Library Journal: Beyond Superheroes: Comics Get Serious

“Library Journal Collection Development: Graphic Novels” / The Library Journal / Steven Weiner / April 23, 2003

In 1986, Graphic novels appeared to be ready to break inot the mainstream. That year, pantheon released Art Spiegelman's Maus, a holocaust survivor story, and DC Comics published Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight returns, both sophisticated, much promoted superhero books aimed at adult readers. The breakthrough never came in 1986, but it is happening now.

When you've got them...
Graphic novels are catalogued in a multitude of ways. Some libraries place them in a comic strip section. Others have a seperate section similar to many video or audiobook collections. Graphic novels may also be integrated into the fiction section or the appropriate non-fiction section. Some libraries cross-catalog graphic novels in an effort to attract readers to several areas of the collection. If you are starting a collection, it may be better to group the graphic novels together in order to draw attention to them.

The article goes on to list over 20 great books crucual to starting an adult graphic novel section. We are flattered and proud to have 6 D&Q books listed, including Chester Brown's I Never Liked You, designated as a core title, essential for any collection.

I Never Liked You by Chester brown
Brown's depiction of the adolescent need to find a place in society is deadly accurate. Readers will recognize much of their own adolescence in this apprently autobiographical story. The book's cinematic design effectivey draws the reader in, making this essential reading.

Sleepwalk by Adrian Tomine
Tomine is a master of pseudorealistic stories in the tradition of short story writer Raymond Carver. This understated, black-and-white collection should satisfy fiction afficiandos in any medium.

The Golem's Mighty Swing by James Sturm
This book focuses on the a traveling Jewish team in the early days of baseball. Artist/writer Sturm delivers a bittersweet tale that should appeal to baseball fans in a manner similar to Eliot Asinof's prose history Eight Men Out.

It's a Good life, If You Don't Weaken by Seth
This bittersweet autobiographical tale tells of Seth's attempts at maturity as he drifts in and out of relationships while searching for information about "Kalo" a mysterious cartoonist who placed a piece wuth the New Yorker in the 1950s. While readers might squirm at Seth's self-delusions, the conclusion reminds us of the redemptive power of art.

Berlin: City of Stones by Jason Lutes
The first volume in a projected triology is set during the waning days of the Weimar republic and focuses on Kurt, a journalist, and Marthe, an art student. Lutes has a feel for the personal and political turmoil in germany following World War I. The illustrations are subtle and meditative.


 

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