Graphic novels have experienced a sharp increase in readership over the past few years. What was once viewed as a small niche genre now has a commanding presence in publishing. With a larger audience comes an impressive selection of material being published in graphic novel form. From fan favorites such as Game of Thrones and The Graveyard Book to classic novels like the works of Shakespeare all offer graphic retellings. But one subject that seems to dominate the graphic novel genre is history. Students and armchair historians can see the battles and drama while learning about historical events and people. Below is a sampling of history graphic novels available in the media center.
All synopses are from Amazon.com
The Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation into the Kennedy Assassination by Dan Mishkin and Ernie Colon
Within days of the murder of President John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson appointed a seven-member commission to investigate the assassination. In its report, the Warren Commission determined that there was “no credible evidence” conflicting with its conclusion of a lone gunman. Artist Ernie Colón, bestselling illustrator of The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, teams up with author Dan Mishkin to provide a unique means of testing the commission’s findings, unraveling conflicting narratives side by side through graphic-novel techniques. The Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation into the Kennedy Assassination breaks down how decisions in the days that followed the assassination not only shaped how the commission reconstructed events but also helped foster the conspiracy theories that play a part in American politics to this day.
March. Books 1 and 2 by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. Book 2 follows the success of the Nashville sit-in campaign. John Lewis is more committed than ever to changing the world through nonviolence — but as he and his fellow Freedom Riders board a bus into the vicious heart of the deep south, they will be tested like never before. Faced with beatings, police brutality, imprisonment, arson, and even murder, the movement’s young activists place their lives on the line while internal conflicts threaten to tear them apart.
Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale
The Donner Party expedition is one of the most notorious stories in all of American history. It’s also a fascinating snapshot of the westward expansion of the United States, and the families and individuals who sacrificed so much to build new lives in a largely unknown landscape. From the preparation for the journey to each disastrous leg of the trip, this book shows the specific bad decisions that led to the party’s predicament in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The graphic novel focuses on the struggles of the Reed family to tell the true story of the catastrophic journey.
Jerusalem: A Family Portrait by Boaz Yakin and Nick Bertozzi
Jerusalem is a sweeping, epic graphic novel that follows a single family―three generations and fifteen very different people―as they are swept up in chaos, war, and nation-making from 1940-1948. Faith, family, and politics are the heady mix that fuel this ambitious, cinematic graphic novel. With Jerusalem, author-filmmaker Boaz Yakin turns his finely-honed storytelling skills to a topic near to his heart: Yakin's family lived in Palestine during this period and was caught up in the turmoil of war just as his characters are. This is a personal work, but it is not a book with a political ax to grind. Rather, this comic seeks to tell the stories of a huge cast of memorable characters as they wrestle with a time when nothing was clear and no path was smooth.
Shackleton: Antartic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi
Ernest Shackleton was one of the last great Antarctic explorers, and he led one of the most ambitious Antarctic expeditions ever undertaken. This is his story, and the story of the dozens of men who threw in their lot with him - many of whom nearly died in the unimaginably harsh conditions of the journey. It's an astonishing feat - and was unprecedented at the time - that all the men in the expedition survived. Shackleton's expedition marked the end of a period of romantic exploration of the Arctic and the Antarctic, and this is as much a book about the encroaching modern world as it is about travel. But Nick Bertozzi has documented this remarkable journey with such wit and fiendish attention to detail that it's impossible not to get caught up in the drama of the voyage.
How the World Was: A California Childhood by Emmanuel Guibert
In 1994, French cartoonist Emmanuel Guibert befriended an American veteran named Alan Cope and began creating his new friend's graphic biography. Alan's War was the surprising and moving result: the story of Cope's experiences as an American GI in France during World War II. How the World Was is Emmanuel Guibert's moving return to documenting the life of his friend. Cope died several years ago, as Guibert was just beginning work on this book, but Guibert has kept working to commit his friend's story to paper. Cope grew up in California during the great depression, and this remarkable graphic novel details the little moments that make a young man's life...while capturing the scope of America during the great depression.
Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History by Joel Christian Gill
Strange Fruit Volume I is a collection of stories from early African American history that represent the oddity of success in the face of great adversity. Each of the nine illustrated chapters chronicles an uncelebrated African American hero or event. From the adventures of lawman Bass Reeves, to Henry “Box” Brown’s daring escape from slavery.
The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown
A speck of dust is a tiny thing. In fact, five of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence. On a clear, warm Sunday, April 14, 1935, a wild wind whipped up millions upon millions of these specks of dust to form a duster—a savage storm—on America's high southern plains. The sky turned black, sand-filled winds scoured the paint off houses and cars, trains derailed, and electricity coursed through the air. Sand and dirt fell like snow—people got lost in the gloom and suffocated . . . and that was just the beginning. Don Brown brings the Dirty Thirties to life with kinetic, highly saturated, and lively artwork in this graphic novel of one of America's most catastrophic natural events: the Dust Bowl.
Marx: An Illustrated Biography by Connie Maier and Anne Simon
Karl Marx dreamt of a world free from exploitation, inequality, and unemployment. Growing up in a rapacious capitalist society, Marx sought to address the evils of the world through new ways of thinking. His solution? Revolution!
Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale
World War I set the tone for the 20th century and introduced a new type of warfare: global, mechanical, and brutal. Nathan Hale has gathered some of the most fascinating true-life tales from the war and given them his inimitable Hazardous Tales twist. Easy to understand, funny, informative, and lively, this series is the best way to be introduced to some of the most well-known battles (and little-known secrets) of the infamous war.
The Photographer: Into War Torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders by Emmanuel Guibert
In 1986, Afghanistan was torn apart by a war with the Soviet Union. This graphic novel/photo-journal is a record of one reporter's arduous and dangerous journey through Afghanistan accompanying the Doctors Without Borders. Didier Lefèvre’s photography, paired with the art of Emmanuel Guibert, tells the powerful story of a mission undertaken by men and women dedicated to mending the wounds of war.
Terrorist: Gavrilo Princip, the Assassin Who Ignited World War I by Henrik Rehr
This much we know: On June 28, 1914, a young man stood on a street corner in Sarajevo, aimed a pistol into a stalled car carrying the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and pulled the trigger. Within a few minutes, the archduke was dead, and Europe would not know peace again for five years. More than 16 million people would die in the fighting that came to be known as World War I. Little else is known about the young man named Gavrilo Princip. How could a poor student from a tiny Serbian village turn the wheel of history and alter the face of a continent for generations? Henrik Rehr's dark and riveting graphic novel fills the gaps in the historical record and imagines in insightful detail the events that led a boy from Oblej to become history's most significant terrorist.
The Battle of the Bulge: A Graphic History of Allied Victory in the Ardennes, 1944-1945 by Wayne Vansant
Fought in the winter of 1944-1945, the coldest season in over 100 years, the Battle of the Bulge still ranks as the single largest battle ever fought by the United States Army. Thirty-one American divisions - fully one-third of the U.S. Army raised during World War II - saw action in this battle. This battle was truly a test: could this conscript army from a pacifistic democracy defeat the best remaining men and machines that Germany's totalitarian government could produce? In Battle of the Bulge, author and artist Wayne Vansant brings readers into the frozen foxholes, haunting forests, and devastated villages of the Ardennes during that freezing cold winter. With meticulous historical accuracy and hand-drawn visuals that can tell a story in ways words alone cannot, Vansant recounts the Bulge with insightful detail, replaying the thrusts and volleys of both the combined Allied and German forces during the tumultuous battle. This is a story of panic, fear, and physical misery; a story of how a generation of draftees, National Guardsmen, and a small core of regular officers and NCOs faced those three elements as snow piled around their foxholes and the incessant drumming of artillery splintered the woods that gave them shelter. It is the story of men, frozen and hurting, far from home and holding little hope of seeing it again until the killing finally ended.
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under twenty feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people lost their lives. The riveting tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism, and courage—and also of incompetence, racism, and criminality. Don Brown’s kinetic art and as-it-happens narrative capture both the tragedy and triumph of one of the worst natural disasters in American history. A portion of the proceeds from this book has been donated to Habitat for Humanity New Orleans.
War Brothers: A Graphic Novel by Sharon McKay and Jennifer Bell
The unforgettable story of a child soldier. When fourteen-year-old Jacob is brutally abducted and forced to become a child soldier, he struggles to hold on to his sanity and the will to escape. Daniel Lafrance’s striking artwork and the poignant, powerful text capture the very essence of life as a child soldier. Readers will never forget the experiences of this young boy struggling to survive, unsure who to trust, afraid of succumbing to madness, and above all, desperate to get to freedom. In the end, Jacob engineers a daring escape. This graphic novel is based on the acclaimed novel of the same title, winner of a 2009 Arthur Ellis award. The author spent time in Uganda and based this story on real-life accounts of the horrors inflicted on child soldiers and their victims. This is a story of unthinkable violence, but also one of hope, courage, friendship, and family.
Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
Drawing on the unique historical sites, archives, expertise, and unquestioned authority of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, New York Times bestselling authors Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón have created the first authorized and exhaustive graphic biography of Anne Frank. Their account is complete, covering the lives of Anne’s parents, Edith and Otto; Anne's first years in Frankfurt; the rise of Nazism; the Franks' immigration to Amsterdam; war and occupation; Anne's years in the Secret Annex; betrayal and arrest; her deportation and tragic death in Bergen-Belsen; the survival of Anne's father; and his recovery and publication of her astounding diary.