front cover of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Graphic Novels
The Readers' Advisory Guide to Graphic Novels
Francisca Goldsmith
American Library Association, 2017

The first edition of this readers' advisory represented a pioneering effort to provide help and encouragement to librarians diving into this exciting format, and since then the popularity of graphic novels has continued apace. Goldsmith has updated her guide to encompass a bounty of new titles, authors, and styles, ensuring its continued usefulness as a tool for both RA and collection development. Suitable for newbies and hardcore fans alike, this book

  • sketches in the history of graphic novels, tracing their evolution and showing what makes them unique;
  • explores traditional and cutting edge titles most friendly to children, teens, and adults, reflecting the burgeoning and maturing publishing efforts made for each of these audiences;
  • discusses common themes, topics, and the place of diversity in graphic novels;
  • gives in-depth guidance on ways to connect readers to titles they'll be sure to love;
  • offers ideas for media tie-ins, displays, programming, book clubs, and more;
  • includes annotated bibliographies, with appeal characteristics noted, and multiple indexes to ensure that locating the right graphic novel is a snap; and
  • provides detailed tips for keeping current and aware of new titles and trends.

Spotlighting this expanding body of intellectual, aesthetic, and engaging literature, Goldsmith's guide will entertain as well as inform.


front cover of Rebuilding Story Worlds
Rebuilding Story Worlds
The Obscure Cities by Schuiten and Peeters
Jan Baetens
Rutgers University Press, 2020
A collaboration between Belgian artist François Schuiten and French writer Benoît Peeters, The Obscure Cities is one of the few comics series to achieve massive popularity while remaining highly experimental in form and content. Set in a parallel world, full of architecturally distinctive city-states, The Obscure Cities also represents one of the most impressive pieces of world-building in any form of literature.

Rebuilding Story Worlds offers the first full-length study of this seminal series, exploring both the artistic traditions from which it emerges and the innovative ways it plays with genre, gender, and urban space. Comics scholar Jan Baetens examines how Schuiten’s work as an architectural designer informs the series’ concerns with the preservation of historic buildings. He also includes an original interview with Peeters, which reveals how poststructuralist critical theory influenced their construction of a rhizomatic fictional world, one which has made space for fan contributions through the Alta Plana website.

Synthesizing cutting-edge approaches from both literary and visual studies, Rebuilding Story Worlds will give readers a new appreciation for both the aesthetic ingenuity of The Obscure Cities and its nuanced conception of politics.

front cover of Redrawing the Western
Redrawing the Western
A History of American Comics and the Mythic West
William Grady
University of Texas Press, 2024

A history of American Western genre comics and how they interacted with contemporaneous political and popular culture.

Redrawing the Western charts a history of the Western genre in American comics from the late 1800s through the 1970s and beyond. Encompassing the core years in which the genre was forged and prospered in a range of popular media, Grady engages with several key historical timeframes, from the origins of the Western in the nineteenth-century illustrated press; fin de siècle anxieties with the closing of the frontier; and the centrality of cowboy adventure across the interwar, postwar, and high Cold War years, to the revisions of the genre in the wake of the Vietnam War and the Western’s continued vitality in contemporary comics storytelling.

In its study of stories about vengeance, conquest, and justice on the contested frontier, Redrawing the Western highlights how the “simplistic” conflicts common in Western adventure comics could disguise highly political undercurrents, providing young readers with new ways to think about the contemporaneous social and political milieu. Besides tracing the history, forms, and politics of American Western comics in and around the twentieth century, William Grady offers an original reassessment of the important role of comics in the development of the Western genre, ranking them alongside popular fiction and film in the process.


front cover of Resilient Memories
Resilient Memories
Amerindian Cognitive Schemas in Latin American Art
Arij Ouweneel
The Ohio State University Press, 2018
Arij Ouweneel’s Resilient Memories: Amerindian Cognitive Schemas in Latin American Art takes a cognitive approach to the mediation of collective memory by works of art. In looking at cultural production of Amerindians—the transnational mnemonic community comprised of indígenasoriginariosmestizos, and cholos—Ouweneel argues that cultural memories and identity are not simply the sum total of individuals’ expressions of self, but that some cultural artifacts become privileged to inform the heart of the mnemonic community. Ouweneel seeks to identify a series of cognitive schemas as the foundation of an Amerindian Cognitive Unconsciousness as a viable alternative to the Freudian Dynamic Unconscious. Art, then, serves to trigger the cognitive schemas embedded within the Amerindian community and act as the mediator of collective memory. 
Exploring works ranging in popularity, from Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También to the paintings of Peruvian artists Claudia Coca and Jorge Miyagui, and from Mexican Zapatistas to hip-hop, Ouweneel details the ways in which artists interact with the embodied memory of the community but also assert their own place within it as crucial, furthering their audiences’ understanding of and interaction with existing cultural schemas. In this way, Ouweneel shows that memories must serve the present or they will be forgotten.

front cover of Resurrection
Comics in Post-Soviet Russia
José Alaniz
The Ohio State University Press, 2022
Winner, 2023 Eisner Award for Best Comics-Related Book

Resurrection: Comics in Post-Soviet Russia traces the “kopecks to rubles” journey of Russian comics at the turn of the century. As the follow-up to José Alaniz’s groundbreaking Komiks: Comic Art in Russia (2010), Resurrection authoritatively and exhaustively details the Russian comic landscape of the last three decades: beginning after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union and encompassing the fourth Putin administration, the COVID-19 crisis, and beyond. Bolstering his analysis with interviews with some of the major figures in Russia’s comics industry, Alaniz particularly focuses on the representation of masculinity, disability, historical trauma, and superheroes, as well as on the recent rise of fandom, alternative micropresses, and nonfiction graphic narrative. Resurrection is a sweeping discussion of the metamorphosis of contemporary Russian comic art from its rebirth to its entry into mainstream culture.

front cover of Robin and the Making of American Adolescence
Robin and the Making of American Adolescence
Lauren R. O'Connor
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Holy adolescence, Batman! Robin and the Making of American Adolescence offers the first character history and analysis of the most famous superhero sidekick, Robin. Debuting just a few months after Batman himself, Robin has been an integral part of the Dark Knight’s history—and debuting just a few months prior to the word “teenager” first appearing in print, Robin has from the outset both reflected and reinforced particular images of American adolescence. Closely reading several characters who have “played” Robin over the past eighty years, Robin and the Making of American Adolescence reveals the Boy (and sometimes Girl!) Wonder as a complex figure through whom mainstream culture has addressed anxieties about adolescents in relation to sexuality, gender, and race. This book partners up comics studies and adolescent studies as a new Dynamic Duo, following Robin as he swings alongside the ever-changing American teenager and finally shining the Bat-signal on the latter half of “Batman and—.”

front cover of Ruth Asawa
Ruth Asawa
An Artist Takes Shape
Sam Nakahira
J. Paul Getty Trust, The, 2024
Brave, unconventional, and determined, Ruth Asawa let nothing stop her from living a life intertwined with art.

Renowned for her innovative wire sculptures, Japanese American artist Ruth Asawa (1926–2013) was a teenager in Southern California when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II. Japanese Americans on the West Coast were forcibly removed from their homes. Asawa’s family had to abandon their farm, her father was incarcerated, and she and the rest of her family were sent to a concentration camp. Asawa nurtured her dreams of becoming an artist while imprisoned and eventually made her way to the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina.

This graphic biography by Sam Nakahira, developed in consultation with Asawa’s youngest daughter, Addie Lanier, chronicles the genesis of Asawa as an artist—from the horror of Pearl Harbor to her transformative education at Black Mountain College to building a life in San Francisco, where she would further develop and refine her groundbreaking wire sculpture.

Asawa never sought fame, preferring to work on her own terms: for her, art and life were one. Featuring lively illustrations and photographs of Asawa’s work, this retelling of her young adult years demonstrates the power of making art.

Ages thirteen and up

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