I am the author of Graphic Novels: A Bibliographic Guide to Book-Length Comics, which at the time (1995) was the only book of its kind, and even today remains one of only two or three guides to graphic novels. The title doesn't reflect the contents; the book is a review guide as well as a bibliography, with substantial and opinionated reviews of more than 400 graphic novels, classic and obscure, old and new. Donna Barr fans, take note: she contributed a fully-drawn preface.
Maggie Thompson raved about GN in Comics Buyers Guide, and you can read another nice review at the publisher's website. (They used to have more up... sigh.) It was also selected for Booklist's "The Source List," 1998--I just found out!
My goal when I wrote the book was to catalog this neglected format and promote it. With no previous comprehensive list of graphic novels anywhere, I had to rely on my memory, ads, library collections, and the books that fortune threw into my path to build what I hoped would be the first of a comprehensive series. As a result, coverage is not comprehensive, though it is evocative of the breadth of graphic novels.
Some of the research for GN was grueling; in Bowling Green State University's Popular Culture Library, for example, I read about 100 graphic novels in five days. At Michigan State University's comics library, I spent a quiet birthday surrounded by piles of graphic novels. The most interesting event during that week was meeting art spiegelman (of Maus fame) and Oliver Harrington, an African-American cartoonist trapped behind the Berlin Wall for much of his life.
Although it's a little old, GN is still quite valid as a guide to this neglected format. I still see many of the titles I reviewed on the shelves of bookstores, and what I said in the book about titles popping up unexpectedly is still true. If you have a serious interest in the format, or if you just like reading reviews, please go buy it (it's $30 hardback--I dunno if they pay shipping or not), or persuade your local library to buy it, and help me make up all the money I spent to research the book! I make a pretty darn amusing read for a bibliography.
Return to Rational Magic Home