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GRAPHIC NOVELS: Stories To Change Your Life

A Review By: The City Paper

The following review appeared in Nashville’s The City Paper.

Ten years ago, The City Paper wouldn’t have published a column like this (that’s because the paper started five years ago - but hypothetically speaking) because the graphic novel field wasn’t as mainstream, respected or big as it is today. The same is true for Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life - with the increase in availability of what is out there and the graphic novel’s rise in the mainstream over the last ten years, this has allowed for a big publisher like Harper Collins to print a guide to graphic novels.

And what a guide it is. The book has a terrific format, spotlight specific works by showing actual pages from the works to look at, then filling the space around those samples with text pieces. Author Paul Gravett certainly knows what he’s talking about, covering every possible genre and creator in comics.

Gravett writes with clarity and intelligence. His samples are impeccable, his essays well written, and the book overall is just a very strong package. Only serious omission as far as I’m concerned is his lack of attention to Paul Pope, one of graphic novels’ most talented and engaging contributors. But hey, in a book like this, everybody’s bound to have a personal favorite they feel is overlooked (unless it’s Alan Moore). This is an excellent primer for the budding graphic novel enthusiast, and a top-notch reference book for the seasoned pro.

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