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GRAPHIC NOVELS: Stories To Change Your Life

A Review By:

Comic Book Lit Goes Legit! Following his success of Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics with another affirmative and considered guide to comics, Gravett now focuses on the phoenix-like return of the Graphic Novel that failed to live up to expectations in the early 90s. However, time has moved on and this book reveals how the medium has evolved dramatically over the past ten years. Gravett’s masterstroke is to reproduce at least two full pages of sequential artwork, giving readers a real flavour of each title examined. Annotated notes alongside the artwork explain the material in a manner reminiscent of fine art books. Not only that but the excellent, if initially hard to follow, thematic cross indexing means there are endless ways of making connections between disparate titles such as Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Dystopias) leads to Enkil Bilal’s Nikopol Trilogy. Follow another link (Nature) and you get Jiro Taniguchi’s The Walking Man. It’s a close as the Internet on the page as you’ll ever get. This book is perfect for librarians and educationalists looking to broaden their, and their students, knowledge and while many comics aficionados will be familiar with the titles, there are still a few surprises and the chapter openers contain many anecdotal nuggets. A perfect present to convert that literary die-hard who’d have to admit that comics haven’t just grown up, but are now entering a self-assured and confident middle-age.

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