Yes, I said format. Please let's remember that graphic novels are not a genre. Graphic novels are a format, a way to tell a story, any story, in many genres.
Take myself for instance. If you asked me if I liked graphic novels, I would emphatically proclaim, "YES!" But, does that mean I like every type of graphic novel. No, I enjoy graphic novels in the same genres that I like my books [horror, sf, nonfiction, literary fiction, for example], and conversely I also do NOT like graphic novels in the genres I do not enjoy-- specifically comics of superheroes. I do not like the genre of superheroes at all. I don't enjoy them in movies or TV either.
The world of graphic novels is vast and figuring it all out can be a daunting task. We have to consider the type of stories people enjoy AND how the art interacts with that. Plus, graphic novels cover everything. This means there is a lot to sift through, but it also means that there is a choice available for every reader.
July is the best time to get up to speed on the entire landscape of graphic novels because it is the month of Comic-Con International and the most prestigious and comprehensive awards in the format, the Eisner Awards.
Click here to see every nominee in a wide range of categories for all age levels. I think just looking at the sheer number of categories and what they are for helps you to understand the multiple layers of appeal and the scope of storytelling. It gives you a glimpse into the format's contraction by deconstructing the process.
But even then, that list is overwhelming because it only shows you what the industry considers as the cream of that year's crop. How do you help yourself to be better at helping readers? Well, as the title of this post says, Booklist, one of the best places to fine useful and hands-on RA and collection development resources, resources you can use in the your work with readers immediately, has gone all in on July as Graphic Novels in Libraries month.
There are the regular spotlight issue lists like:
- Top 10 Graphic Novels for Adults
- Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth
- Graphic Novels on Audio [yes, audio; that is not a typo]
But the staff took it one step further this month by creating a full supplemental Guide to Graphic Novels in Libraries, which you can access here. Below is a list of the feature article with links but go to the landing page for the introduction by Booklist's Sarah Hunter too.
- Access-ior: Cataloging and Shelving Graphic Novels and Comics, by Susan Maguire
- Collecting Manga 101, by Eva Volin
- Healthcare for the Masses: Graphic Medicine, by Matthew Noe
- You Con Do It! Library Mini-cons, by Susan Maguire
- What Can the Graphic Novels and Comics Roundtable Do for Me? by Carla Reimer and Rachel Fryd
- The Final Word (in Pictures)
- Comic Interludes
- Megg, Mogg, & Owl in Sensible, Reserved, Comical Follies. For Adults. by Simon Hanselmann
- It Starts at the Library, by Steenz
- Notes from the Field
- Weeding Graphic Novels, by Susan Maguire
- Durham County Library’s Graphic Book Club, by Susan Maguire
- Brittany Netherton Makes a Case for a New Collection, by Sarah Hunter
- Jesse Karp on Comics for Kids, by Sarah Hunter
- San José Public Library’s Graphic Novel Making Contest, by Susan Maguire
There is even more if you login or go to Booklist Reader all month long. Now get out there and get up to speed in graphic novels, refresh your collections, and work with readers with confidence.