting work of historical detection revealing that the origin of Wonder Woman, one of the world’s most iconic superheroes, hides within it a fascinating family story—and a crucial history of twentieth-century feminism”
- Anne Frank’s Diary (David POLONSKY)
- Thoreau at Walden (John PORCELLINO) [+ STUDY GUIDE]
The Great War (Joe SACCO)
Safe Area Gorazde (Joe SACCO)
- Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi) — A young woman comes of age inside (and outside) revolutionary Iran.
- Maus (Art SPIEGELMAN)
= “The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity and succeeds in “drawing us closer to the bleak heart of the Holocaust” (The New York Times).”
- The Golem’s Mighty Swing (James Sturm) — Historical fiction: a barnstorming Jewish baseball team struggles to make ends meet in 1920s rural America.
Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow (James Sturm) — Baseball players in the Negro Leagues struggle for their basic human rights under Jim Crow laws. [+ STUDY GUIDE]
The Arrival (Shaun TAN) — An immigrant family tries to make a new life in a strange new country. (Wordless!)
- Journey Into Mohawk Country (H.M. van den Bogaert & George O’Connor) — O’Connor’s comics adaptation of a centuries-old Dutch colonial narrative
SEE ALSO: [The Making Of… (NYTimes.com)] [Critique @ ImageTexT]
- American Born Chinese (Gene Luen YANG) = Multi-level exploration of ethnic heritage & identity…
Boxers & Saints (Gene Luen YANG) = Multiple perspectives on China’s Boxer Rebellion.
- Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards (Jim Ottaviani & Big Time Attic) — Two paleontologists fight over the world’s first dinosaur bones, in the Wild West!
- Clan Apis (Jay Hosler) — Entomologist Jay Hosler tells this engaging biography of a single honey bee, from egg to old age and beyond. Includes tons of facts about bees, plus imaginative elements (such as the bees’ creation myth). Winner of a Xeric Grant.
- The Sandwalk Adventures (Jay Hosler) — A long-running conversation (about life, evolution, the universe, and more) between Charles Darwin and a microscopic hair follicle mite who lives in his eyebrow. (Yes, you just have to read it to believe it!)
- The Dvorak Zine (Alec Longstreth) — This self-published zine (read: cheap! $1!) explains why you shouldn’t be using the computer keyboard you’re using. It’s great for studying inventions, history of technology, or typing.
- Gon (Masashi Tanaka) — A tiny dinosaur lives in lots of different ecosystems all over the Earth, and manages to mess up (or save) most of them! (Okay, maybe this one’s more action-adventure than science, really.)
- Graphic Medicine = a website devoted to the “role of comics in the study and delivery of healthcare.” Includes this extensive list of health-related graphic novels.
- Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Hiyao Miyazaki) — A brave girl fights to protect all forms of life in a future era of environmental collapse.
- Tyrant (Steve Bissette) — The life story of a Tyrannosaurus Rex!
LITERATURE & just plain old GOOD STORIES:
- The Adventures of Tintin (Herge) — Tintin, the boy reporter, travels all over the world to solve mysteries and save his friends.
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Frank Miller) — Dark, gritty story of Batman at age 60, coming out of retirement for one last adventure… taught in college courses, appropriate for high school (mythology, pop culture).
- Bone (Jeff Smith) — An amazing epic, with wide scope and literary qualities. Jeff Smith self-published this as an unknown artist, and it’s now a legend in the comics world. Very kid-friendly. Now collected (in color!) by Scholastic.
Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath
(Intense indescribably unspeakable comic by Jason Bradley Thompson, based on H. P. Lovecraft’s novella + a couple other stories…)
- Krazy Kat (George Herriman) — This was one of the first truly great newspaper strips.
- Masterpiece Comics (R. Sikoryak)
- One! Hundred! Demons! (Lynda Barry) — Funny, painful coming-of-age stories. Great for looking at society, morality, self-awareness. (Appropriate for high school.)
- Pinky and Stinky (James Kochalka) — Two pigs go on a mission to Pluto, but get stranded on the Moon instead.
- Pogo (Walt Kelly) — Satire, wordplay, and great characters in never-ending nonsensical mishaps.
- Spiral-Bound (Aaron Renier) — Friendly, mysterious stories about a town populated by animals. Lots of summer camp, secret tunnels, and a monster-legend, too!
MORE Lists for Comics in Education:
- “Let’s Get Graphic: 100 Favorite Comics And Graphic Novels” (NPR 2017)
- Great Graphic Novels for Teens (YALSA, annual list)
- “Graphic Novels for Libraries” (University of Wisconsin)
- Booklist Graphic Novels w/ Science & Math Themes
- Recommended Manga Titles for Schools & Libraries (koyagi.com)