The most recommended books about comics

Who picked these books? Meet our 97 experts.

97 authors created a book list connected to comics, and here are their favorite comics books.
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Book cover of Society is Nix: Gleeful Anarchy at the Dawn of the American Comic Strip 1895-1915

Michael Tisserand Author Of Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White

From my list on for reading century-old newspaper funnies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was walking across the country in 1986 when I met a journalist named Mike Sager who showed me that writing can also be an adventure. Since then, I’ve edited an alternative weekly newspaper and written books about zydeco, Hurricane Katrina, comics, and old Kodachrome photos. So far, most everything I write seems to be centered in some way around my adopted home state of Louisiana, a place that never seems to run out of stories. Also, I still like to walk.

Michael's book list on for reading century-old newspaper funnies

Michael Tisserand Why did Michael love this book?

Warning: This book will make you build a new bookshelf. Like other oversized offerings from Peter Maresca’s Sunday Press Publishing, you need a tape measure, not a ruler, to determine its dimensions. This means that you can read this startling collection of strips from 1895 to 1915 in the grand size in which they first appeared in early newspapers, back when the colors and characters screamed off the page, reflecting and refracting the frenetic dawn of a new century. These old newspaper comics pages are where Americans first learned to laugh together. Society is Nix can be difficult to find but is well worth the effort.

By Peter Maresca,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE BIRTH OF COMICS. From the Yellow Kid to the Captain and the Kids, these are the origins of the American comic strip, created at a time when there were no set styles or formats, when artistic anarchy helped spawn a new medium. This book features the earliest offerings (1895 to 1915) from the famous and lesser-known cartoonists who where there when comics were born-over 150 creations from more then 50 superb artists, most reprinted for the first time ever. And all in the original broadsheet size and brilliant colors. Chris Ware calls Society Is Nix,"a mind-blowing portable museum retrospective…


Book cover of Reinventing Comics: The Evolution of an Art Form

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?

While there are many good books out there on the craft of understanding, writing, and making comics, my suggestion for what to read establishes a bedrock on which careers can be built. Scott’s follow-up book to Understanding Comics continues to explore how comics work, and how they can work. In short, he just doesn’t define the sandbox in which you can play; he shows you how to expand the sandbox so that you can do things that have never been done before.

By Scott McCloud,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1993, Scott McCloud tore down the wall between high and low culture with the acclaimed international hit Understanding Comics, a massive comic book that explored the inner workings of the worlds most misunderstood art form. Now, McCloud takes comics to the next level, charting twelve different revolutions in how comics are created, read, and perceived today, and how they're poised to conquer the new millennium.

Part One of this fascinating and in-depth book includes:

The life of comics as an art form and as literature The battle for creators' rights Reinventing the business of comics The volatile and shifting…


Book cover of When Strikes the Warlord

Percival Constantine Author Of Heroes Forged

From my list on superheroes that aren’t comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by superheroes. Maybe it’s because as a bit of an outcast myself growing up, I gravitated towards stories of people who were outside society, yet actually more powerful because of it. Perhaps I’m drawn to the idea of people who work outside the system to make the world a better place, regardless of if it’s dangerous to them or if they don’t reap any kind of personal reward. Or maybe I just like to watch beautiful people in colorful costumes beat the crap out of each other. You can always listen to me on the Superhero Cinephiles podcast to hear me talk more about superheroes.

Percival's book list on superheroes that aren’t comics

Percival Constantine Why did Percival love this book?

The next Avengers movie is a few years away and there’s no way of knowing when (or if) there will be another Justice League movie. So if you’re looking for some epic, superhero team action to hold you over until then, look no further than Van Allen Plexico’s Sentinels series. This is the kind of widescreen superhero action you’ve come to expect from the MCU and Plexico’s love of the genre drips off every page.

By Van Allen Plexico, Chris Kohler (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Strikes the Warlord as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The power-mad Warlord stands poised to conquer-- or destroy-- the universe itself. Can anyone stand in his way? Enter the Sentinels: College student Lyn Li... Brilliant inventor and smart-alec Esro Brachis... Beloved national hero Ultraa... Flamboyant showman Damon Sinclair... and mysterious alien powerhouse Vanadium. When at last they clash atop the Warlord's floating city, can the world itself survive?

The biggest and boldest superhero novel series ever written begins here! The first book in the critically-acclaimed Sentinels superhero novel series introduces the core of the team and the most dangerous-- and insane-- villain of them all: the Warlord!

"Grandiose storytelling…


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 Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human

Blake M. Petit Author Of Other People's Heroes

From my list on superheroes outside of graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and teacher from Ama, Louisiana, who has also been a reader of comic books since I first learned how to read. I spent many years as a columnist, reviewer, and podcaster for a now-defunct comic site, while also working on my own novels, humor columns, and even the occasional stage play. My time these days is split between my day job as a high school English teacher, my dream job writing, and my full-time job of being the father of a five-year-old.

Blake's book list on superheroes outside of graphic novels

Blake M. Petit Why did Blake love this book?

Not a novel, but Supergods is one of the most intriguing books about the superhero as a concept that I’ve ever read. In Supergods, the always thought-provoking Grant Morrison digs into what superheroes actually are by picking apart archetypes, delving into the history of the medium, and exploring their place as a sort of modern mythology. Having written countless superhero comics, including some of the most surreal such stories ever to exist, Morrison is in a unique position to dissect the genre in a way that leaves you thinking about what superheroes mean and why they matter. It's the kind of book that makes you examine what the building blocks of superheroes are, and as someone who enjoys playing in that sandbox, it makes me look at one of my favorite genres in new and unique ways. 

By Grant Morrison,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Supergods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Iron Man, and the X-Men—the list of names as familiar as our own. They are on our movie and television screens, in our videogames and in our dreams. But what are they trying to tell us? For Grant Morrison, one of the most acclaimed writers in the world of comics, these heroes are powerful archetypes who reflect and predict the course of human existence: Through them we tell the story of ourselves. In this exhilarating work…


Book cover of The Art of Fullmetal Alchemist

Mina Petrović Author Of Manga Crash Course Fantasy: How to Draw Anime and Manga, Step by Step

From my list on inspiring manga art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a long-time manga teacher and a pop-culture researcher, as well as a comic illustrator and a Youtuber, presenting under the "Mistiqarts" pseudonym. Since manga was something that inspired me early on to dedicate my life to the art style and pop culture, I was constantly looking for new ways to bring this lifestyle and art to other people interested in drawing manga.  

Mina's book list on inspiring manga art

Mina Petrović Why did Mina love this book?

This is an art book that showcases the masterful craft of an artist who knows how to weave souls into their characters and worlds. Her titles made me laugh, cry, jump up from my seat, and the characters and concepts in the pages of this book make me re-live these moments again and again. She uses a very unusual gouache technique, unlike any other manga artist I know of. The precision and determination in every stroke are stunning, and a book I believe any aspiring artist should have in their library.

By Hiromu Arakawa,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Original art from series creator, Hiromu Arakawa; Somewhere between science, magic and art lies Fullmetal Alchemist!

Translated faithfully from the Japanese edition, this coffee table book contains all the Fullmetal Alchemist color artwork by manga artist Hiromu Arakawa from 2001 to 2003. The Art of Fullmetal Alchemist contains over 90 pages of gorgeous painted illustrations, including all the title pages as printed in color in the Japanese magazine Shonen Gangan; Japanese tankobon (graphic novel) and promotional artwork, with source listings; portraits of the main characters; and character designs from the PS2 game Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel.

Includes a…


Book cover of American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar

Camilo Aguirre Author Of What Remains: Personal and Political Histories of Colombia

From my list on international documentary comics about the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Documentary Comics are this genre of comics in which you can make a community visible, denounce a crime or expose yourself to the world. Being able to dialogue with the world while dialoguing with the reader is amazing. The elements you have to take into account the things you can hide in the silence of a drawing, compelling the reader to read again, to find the easter egg about that thing you really want to talk about. The ways of telling the truth in drawings. All those things are the things that I love about documentary comics.

Camilo's book list on international documentary comics about the world

Camilo Aguirre Why did Camilo love this book?

I am not recommending a particular volume or compilation. In general I love the work of Harvey Pekar.  He has brought me closer to Documentary Comics than any other author. He worked with reflections and anecdotes and was one of those authors that from the writing was able to defy the common places in comics making. Yes, he was a scriptwriter, but he pulled out so many amazing comics from the graphic formula and made them work. I remember seeing gigantic balloons with blocks of text. Pages and pages of close-ups, and they weren’t boring.  A comic about him reflecting on his masculinity by unclogging the toilet. Amazing.

By Harvey Pekar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Meet Harvey Pekar, a true American original. For over 25 years he's been writing comic books about his life, chronicling the ordinary and mundane in stories both funny and touching. Working as a hospital file clerk in Cleveland, his dead-on eye for the frustrations and minutiae of the workaday world mix in a delicate balance with his insight into personal relationships. Illustrating his stories are the cream of the underground comics world, including the legendary Robert Crumb. Pekar has been called 'the blue collar Mark Twain', and compared to Dreiser, Dostoevsky and Lenny Bruce. With American Splendor now an award-winning…


Book cover of Days Gone Bye

Rob E. Boley Author Of That Risen Snow

From my list on for readers who are sick of zombies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading horror books and watching horror movies since I was entirely too young to do either—thanks to my father’s collection of Stephen King books and my uncle’s love of horror movies. Now I’m a horror writer and wake early each morning to make blank pages darker. Zombies remain one of my favorite horror sub-genres. There’s something relentlessly compelling about these mindless ghouls linking inside each of us waiting for some triggering event to set them loose. Maybe it’s the resulting chaos. Maybe it’s the gruesome horror. Mostly, it’s how such tales show us the fragility of our civilization and the darkness of our own nature. 

Rob's book list on for readers who are sick of zombies

Rob E. Boley Why did Rob love this book?

I know, I know. Lots of people are over The Walking Dead. I have a love/hate relationship with the television show, as well. But I’ve read every chapter of the comic book series, and I have to tell you that zombie fiction doesn’t get much better. Kirkman’s epic spans 22 collection editions comprising 193 total comic books, and it’s pure dark magic from start to finish. He populates his tale with compelling characters and terrifying zombies. The tension is palpable and absolutely no one is safe. One of the hallmarks of this series is the shocking, unexpected deaths of key characters, which made all the more impactful because Kirkman makes us feel genuine emotions for them all. 

By Robert Kirkman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled: no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, the survivors are forced to finally start living.



Book cover of Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama

S.W. Leicher Author Of Acts of Assumption

From my list on shattering the image of the word lesbian.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family is a marvelously mixed bunch: lesbian, gay, and straight relatives; Jewish and Latin relatives; relatives along a spectrum of economic situations, abilities, and political views.  The policy work that I do connects me with social justice advocates from across NYC’s multiple ethnic, racial, religious, and LGBTQ communities. The wildly disparate voices that surround me illuminate both the power of communal ties and the dangers of narrow identity labeling.  A central quest behind my work, my reading, and my writing has thus always been to balance and respect everything at once: the cultural structures that sustain us; the individual quirks that challenge and complicate those structures; and the universalities that cross all cultural borders.

S.W.'s book list on shattering the image of the word lesbian

S.W. Leicher Why did S.W. love this book?

Alison Bechdel (best known for Fun Home, a graphic memoir about her bisexual teacher-cum-funeral-parlor-owner father) also wrote this graphic memoir about her actor-writer-teacher mother. It largely takes place in the 1990s, when being boldly “out” was just becoming possible—and Bechdel joyfully and graphically reveals herself as such to her readers. With her mother, however… maybe not so much. When told that Alison is publishing a book of lesbian cartoons, the mother asks: “Isn’t that rather a narrow scope?” before landing the zinger: “You’re not going to use your own name, are you?” Still, the book’s power derives from showing that sexual identity is only a small part of what divides, enrages, and ultimately re-connects this vivid mother-daughter duo. There’s also fierce creative competitiveness. Deeply shared sorrow. And love.           

By Alison Bechdel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An expansive, moving and captivating graphic memoir from the author of Fun Home.

Alison Bechdel's Fun Home was a literary phenomenon. While Fun Home explored Bechdel's relationship with her father, a closeted homosexual, this memoir is about her mother - a voracious reader, a music lover, a passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood... and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter goodnight, for ever, when she was seven.

Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf.

'As absorbing as…


Book cover of Totally Random: Why Nobody Understands Quantum Mechanics (A Serious Comic on Entanglement)

Michael G. Raymer Author Of Quantum Physics: What Everyone Needs to Know

From my list on quantum physics and quantum technology for beginners.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of physics, passionate about researching physics and inspiring non-scientists to enjoy learning about physics. My research addresses how to use quantum physics to accelerate the development of quantum information science including quantum computing, quantum communications, and quantum measurement. My current projects are in developing quantum satellite communications, increasing the precision of telescopes, and constructing a quantum version of the Internet—the Quantum Internet. These topics revolve around quantum optics—the study of how light interacts with matter. I originated the idea of a National Quantum Initiative and lobbied the U.S. Congress to pass it into law, resulting in large investments in the new, exciting field of quantum technology.

Michael's book list on quantum physics and quantum technology for beginners

Michael G. Raymer Why did Michael love this book?

The subtitle of this book is A Serious Comic on Entanglement. Normally I am not fond of comic-style presentations of physics (although I do love comics, as my Conan the Barbarian collection can attest). But I am happy to make an exception for this excellent book, written by a daughter-father team, the father being one of the leading philosophers of physics and the daughter being an artist and web designer. All the deep physics is there, presented in a fun, reader-friendly style. The acknowledgments section credits six ‘reviewers,’ ages 12 to 15, for reviewing and helping edit the book – now that’s inter-generational! 

By Tanya Bub, Jeffrey Bub,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An eccentric comic about the central mystery of quantum mechanics

Totally Random is a comic for the serious reader who wants to really understand the central mystery of quantum mechanics--entanglement: what it is, what it means, and what you can do with it.

Measure two entangled particles separately, and the outcomes are totally random. But compare the outcomes, and the particles seem as if they are instantaneously influencing each other at a distance-even if they are light-years apart. This, in a nutshell, is entanglement, and if it seems weird, then this book is for you. Totally Random is a graphic…