Graphic Novels – Comic Books & Superheroes

Focus on: Comic Books & Superheroes
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story
by Sean Howe

Marvel Comics originated in 1939, when publisher Marvin Goodman reluctantly expanded his pulp magazine business into the new field of comic books. But the brand didn’t really take off until 1961, when writer Stan Lee and artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko helped create Marvel’s most well-known characters. In this in-depth, meticulously researched, and “scintillating history” (Publishers Weekly),Entertainment Weekly editor Sean Howe delves into the tangled and contentious personal relationships among Marvel’s talented stable of editors, writers, and artists; also taking center stage are their creations, like golden-boy Captain America and lovable (if nerdy) Spider-Man.

Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir
by Stan Lee, Peter David, and Colleen Doran

Unsurprisingly, when comic book legend Stan Lee writes a memoir, he does it in graphic novel format in his “inimitably jaunty style” (Kirkus Reviews). Here, he shares his role in creating some of the most iconic comic book creations — Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, and many more. But he also writes of his childhood, his early years in a comic book industry dominated not by superheroes but by cowboys, and his co-creators. Fun and quirky, this is a great read for fans.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman
by Jill Lepore

Deeply researched and offering an engaging story, this cultural history of enduring icon Wonder Woman deviates from standard comic book history by concentrating on the rather unusual circumstances of her creation — especially the unorthodox living situation of her creator, and the controversy that Wonder Woman’s appearance inspired. Drawing on both interviews and archival research to unveil the role of feminism in shaping Wonder Woman’s existence, historian Jill Lepore’s study offers a different yet tantalizing perspective that readers of Tim Hanley’s Wonder Woman Unbound (or comic book history in general) may appreciate.

Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster…
by Brad Ricca

This comprehensive biography of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster draws on a decade of research and new discoveries to provide the complete story behind the creation of Superman. It details a friendship that evolved into a working partnership, the inspiration for the Man of Steel, and the pair’s premature sale of the character to Action Comics. Check it out if you’ve an interest in the comic book industry or in Superman himself; the collaboration between Siegel and Shuster also inspired Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novelThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero
by Larry Tye

As with Brad Ricca’s superb biography of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (Super Boys), this history begins with two nerdy teenagers who (after six years of false starts and rejections) gave life to a superhero who was everything they were not. But though they deserve the credit for creating the invincible Superman, they sold him to Action Comics for $130 and soon lost artistic rights over him. Over the intervening eight decades, many others have helped influence the changing characteristics of the Man of Steel to better fit the changing times and to let him live on in popular culture. Comprehensive and accessible, this is a wide-ranging history of an American hero.

List created 5/12/16 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

Posted in Adult Staff Picks, Reading Lists and tagged , , , , , .