Graphic Novels


GRAPHIC NOVELS are stand-alone stories in comics form, published as books, or trade paperback (or sometimes hardcover) collections of stories that were initially published serially in comic books. Subject matter of graphic novels (not all of which are necessarily fiction) varies widely.

MANGA is a Japanese print comic, usually with exaggerated eyes and simplified features. ANIME is Japanese animated film.

Read Robin Brenner's "What's the Deal?" for much more detailed information on this format, including definitions, names to know, and an FAQ. The Cooperative Children's Book Center offers background and resources lists on graphic novels, including a bibliography of graphic novels for children's and YA library collections, Reviews in Journals, Websites for Reviews, Resource Books, Listserv, Vendors, Publishers, and Other Resources. Graphic Novels in Libraries is a listserv you might find useful.

Most of the books recommended in these lists are suitable for older teens and adults.


Recommended Graphic Novels for Public Libraries (Steve Raiteri): This website, maintained by a Library Journal graphic novels reviewer, is intended for 'librarians who may want to add graphic novels to their collections but have difficulty locating information about them,' but is suitable for others seeking recommendations and clarification about graphic novels. It's mostly a long list of comics and graphic novels -- listed by category (Spotlight Titles; Superheroes from DC Comics; Superheroes from Marvel Comics; Marvel/DC Collaborations; Other Superheroes; Science Fiction and Fantasy; Comedy; Japanese Manga; Others) -- with summaries, ISBN numbers, and prices. Also offers a list of 30 selections for new collections. Last updated in Oct. 2003.

Graphic Novels: Where to Start? (Robin Brenner): Written for librarians by a librarian, this excellent paper provides background information on graphic novels, recommended resources for finding more information and making selections, graphic novel review sources, etc. Published April-June 2004.

No Flying, No Tights: Graphic Novels for Teens (Robin Brenner, Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA): Provides graphic novel reviews in categories of: horror, romance, action and adventure, realism, crime and suspense, historical fiction, non-fiction, humor, science fiction, fantasy, and superheroes. Also provides core lists of graphic novels for kids, listed by type (picture books, chapter books), genre (superheroes, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, action and adventure, humor, realism, non-fiction), and age level, and core lists of graphic novels for teens and tweens, with lists of Top Ten, Best of the Rest, and For Middle Schoolers. Offers a section called The Lair, featuring graphic novels for older teens and adults, and another called Sidekicks that's for younger children. Author, title, review, publication info, and sometimes age recommendations and/or cover images for each selection.

Graphic Novels for Libraries: Recommended Titles for Children and Teens (Hollis Margaret Rudiger, Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison): The bibliography is divided into three main categories: books in the elementary school-age and older category (about 65 books) have a lower age recommendation of 10 or under; books in the middle-school-age and older category have a lower age recommendation of 11 to 13 (about 35 books); and books in the high school-age and older category have a lower age recommendation of 14 or older (about 30 titles). Provides author, title, publication year, page count, age level -- and webcat links for some.

Graphic Novels (East Greenbush Community Library, NY): One-page annotated list of resources for selecting and purchasing graphic novels, for librarians. Updated Dec. 2006.

The Librarian's Guide to Anime and Manga (Gilles Poitras): Sections: Introduction; What is anime?; What is manga?; Link between anime and manga; Re-dubbed vs subtitled anime; Pirated anime and manga related goods; Anime clubs; Anime conventions; Select internet resources on anime and manga; Recommended anime; Recommended manga; Books and periodicals about anime and manga; What about violence, noodity and sehxual content; Special considerations for librarians.

Comic Books for Young Adults: A Guide for Librarians (Michael R. Lavin, Lockwood Memorial Library): Sections: Do Comic Books Belong in Libraries?; Comic Book Formats; Collection Development Issues; Comic Book Publishers; Comic Book Genres; Recommended Comics for Teen Readers; Recommended Trade Paper Backs and Graphic Novels; Internet Resources.

Graphic Novels (The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH): Extensive listing of graphic novels, with introduction about the genre. Sections include: In the Adult Collection: Fiction, Heroes and Superheroes, Nonfiction, Pioneers and Classics; In the Teen Collection: Fiction and Nonfiction, Heroes and Superheroes, Manga; In the Children's Collection: Fiction and Nonfiction, Heroes and Superheroes, Manga; and About Graphic Novels: Books, Magazines, Documentaries, Websites. Each of the 'collection' sections provides title, author, webcat link, and summary. Created April 2006.

What Should I Read Next?: Graphic Novels and Comics (Tulsa City-County Library, OK): Provides authors, titles, and webcat links for about 40 'must read' graphic novels, including 9-11: Artists Respond (various artists), Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, Maus: A Survivor?s Tale by Art Spiegelman, Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo, Our Cancer Year by Joyce Brabner and Harvey Pekar, and Palestine by Joe Sacco.

Get Graphic (Louisville Free Public Library, KY): Author, title, one-line summary for almost 30 'new classics' in the genre, from 300 by Frank Miller to Watchmen by Alan Moore. Updated Feb. 2007.

If You Never Thought You'd Read a Graphic Novel, You Might Like... (Multnomah County Library, OR): Author, title, publication year, summary for a dozen graphic novels and series, from Jessica Abel's Mirror, Window: An Artbabe Collection to Sara Varon's Sweaterweather.

Illustrated Novels (Addison Public Library, IL): Author, title, brief summary, webcat link for about a dozen books in genre categories (horror, suspense, superheroes, historical, science fiction, etc.) by authors including Wil Eisner, Katsuhiro Otomo, Art Spiegelman, Jeff Smith, Mike Mignola, and others. Compiled June 2002.

Graphic; or These Comics Aren?t (Just) for Kids (Kansas City Public Library): 'Self-contained examples of graphic fiction, wedding the power of the word to the impact of the image.' Lists author, title, brief summary, and webcat link for about 15 books.

Recommended Graphic Novels (Highland Park Public Library, IL): Author, title, summary, and webcat link for about a dozen graphic novels, from Kurt Busiek's Astro City: Life in the Big City to Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan: the Smartest Kid on Earth. Compiled Oct. 2002.

Graphic Novels and Comics (Voorheesville Public Library, NY): Author, title, summary of about 20 graphic novels/comics and several non-fiction books on the same topic, as well as links to some relevant websites.

Fairfax County Public Library (VA): Author, title, summary and cover image for 8 books.

From Aardvarks to Bunnies and Back: Independent Graphic Novels (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh): Author, title, webcat link, cover image, and summary for 8 graphic novels, by Jeffrey Brown, Dave Sim, Craig Thompson, James Kochalka, Tony Millionaire, and Joe Matt.

No Superheroes: Graphic Novels for Adults and Young Adults (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh): Author, title, webcat link, cover image, and summary for 10 graphic novels published from 1992 to 2004 (most in 2003), by Marjane Satrapi, Joe Sacco, Adrian Tomine, Chester Brown, Seth, Daniel Clowes, and Craig Thompson.

Love, Heartbreak, and Tights: Graphic Novels for Adults and Young Adults (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh): A 'selection of books where romance plays a part.' Author, title, webcat link, and summary for 9 graphic novels by Andi Watson, J. Marc Schmidt, J. Torres, Jordan Crane, Christine Norrie, and others.

Teen Graphic Novels (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh): Author, title, webcat link, cover image, and summary for 10 books, from Jeff Smith's Bone to Kurt Busiek's The Wizard's Tale.

Teens: Graphic Novels (San Jose Public Library, CA): List of 5 series and 5 books about superheroes. Author, title, summary, and link to webcatalog.

Great Graphic Novels (The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH): Author, title, summary for almost 20 graphic novels, from Star Wars: Splinters of the Mind?s Eye by Terry Austin to Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Crash Test Demons by Andi Watson.

Graphic Novels (Westmount Public Library, Quebec): 2-page PDF file. Author, title, publication year, and summary for about 20 graphic novels, most published in 2003. Compiled July 2005.

Graphic Novels for Kids (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh): Author, title, and webcat link for a dozen books, from Michael Brennan's Electric Girl to Yuen Wong Yu's Digimon Digital Monsters.

Graphic Novels for First-Time Comics Readers (I Am NOT the Beastmaster weblog): Author and title (only) listed for graphic novels in these categories: History/Journalism/Non-fiction; Historical fiction; Autobiography and Autobiographical Fiction; Fantasy; Mystery; Horror; Action; Superheroes; Comedy, Romantic and Otherwise; General fiction.