Comics 101

image of comics extravaganza program at Seattle Public LibrarAs you may know, comics are a big deal in Seattle. We’re home to a number of nationally recognized cartoonists (Ellen Forney, Pete Bagge and Jim Woodring to name just a few), Fantagraphics Books and The Comics Journal. In honor of all the great cartoonists in our midst, The Seattle Public Library threw a Comixtravaganza this past January, with events at various branch libraries and a big finale at the Central Library featuring a cartooning workshop (pictured above) led by David Lasky and a multimedia presentation by Ellen Forney.

If you missed Comixtravaganza, or if you’re just curious about comics and want to learn more about an art-and-storytelling form that’s finally getting some long overdue respect, you might want to check out some of the following titles:

  • Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. Presented in cartoon format, Understanding Comics provides an accessible and engaging introduction to the definition, history, and visual language of comics.
  • Comics & Sequential Art by Will Eisner. Comics legend Will Eisner (author/illustrator of The Spirit, A Contract With God) demonstrates the principles and methods of sequential art (e.g., comics) using examples from his own work. This book was one of the earliest to analyze the visual vocabulary of comics and provided the theoretical basis for Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics.
  • An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories edited by Ivan Brunetti. Sampling a wide range of alternative comics and graphic novels, this collection provides readers with a thorough introduction to important trends and developments in cartooning within the last 30 years.
  • Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know by Paul Gravett. Gravett highlights 30 “key” graphic novels, from Maus to Palestine to Watchmen, and gives suggestions for further reading for fans of each work.
  • The Best American Comics series, series editor Anne Elizabeth Moore. A new addition to the “Best American” line, this series collects excerpts from various comics and graphic novels published in the last few years, with an emphasis on alternative and underground comics.

Stay tuned for more on comics, graphic novels, graphica and other sequential art right here on Shelf Talk . . .

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