Monthly Archives: March 2017

Resources for Creating Your Own Graphic Novel

Are you thinking of entering the Library’s “Create Your Own Diverse Origin Story” contest? The resources listed below can help familiarize you with graphic novels as a genre and art form and introduce you to some recent examples with diverse characters and content.

Books about Graphic Novels

Boys’ Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-Cultural Fandom of the Genre, edited by Antonia Levi, Mark McHarry and Dru Pagliassotti
eBook (create EBL account)
“Boys’ love,” a male-male homoerotic genre written primarily by women for women, enjoys global popularity and is one of the most rapidly growing publishing niches in the United States. This collection of 14 essays addresses boys’ love as it has been received and modified by fans outside Japan as a commodity, controversy, and culture.

Comics & Ideology, edited by Matthew P. McAllister, Edward H. Sewell Jr. and Ian Gordon
PN6714 .C645 2001
Contributions deal with social divisions such as gender, nationality and ethnicity, sexual orientation, and class, in both mainstream and alternative comic books. Besides presenting an interesting mix of topics … the volume includes material most US scholarship on comics ignores; it treats international subjects, with chapters on the British antihero Judge Dredd, Hong Kong feminist comics, and Japanese manga.

Comic Books and American Cultural History: An Anthology, edited by Matthew Pustz
eBook (create EBL account)
The contributors are PhDs, independent scholars, and graduate students in fields including history, American studies, English, politics, design history, media, Jewish studies, gender studies, and Asian studies. Through a variety of theoretical approaches, the 16 essays examine comics ranging from popular superhero titles to obscure works from smaller publishers.

Graphic Novels and Comic Books by Kat Kan
PN6710 .G736 2010
Comics, graphic novels, sequential art have gained unprecedented legitimacy. The articles collected in this volume provide an overview of this wildly diverse, increasingly popular, and widely accepted form of literature.

Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean by Douglas Wolk
PN6725 .W65 2007
The volume contains two sections: “Theory and History,” an explanation of comics as a medium and an overview of its evolution, and “Reviews and Commentary,” a diverse examination of creators and works. The second section spans Will Eisner’s pioneering efforts as well as the groundbreaking modern comics by the Hernandez brothers, Chris Ware and Alison Bechdel.

Super-history: Comic Book Superheroes and American Society, 1938 to the Present by Jeffrey K. Johnson
eBook (create EBL account)
As a form of popular literature, superhero narratives have closely mirrored and molded social trends and changes, influencing and reflecting political, social, and cultural events. This study provides a decade by decade chronicle of American history from 1938 to 2010 through the lens of superhero comics.

The Visual Language of Comics: Introduction to the Structure by Neil Cohn
eBook (create EBL account)
This work presents a provocative theory: that drawings and sequential images are structured the same as language. Building on contemporary theories from linguistics and cognitive psychology, it argues that comics are written in a visual language of sequential images that combines with text.

Examples of Graphic Novels with Diverse Characters and/or Themes

Black Panther. Book One: A Nation Under our Feet, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates
GRAPHIC PN6728.B523 C63 2016
A new era begins for the Black Panther! MacArthur Genius and National Book Award-winning writer T-Nehisi Coates (BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME) takes the helm, confronting T’Challa with a dramatic upheaval in Wakanda that will make leading the African nation tougher than ever before.

El Deafo, by Cece Bell
GRAPHIC HV2534.B44 A3 2014
In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful–and very awkward–hearing aid.

March. Book One
March. Book Two
Written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
GRAPHIC E840.8.L43 A3
This graphic novel is Congressman John Lewis’ first-hand account of his lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman
Book I: My Father Bleeds History
GRAPHIC D810.J4 S643 1986
Book II: And Here My Troubles Began
GRAPHIC D804.3 .S66 1991
A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father’s story and history itself.

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man. Ultimate Collection, Book One, written by Brian Michael Bendis
GRAPHIC PN6728.S6 B4425 2015
Miles Morales takes up the mantle of the Ultimate Spider-Man! Before Peter Parker died, young Miles was poised to start the next chapter in his life in a new school. Then, a spider’s bite granted the teenager incredible arachnid-like powers. Now, Miles has been thrust into a world he doesn’t understand, with only gut instinct and a little thing called responsibility as his guides.

Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection. Volume 1, edited by Hope Nicholson
GRAPHIC PN6790.N72 M66 2016)
Moonshot is a project that is a thrilling new collection that showcases diverse aboriginal representation in comic books. This is an anthology of stories about identity, culture, and spirituality told by writers and artists from a range of communities across North America including many creators that identify as Métis, Inuit, Dene, Anishnaabe, Cree, Mi’kmaq, Caddo, Haida, Sioux, and Suquamish, among others.

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1, No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson
GRAPHIC PN6728.M766 W55 2014
Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm!

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi
GRAPHIC PN6747.S245 P4913 2005
The great-granddaughter of Iran’s last emperor and the daughter of ardent Marxists continues her description of growing up in Tehran–a country plagued by political upheaval and vast contradictions between public and private life.

The Shadow Hero, written by Gene Luen Yang
GRAPHIC PN6727.Y36 S42 2014
In the comics boom of the 1940s, a legend was born: the Green Turtle. He solved crimes and fought injustice just like the other comics characters. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding something more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity: the Green Turtle was the first Asian American super hero. The comic had a short run before lapsing into obscurity, but Gene Luen Yang has revived this character in Shadow Hero, a new graphic novel that creates an origin story for the Green Turtle.

Library Announces “Create Your Own Graphic Novel” Contest

Create your own diverse superhero origin story--enter our graphic novel contest!

Ms. Marvel. Black Panther. Iceman. Who will be the next diverse superhero?

The Lewis University Library invites all current students, faculty, and staff to add a character to the rapidly expanding universe of superheroes from diverse backgrounds. Submit your diverse superhero origin story to our contest and your work could be digitized and added to the Library’s new graphic novels collection.

What makes a diverse superhero? As defined by the American Library Association, diverse content includes the following:

  • Non-white main and/or secondary characters
  • LGBT main and/or secondary characters
  • Disabled main and/or secondary characters
  • Issues about race or racism
  • LGBT issues
  • Issues about religion
  • Issues about disability and/or mental illness
  • Non-western settings

Submissions should be emailed to Maria Emerson ( by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 14 and should conform to the following specifications:

  • 1 to 5 pages in length (may be an entire work or an excerpt from a longer work)
  • Original artwork (hand-drawn or digital) and text
  • PDF or JPG format
  • Created by an individual or a group of no more than two people
  • One entry per person/group

Submissions will be reviewed during Lewis University’s Diversity Week (April 24 through 28) by a panel of Lewis faculty and staff and staff from local comic book stores.

A grand prize and honorable mention will be awarded in each category. Winners will be announced via social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), and displayed in the Library’s first-floor art gallery area. Winning submissions will be published as an eBook and added to the Library’s graphic novels collection and institutional repository.

For more information, contact Maria Emerson or Kelley Plass.