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GRAPHIC NOVELS: Stories To Change Your Life

A Review By: Booklist

The following review by Gordon Flagg appeared at Booklist Online in December 2005.

Anyone who wants a handle on that suddenly hot new format, the graphic novel, should seize upon this useful, incisive, intelligently arranged guide. Gravett analyzes 30 key graphic novels (“stories to change your life”) in generic or topical chapters that bring together, say, alternative comics products such as Maus and Jimmy Corrigan, or superhero standouts such as Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. For readers inspired to investigate further, he follows each discussion of a particular book with selections from four similar graphic novels. Entire pages from the work under discussion appear, indicating its quality far better than a panel or two would. Gravett’s analyses are concise and perceptive, and his introductory remarks in each chapter are knowledgeable. He has long been associated with the British alt-comics movement, which allows him to recommend a number of notable British and European graphic novels that likely would have been overlooked by a more American-centered book. Even the most well-versed comics fan will discover new treasures here, and newbies to the field may consider it indispensable.

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Comics Unmasked by Paul Gravett and John Harris Dunning from The British Library

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