Extremely Graphic

V for Vendetta, by Alan MoorePictures and words.

On their own, both are potent tools of expression. Fused together they become something sublime and arguably much more powerful.

One part visual art. One part literary art.

Maus, by Art SpiegelmanI am talking about the beautifully subversive hybrid known as the comic book or – more politely put – the graphic novel. Although graphic narrative has been around a long time and is well established as a valid form of storytelling, it has never fully shaken off the perception of being just for kids. This has detracted from the fact that comics are at their core a truly unique medium.

The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank MillerFrom the outside looking in, people who don’t read comic books could easily draw the conclusion that graphic novels are only about puerile spandex wearing superheroes fighting similarly clad – and equally puerile – super villains. They would only be about a quarter right. Comic books like cinema or literature span numerous genres and sub genres. In the recent past the form has explored a myriad of big and complex ideas. Fun Home, by Alison BechdelFor example, Alan Moore’s rebellious V for Vendetta and Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer winning holocaust allegory Maus or even Frank Miller’s visceral The Dark Knight Returns.

Graphic novels can be and are about anything. More currently, writers and artists have increasingly continued to push the envelope on what comics can do. To name a few, check out Alison Bechdel’s family memoir Fun Home; Preacher, by Garth EnnisGarth Ennis’ religiously irreverent epic Preacher and Grant Morrison’s psychedelically anarchic The Invisibles.

Under the GRA (Graphic Novel) category, Westminster Libraries stock all the above titles and a great deal more.

For the last few years we have worked closely with comic book retailer Gosh! to make Westminster The Invisibles, by Grant MorrisonLibraries’ graphic novel collection arguably the best in London libraries.

Do you agree? Come and take a look. And look out for a future post about a forthcoming Mail Art call and exhibition.



8 responses to “Extremely Graphic

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Extremely Graphic | Books & the City -- Topsy.com

  2. MailArt Rocks….
    Bring on the call for MailArt & we shall flood you with post….


  3. I’m looking forward to seeing the Mail Art exhibit. And I agree about Graphic Novels. They are an amazing art & literary form.


  4. The graphic novel is more than a childs picture book! I too was a nonbeliever until I was forced as a college student to read one of these “childish” books, ultimatley changing my literary world. Alan Morre’s “Watchmen” or Max Allan Collins “Road to Perdition” are, by far, the books you would tuck your child in at night with and yet they offer something much more tangible to its reader. I think its great that Libraries are adopting and collecting a more subversive and hugely overlooked literary genre. I’m also quite excited that your library will host a mailart call. Mailart is yet another misunderstood genre of the art and literary worlds. What a great way to bring some intrigue and interest to art and to your library!


  5. MailArt! We are ready for you. You’ll get an amazing variety of interesting, and creative pieces. I look forward to hearing The Call!


  6. One of my favorite graphic novels is The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar. Set in Algeria in 1930s.

    And really looking forward to the Mail Art call!


  7. Pingback: Little Big Stories (A Mail Art Call) | Books & the City

  8. Pingback: Pile ‘em high, loan ‘em out | Books & the City

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