Graphic Novel Pathfinder

Welcome to the exciting world of comics and graphic novels. The following pathfinder is a guide to the graphic novels that we recommend as well as useful resources containing information regarding the philosophy, history, technique, and criticism of comic literature. We encourage you to explore what your local public library has to offer. Please note that the term “graphic novel” was originally intended to comprise those works written specifically as one self-contained story. Collections of monthly comics in book format are known in the comic industry as trade paperbacks or TPBs. For the purposes of this library we have opted to use “graphic novel” as a general term for both.


Essential Titles

Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo (6 vols.). Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Books, 2000-.

American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar by Harvey Pekar. New York: Ballantine Books, 2003.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. New York: DC Comics, 1986.

Buddha by Osamu Tezuka (8 vols.). New York: Vertical. 2003-.

A Contract with God, and Other Tenement Stories by Will Eisner. Princeton, WS: Kitchen Sink Press, 1986.

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics Books, 1998.

Maus by Art Spiegelman (2 vols.). New York: Pantheon Books, 1986-.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2 vols.). New York: Pantheon Books, 2003-.

Sandman by Neil Gaiman and Various Artists (10 vols.). New York: DC Comics/Vertigo, 1995-.

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. New York: DC Comics, 1987.

Other Notable Authors, Artists, and Titles to Explore

Stan Lee: Spiderman, X-Men Jack Kirby: Fantastic Four, Captain America
Alex Ross: Kingdom Come, Marvels Chris Claremont: X-Men
Garth Ennis: Preacher Grant Morrison: The Invisibles, Arkham Asylum
Stan Sakai: Usagi Yojimbo Warren Ellis: Transmetropolitan
Masamune Shirow: Appleseed Jeff Smith: Bone
Paul Chadwick: Concrete G. Hernandez, J. Hernandez: Love and Rockets
Herge: Tin Tin Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo: Asterix
Keiji Nakazawa: Barefoot Gen Dave Sim: Cerebus
Charles Schulz: Peanuts Joe Sacco: Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde

Collections and Anthologies

The Best American Comics (Series) by Chris Ware (Ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006-.

Drawn & Quarterly. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2000-.

Books About Graphic Novels and Comics

The 101 Best Graphic Novels by Stephen Weiner, New York: NBM, 2001.

The Comics: Before 1945 by Brian Walker. New York: H.N. Abrams, 2004.

The Comics: Since 1945 by Brian Walker. New York: H.N. Abrams, 2002.

The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe by Phil Jiminez. New York: DK Pub., 2004.

Manga: The Complete Guide by Jason Thompson. New York: Ballantine Books, 2007.

Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics by Les Daniels. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1991.

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud. New York: Paradox Press, 1993.

Technique and Theory

Comics & Sequential Art by Will Eisner. Tamarac, FL: Poorhouse Press, 2006.

How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978.

How to Draw Manga (Series). Tokyo: Graphic-sha Publishing, 1999-.

Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels by Scott McCloud. New York: HarperPerennial, 2006.

Journals and Magazines

Comics Journal. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics Books, 1977-.

Wizard: The Comics Magazine. Congers, NY: Gareb Shamus Enterprises, 1991-.

Web Sites

Mainstream Publishers

DC Comics (Includes Vertigo, Wildstorm and CMX Manga):

Marvel Comics:

Independent Publishers

Dark Horse Comics:

Fantagraphics Books:

Image Comics:

Oni Press:

Manga Publishers


Viz Media:

Other Web Sites

Comic Book Resources: Daily comic book news, previews, reviews, commentary and message boards. Excellent archive of daily newspaper comic strips.

Keenspot: Exclusive content from the emerging world of web comics.

Comics Research Bibliography: Searchable bibliography with nearly 24,000 entries.