It is the hottest category in book publishing, experiencing exponential growth over the last decade when the rest of the book industry has been flat. Kids are lunging for them in increasing numbers at general bookstores. They’re regularly reviewed in all media, from Entertainment Weekly to the New York Times Book Review. They are a base for billion dollar movie franchises.
They’re graphic novels, or, basically, comics sold as books.
Comics have come of age and are now accepted as a full fledged art form. Graphic novels have given them the ability to tell longer stories, use more sophisticated art, and achieve new heights of storytelling.
But this ‘overnight’ sensation was not born just yesterday. Its history goes back more than 35 years and, when one counts its influences from Europe, the category reaches back to the late forties.
Comics historian and librarian Stephen Weiner, a pioneering champion of graphic novels in libraries where they have become widely accepted as a means of getting kids to read, presents the roots of this emerging form of expression. After a history of comics leading to the creation of graphic novels, he chronologically points out the leading books and publishers within them that have made an indelible mark on their development. Through this history, one can get to see the value that this new category brings to entertainment and through that, maybe a vision of how much farther it may yet go, both in popularity and creativity.
This revised and updated edition (the first came out in 2003) adds a chapter covering the first decade of this century and reviews the latest trends.
Here are some of the reviews the first edition got:
“A solid work on American publications” Library Journal
“A superb detailed history.” Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Note that this book does not purport to be an exhaustive history, rather an introduction and background presentation to this recent form of book.
Stephen Weiner has been writing about comic art since 1992, and has published numerous articles and reviews in magazines including Library Journal, School Library Journal, and The Voice of Youth Advocates. He is also the author of a number of books on comics.
6x9, 88pp., B&W hardcover, $14.99, ISBN 9781561637027; publication: December 2012.
Steve Weiner lives in Maynard, MA and is available for interviews. For further information, contact Stefan Blitz: NBMpubPR@gmail.com.