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'Graphic novels', long stories told in comics format, have enjoyed the fastest-growing sales of any category of book in the U.S. over the last four years. This modern renaissance of comics has produced a library of substantial works, whose subjects are not confined to superheroes or fantasy but are as varied and sophisticated as the best films and literature. 'Graphic Novels' presents an accessible, entertaining, and highly illustrated guide to the diversity of contemporary comics in book form. Featuring striking graphics and explanatory extracts from a wide range of graphic novels, the book examines the specific language of the comics medium; the history and pioneers of the form; recent masterpieces from Art Spiegelman's Maus to Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan; the impact of Japanese manga and European albums translated into English; how artists have overcome prejudices towards the genre; and the ambitious range of themes and issues artists are addressing, including childhood, war and survival, politics, the future, sexuality, and the supernatural.