100 books like Reinventing Comics

By Scott McCloud,

Here are 100 books that Reinventing Comics fans have personally recommended if you like Reinventing Comics. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

Tyler Fisher Author Of The Artist's Drawing Book: Learn How to Draw, Sketch, Shade, and More with Easy Lessons and Practice Pages

From my list on unleashing your creative potential.

Why am I passionate about this?

For me, art is a journey of relentless questioning, exploring, and introspection. As an artist, author, and educator, I have relied on each book in this collection to further my creative journey. The titles that I've selected offer unique perspectives on the transformative power of art and have had the biggest effect on my students, my peers, and my own artistic growth. I believe that art is a language that is and should be for everyone, providing a conduit for individual expression, problem-solving, and innovation. Each of these titles has offered pivotal "aha" moments while igniting my passion, and I hope they allow you to unlock your creative potential.

Tyler's book list on unleashing your creative potential

Tyler Fisher Why did Tyler love this book?

This one may surprise you, but I assure you that Understanding Comics is an absolute gem!

McCloud has crafted an intellectual yet accessible guide that is not just a study of comics but a masterclass in communication and the art of storytelling. This book provides a rich fusion of insightful theory and practical advice, all conveyed through the very medium it discusses, making it a uniquely immersive experience. 

McCloud’s engaging style and profound understanding of the mechanics of comics didn't just educate me;  they enchanted me. His deep dives into the psychology behind why we connect with comics pair perfectly with his diegetic examples of framing, composition, and visual motivation. It’s a journey through the mechanics of comics that turns into a deeper exploration of visual expression and human perception.

Art is, in essence, a storytelling medium, making this book as invaluable for artists and writers as it is for…

By Scott McCloud,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Understanding Comics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling international classic on storytelling and visual communication "You must read this book." - Neil Gaiman Praised throughout the cartoon industry by such luminaries as Art Spiegelman, Matt Groening, and Will Eisner, Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics is a seminal examination of comics art: its rich history, surprising technical components, and major cultural significance. Explore the secret world between the panels, through the lines, and within the hidden symbols of a powerful but misunderstood art form.


Book cover of Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels

Lee Nordling Author Of Comics Creator Prep

From my list on the craft of comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Eisner-nominated and award-winning graphic novel and comics writer, editor, and book packager. I've worked on staff at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Disney Publishing, DC Comics, Nickelodeon Magazine, and Platinum Studios. My sequential art book, The Bramble, won the 2013 Moonbeam Gold Medal for Picture Books, and I created a new way to read comics with BirdCatDog, a 2015 Eisner Awards nominee, that received the 2015 Moonbeam Spirit Award Gold Medal for Imagination, and was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best children’s books of 2014. SheHeWe, the third book in the series, was a 2016 Eisner Award nominee for Best Publication for Early Readers.

Lee's book list on the craft of comics

Lee Nordling Why did Lee love this book?

The subtitle to Making Comics is: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels. In this book, Scott gets practical, and shows you how to apply what you learned from his previous volumes. In his introduction, he writes, “The comics industry is changing fast. Old formats die and new ones are born. Whole industries come and go. But these storytelling principles always apply. They mattered fifty years ago and they’ll matter fifty years from now.” To quote Stan Lee, ‘nuff said.

By Scott McCloud,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Making Comics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Magnificent! The best how-to manual ever published." - Kevin Kelly, Cool Tools Scott McCloud tore down the wall between high and low culture in 1993 with Understanding Comics, a massive comic book about comics, linking the medium to such diverse fields as media theory, movie criticism, and web design. In Reinventing Comics, McCloud took this to the next level, charting twelve different revolutions in how comics are generated, read, and perceived today. Now, in Making Comics, McCloud focuses his analysis on the art form itself, exploring the creation of comics, from the broadest principles to the sharpest details (like how…


Book cover of Comics and Sequential Art: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist

Lee Nordling Author Of Comics Creator Prep

From my list on the craft of comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Eisner-nominated and award-winning graphic novel and comics writer, editor, and book packager. I've worked on staff at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Disney Publishing, DC Comics, Nickelodeon Magazine, and Platinum Studios. My sequential art book, The Bramble, won the 2013 Moonbeam Gold Medal for Picture Books, and I created a new way to read comics with BirdCatDog, a 2015 Eisner Awards nominee, that received the 2015 Moonbeam Spirit Award Gold Medal for Imagination, and was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best children’s books of 2014. SheHeWe, the third book in the series, was a 2016 Eisner Award nominee for Best Publication for Early Readers.

Lee's book list on the craft of comics

Lee Nordling Why did Lee love this book?

Eisner was a comics and graphic novel pioneer, first by his work on his classic creation, The Spirit, and then with his graphic novels. Eisner offers valuable, personal, professional, and practical insights into how the sequential art medium can be tailored to your intentions. In his foreword, he writes: “This work is intended to consider and examine the unique aesthetics of sequential art as a means of creative expression, a distinct discipline, an art and literary form that deals with the arrangement of pictures or images and words to narrate a story or dramatize an idea.”

By Will Eisner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Comics and Sequential Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Will Eisner is one of the twentieth century's great American artists, a man who pioneered the field of comic arts. Here, in his classic Comics and Sequential Art, he refines the art of graphic storytelling into clear, concise principles that every cartoonist, comic artist, writer, and filmmaker meeds to know. Adapted from Eisner's landmark course at New York's School of Visual Arts, Comics and Sequential Art is an essential text filled with invaluable theories and easy-to-use techniques. Eisner reveals here the fundamentals of graphic storytelling. He addresses dialogue, anatomy, framing, and many other important aspects of the art form. Fully…


Book cover of Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative

Lee Nordling Author Of Comics Creator Prep

From my list on the craft of comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Eisner-nominated and award-winning graphic novel and comics writer, editor, and book packager. I've worked on staff at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Disney Publishing, DC Comics, Nickelodeon Magazine, and Platinum Studios. My sequential art book, The Bramble, won the 2013 Moonbeam Gold Medal for Picture Books, and I created a new way to read comics with BirdCatDog, a 2015 Eisner Awards nominee, that received the 2015 Moonbeam Spirit Award Gold Medal for Imagination, and was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best children’s books of 2014. SheHeWe, the third book in the series, was a 2016 Eisner Award nominee for Best Publication for Early Readers.

Lee's book list on the craft of comics

Lee Nordling Why did Lee love this book?

In his foreword, Eisner writes: “In this work, I hope to deal with the mission and process of storytelling with graphics.” Where McCloud shows you different options and tools for how to choose images to explore ideas, Eisner gets specific, and shows you how he does it. This book, along with the four others I recommend, and mine, gives you all the tools you need to choose your own path for effectively working as a writer and/or artist in the sequential art medium.  

By Will Eisner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative, Will Eisner-one of the most influential comic artists of the twentieth century-lays out the fundamentals of storytelling and their application in the comic book and graphic novel. In a work that will prove invaluable for comic artists and filmmakers, Eisner reveals how to construct a story and the basics of crafting a visual narrative. Filled with examples from Eisner's work as well as that of artists like Art Spiegelman and R. Crumb, this essential work covers everything from the fine points of graphic storytelling to the big picture of the medium, including how to:…


Book cover of Tangles: A Story about Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me

Jo Owens Author Of A Funny Kind of Paradise

From my list on for commiserating over the "aging parents" challenge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a care aide (aka personal support worker) who has happily worked at an extended care facility for more than twenty years, and as such, I have been a compassionate listener to many a family member suffering from the tsunami of feelings involved when coping with aging parents or spouses, so I thought I would be well-positioned and emotionally prepared to cope when it was my turn to face my own mother's deterioration. How wrong I was! Thank goodness for the generous souls who write memoirs. Each of the books that I have chosen was an education and an affirmation to me as I tried to maintain my equilibrium while supporting my mother and my mother-in-law through their final years.

Jo's book list on for commiserating over the "aging parents" challenge

Jo Owens Why did Jo love this book?

When I read this graphic novel for the first time in 2010, it had just been published, and my mom was still my mom. I had been a care aide for ten years and I was thinking a lot about what families had already been through by the time their beloved came to me in Extended Care. Tangles tells the story of Sarah Leavitt's family from the beginning, when the family starts to notice something is wrong with Mom, to the diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer's disease, through the long journey until death. The pictures and text were a perfect combination that cracked open my heart and made me a better care aide.

Years later, I had a more personal use for Tangles. My mom didn't have Alzheimer's disease, but Leavitt's book resonated like a tuning fork in St. Paul's cathedral. "I decided to pretend she wasn't my mother…

By Sarah Leavitt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tangles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this powerful memoir the the LA Times calls “moving, rigorous, and heartbreaking," Sarah Leavitt reveals how Alzheimer’s disease transformed her mother, Midge, and her family forever. In spare blackand- white drawings and clear, candid prose, Sarah shares her family’s journey through a harrowing range of emotions—shock, denial, hope, anger, frustration—all the while learning to cope, and managing to find moments of happiness. Midge, a Harvard educated intellectual, struggles to comprehend the simplest words; Sarah’s father, Rob, slowly adapts to his new role as full-time caretaker, but still finds time for wordplay and poetry with his wife; Sarah and her…


Book cover of The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Men, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito

José Pimienta Author Of Twin Cities

From my list on being in a new place (physical or emotional).

Why am I passionate about this?

Coming-of-age stories have always appealed to me because of their focus on an internal struggle. They’re usually juxtaposed with a changing landscape or moving to a new place. In broad strokes, coming-of-age stories focus on personal identity and our place in our day-to-day world. As someone who’s born in the US but grew up on the Mexican side but currently lives in California, the questions of what aspects of me are American and which are Mexican have been ongoing. With that in mind, these five books speak to me in a profound way, and I'm happy they exist as comics. 

José's book list on being in a new place (physical or emotional)

José Pimienta Why did José love this book?

This is a non-fiction book about an artist doing a road trip with an adorable dog by the name of Bug. As they travel the historic highway, Shing Yin Khor reflects on this country’s history, what it can mean to live in the US as a person of color and why we’re often left with more questions than satisfying answers. Even the title reflects this as it’s an interrogative sentence rather than a declarative one. It’s a very personal journey and it reads like a friend telling you about their trip. There are various segments where the scenery does the talking.

As someone who did not grow up in this country, I have been in a similar headspace. I love this book.

By Shing Yin Khor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Men, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

As a child growing up in Malaysia, Shing Yin Khor had two very different ideas of what "America" meant. The first looked a lot like Hollywood, full of beautiful people and sunlight and freeways. The second looked more like The Grapes of Wrath - a nightmare landscape filled with impoverished people, broken-down cars, barren landscapes, and broken dreams. Those contrasting ideas have stuck with Shing ever since, even now that she lives and works in LA. The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66 is Shing's attempt to find what she can of both of these Americas on a solo…


Book cover of Space Dumplins

Scott SanGiacomo Author Of Bedhead Ted

From my list on navigating friendships and family.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi, my name is Scott SanGiacomo, (San-JAH-Ko-mo) from Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Stories have always been important to me. From the ones read to me as a boy; to the comics I devoured as an adolescent; all the way to the stories I read to my own children. I’m inspired to create stories and art that explore childhood and the universal themes that follow us into adulthood. I hope you enjoy my list of graphic novels about navigating friendships and family.

Scott's book list on navigating friendships and family

Scott SanGiacomo Why did Scott love this book?

I love a good adventure, don’t you? Craig Thompson has created a space-epic about friendship, family, and loyalty. Violet is a young girl who sets out on an adventure to save her Dad, who’s gone missing. With his usual jaw-dropping illustrations, this action-packed graphic novel is full of interesting characters, amazing settings, and cool spaceships! I found it to be very cinematic. It’s a fun ride, full of heart and important messages. Perfect for 8-14-year-olds who like to be engulfed in a new world.

By Craig Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Space Dumplins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

'Like the twisted lovechild of Jack Kirby and Dr Seuss, Craig Thompson has created a new genre: the Adorable Epic.' JOSS WHEDON

From the Eisner award winning, New York Times bestselling author of Habibi and Blankets, comes this year's most exciting adventure.

For Violet, family is the most important thing in the whole galaxy. So when her father goes missing while on a hazardous job, she can't just sit around and do nothing. Throwing caution to the stars, she sets out with a group of misfit friends on a quest to find him. But space is a big and dangerous…


Book cover of Four Dead in Ohio

Zachary M. Schrag Author Of The Fires of Philadelphia: Citizen-Soldiers, Nativists, and the 1844 Riots Over the Soul of a Nation

From my list on mob violence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fortunate not to have witnessed any major riots myself; the worst I’ve endured was a 1993 street fight in Moscow between parading Communists and the police, with bricks on one side and clubs and water cannon on the other. But even a relatively gentle protest march that draws a police response can be an astonishing spectacle, transforming a familiar, modern city into a medieval battlefield of massed crowds confronting armored men on horseback. And I am fascinated by the place of crowd actions in democratic societies. The right to assemble is embedded in our constitution, but there’s a fine line between public expression and mob rule.

Zachary's book list on mob violence

Zachary M. Schrag Why did Zachary love this book?

In May 1970, Kent, Ohio, witnessed four days of violence, from a rampage downtown that left fifty-six store windows smashed, to the shooting of thirteen Kent State University students by the Ohio National Guard. To tell this story, cartoonist Backderf blends his craft with the historian’s. And it works: The same visual conventions that render the deeds of superheroes also effectively portray historic violence. Relying on oral histories, official investigations, and photographs as sources, Backderf depicts punches and kicks, the grins of victors and the grimaces of the vanquished, and the accompanying sounds: Pop! Crak! Bang! Crash! While contemptuous of the Guard’s senior leadership, he nonetheless takes care to present multiple points of view.

By Derf Backderf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Four Dead in Ohio as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From bestselling author Derf Backderf comes the untold story of the Kent State shootings-timed for the 50th anniversary

On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard gunned down unarmed college students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University. In a deadly barrage of 67 shots, 4 students were killed and 9 shot and wounded. It was the day America turned guns on its own children-a shocking event burned into our national memory. A few days prior, 10-year-old Derf Backderf saw those same Guardsmen patrolling his nearby hometown, sent in by the governor to crush a trucker strike. Using the…


Book cover of Dodo

José Pimienta Author Of Twin Cities

From my list on being in a new place (physical or emotional).

Why am I passionate about this?

Coming-of-age stories have always appealed to me because of their focus on an internal struggle. They’re usually juxtaposed with a changing landscape or moving to a new place. In broad strokes, coming-of-age stories focus on personal identity and our place in our day-to-day world. As someone who’s born in the US but grew up on the Mexican side but currently lives in California, the questions of what aspects of me are American and which are Mexican have been ongoing. With that in mind, these five books speak to me in a profound way, and I'm happy they exist as comics. 

José's book list on being in a new place (physical or emotional)

José Pimienta Why did José love this book?

This is a story about someone going through something difficult and not having the words to verbalize why it is having a drastic impact. The premise is simple: Laila’s parents are going through a separation and she has to stay home. One day, she sees a giant bird across the street and allows him to enter her house. Laila tries to keep him a secret, but this bird has other plans. To me, this book is about visualizing a difficult or unnamed emotion. It shows how messy such a process can be. Also, the illustrations are delightful.  

By Felipe Nunes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dodo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

DODO is a graphic novel for all ages that explores emotional alienation within families.

Laila is six years old and she's been taken out of school following her parents' divorce. She doesn't understand why she can't go to school with the rest of her friends or why her dad never comes by anymore. Laila comes across a mysterious bird, a dodo named Ralph, and befriends the creature that has been living in the part near her house. Through her friendship with Ralph, Laila starts to notice things, things she never wanted to understand.


Book cover of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 1

Andrew MacLean Author Of ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times

From my list on graphic novels for a big imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe comics are one of the very best storytelling mediums for stories with big imagination. Prose and film are amazing, but comics have artwork for every single moment of the story, artwork not bound by space, time, or budget. I’ve written and drawn 5 graphic novels published in 11 different languages. I’ve dedicated my entire life to the pursuit of imagination. The books I’ve recommended have given me endless enjoyment and inspiration, I hope they can do the same for you too.

Andrew's book list on graphic novels for a big imagination

Andrew MacLean Why did Andrew love this book?

I absolutely adore Miyazaki’s art in Nausicaa. Although dealing in themes of plague and pollution, the artwork really feels like it comes from a place of love. His creature and vehicle designs exude his adoration of nature and science. And everything is rendered in a soft, effortless chiaroscuro that makes reading an endless pleasure. 

But maybe the single most endearing attribute is the character, Nausicaa, herself. It seems to me, that more often than not, a hero story asks its protagonist to go through some sort of reluctant change to become a hero. But not Nausicaa. She comes to us fully formed, full of virtue and ambition. And so the story is centered on her choices. The story doesn’t happen to her, she drives it herself.

By Hayao Miyazaki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nausicaa, a young princess who has an empathic bond with the giant Ohmu insects and animals of every creed. She fights to create tolerance, understanding and patience among empires that are fighting over the world's remaining precious natural resources.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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