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Review of Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box

marcus_comics-confidentialComics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box
compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus
Middle School, High School    Candlewick    176 pp.
9/16    978-0-7636-5938-7    $24.99

A foreword by David Small and Marcus’s brief outline of the history of comics introduce the book. Marcus (The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy, rev. 7/06; Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy, rev. 11/09) then proceeds to interview thirteen prominent graphic novelists creating books for children and teens — including Gene Luen Yang, Kazu Kibuishi, Hope Larson, Sara Varon, and Mark Siegel, to name several. Each individually tailored interview, in a Q&A format, opens with a self-portrait of the artist and contains both a short finished full-color comic inspired by the open-ended prompt “the city” and some preliminary sketches for said comic. Marcus’s chosen comics creators together represent a nice range of styles, topics, nationalities, backgrounds, and intended audiences, while his insightful questions range from formative childhood influences to various career paths, and from individual creative processes to broader ruminations on the medium of comics. The profiles are concise and informative; taken together as a whole, the book represents a snapshot of the genre as it continues on its upward trajectory (what with Newbery Honors going to graphic novels in consecutive years). Appended with source notes, art media notes, artists’ bibliographies, and an index.

From the November/December 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Jonathan Hunt

Jonathan Hunt is the coordinator of library media services at the San Diego County Office of Education.

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