Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: Heroes & Superheroes Review
“This 2-volume reference presents entries on over 130 graphic novels, arranged alphabetically by title. The entries feature a lengthy essay (3-4 pages) with a plot summary, publication history, list of characters, list of the volumes published with brief plot summary of each, description of the artistic style, central themes of the story, impact on the genre, list of further readings, and a bibliography. Adaptation into other genres, including television and movies, is cited and discussed. Each entry gives the names of the author(s), artists, publisher, and date published. One or more b&w illustrations and inset boxes with additional information are also part of the entries. Vol. 2 contains several appendices and an extensive index. Beaty is at the U. of Calgary, Canada; Weiner is at the Maynard Public Library in Massachusetts. (Annotation ©2012 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)”
“… Beaty (English, Univ. of Calgary, Alta.; Of Comics and Men: A Cultural History of American Comic Books) and library director Weiner (Maynard P.L.; The Will Eisner Companion) have created an encyclopedia of comics that were bound in graphic novel format at some point, as opposed to presented comic style. Some, it should be noted, were initially published comic style and later collected, while others came out in a bound format. Also, the editors’ definition of “heroes and superheroes” is broader than some might expect—the graphic novels included feature action, science fiction, fantasy, and superhero tales that go beyond iconic Batman and Superman story lines. The entries offer very useful plot synopses, a character list, a short biography of the writer or artist, and critical examinations of the title’s themes, artistic style, and impact on other works. Each entry also includes a bibliography and recommendations for further reading.
VERDICT: This impeccable reference work will prove useful to librarians and fans wanting to know what to buy as well as for scholars studying the medium. Realistically, though, its price means it is best suited to academics writing about comic books and graphic novels...”