Here’s a VERY BASIC LIST of graphic novels & other comics that I’ve found useful in my COMICS WORKSHOP programming, and of course in my personal collections… This list is an ongoing project, with plenty of worthwhile books still to be added… Please feel free to let me know if you have a comic that you feel ought to be on this list. — Marek
Comics Research & Resources:
GENERAL RESOURCES & SITES about COMICS:
Understanding Comics (Scott McCloud) and Making Comics (Scott McCloud)
*** Highly recommended! They’re graphic novels ABOUT comics, using the form to explore itself. Every time you read them, you’ll discover new ideas and concepts. ***
- Gene Yang’s COMICS IN EDUCATION Site — Gene’s main site — posts tagged “comics in education”
- “For the Love of Comics” (Alec Longstreth & Aaron Renier)
- “Your Comics Will Love You Back” (Alec Longstreth)
- Transition (Alec Longstreth)
- PICTURE THIS (Lynda Barry) [excerpt]
- How to (Start to Think about Learning to) Draw Comics + a Guidebook to the Center for Cartoon Studies (Kevin Huizenga) = online version of this early CCS introductory pamphlet…
- … (more to come) …
- 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 Cartoon History of The Universe and…
The Cartoon History of the Modern World (Larry GONICK) — Two books in an immense series of history (and science) comics. Fun, enjoyable, painstakingly researched, and well done indeed.
The Photographer (Emmanuel GUIBERT)
= One of my all-time favorites… drawn from the contact sheets of an 1980s MSF expedition to Afghanistan! [Inkstuds interview w/ Guibert >>]
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 >>]
- 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:
Here are some other sources & lists of great graphic novels:
NOTE: All the sites listed in this box are independent sites, and are not related to COMICS WORKSHOP’s programming in any way.