A New York Times Notable Book of 2018 ...a tour de force of the world of comics, from high-minded graphic novels to Superman... New York Times The massive impact that comics have had on our culture becomes more and more clear every day, from the critically acclaimed musical Fun Home , based on Alison Bechdel's groundbreaking comic, to the dozens of superhero films hitting cinemas every year. What is it that makes comics so special? What can this unique art form do that others can't? In Why Comics? , comics scholar Hillary Chute reveals the history of comics, underground comics (or comix), and graphic novels, through deep thematic analysis, and fascinating portraits of the fearless men and women behind them. As Scott McCloud revealed the methods behind comics and the way they worked in his classic Understanding Comics , Chute will reveal the themes that Comics handle best, and how the form is uniquely equipped to explore them. The topics Why Comics? include: - Why Disaster: with such major works focusing on disasters, from Art Spiegelman's work, which covers the Holocaust and 9/11 to Keiji Nakazawa's work covering Heroshima, comics find themselves uniquely suited to convey the scale and disorientation of disaster. - Why Suburbs: through the work of Chris Ware and Charles Burns, Chute reveals the fascinating ways that Comics illustrate the quiet joys and struggles of suburban existence. - Why Punk: With an emphasis on DIY aesthetics and rebelling against what came before, the Punk movement would prove to be a fertile ground for some of the most significant modern cartoonists, creating a truly democratic art form. Chute has created an indispensable guide to comics for those new to the genre, or those who want to understand more about what lies behind their favorite works.
From the Back Cover
Filled with beautiful full-color art, dynamic storytelling, and insightful analysis, Hillary Chute's Why Comics? reveals what makes one of the most critically acclaimed and popular art forms unique and so appealing, and how it got that way. Over the past century, fans have elevated comics from the back pages of newspapers into one of our most celebrated forms of culture, from Fun Home , the Tony Award-winning musical based on Alison Bechdel's groundbreaking graphic memoir, to the dozens of superhero films that are annual blockbusters worldwide. What is the essence of comics' appeal? What does this art form do that others can't? Whether you've read every comic you can get your hands on or you're just starting your journey, Why Comics? has something for you. Author Hillary Chute chronicles comics culture, explaining underground comics (also known as comix) and graphic novels, analyzing their evolution, and offering fascinating portraits of the creative men and women behind them. Chute reveals why these works--a blend of concise words and striking visuals--are an extraordinarily powerful form of expression that stimulates us intellectually and emotionally. Focusing on ten major themes--disaster, superheroes, sex, the suburbs, cities, punk, illness and disability, girls, war, and queerness--Chute explains how comics gets its messages across more effectively than any other form. Why Disaster? explores how comics are uniquely suited to convey the scale and disorientation of calamity, from Art Spiegelman's representation of the Holocaust and 9/11 to Keiji Nakazawa's focus on Hiroshima. Why the Suburbs? examines how the work of Chris Ware and Charles Burns illustrates the quiet joys and struggles of suburban existence; and Why Punk? delves into how comics inspire and reflect the punk movement's DIY aesthetics--giving birth to a democratic medium increasingly embraced by some of today's most significant artists. Featuring full-color reproductions of more than one hundred essential pages and panels, including some famous but never-before-reprinted images from comics legends, Why Comics? is an indispensable guide that offers a deep understanding of this influential art form and its masters.