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Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  46 reviews
A must-have collection for comics fans and creators everywhere, packed with interviews and original comics by today’s foremost graphic novelists.

Respected anthologist Leonard S. Marcus turns his literary microscope to the world of comics, which has lately morphed and matured at a furious pace. Powerful influences from manga to the movies to underground comix have influence
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  121 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great authors/artists. Loved the fact that almost all of them answered "horses" when asked what they have a hard time drawing. ...more
I see the appeal for serious comics fans or those who are interested in the backend of comics or how to get into the business. Otherwise, the interview format isn't super appealing to casual readers, and there's no real narrative thread running through to keep a reader going forward. The introduction doesn't do it, and neither does the forward by Small (who, wow, was irritating about the fact critics discussed the classification of his book when it was nominated for the National Book Awards -- s ...more
Rebecca Clark
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a fab summary of comics history for newbies and enough detail and inspiration for people who want to know the inner workings of my fave artists. Cannot wait to share this with my GN Club!
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great group of creators, though I hope there's a sequel focusing on some of the creators conspicuous by their absence: Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, Matt and Jennifer Holm, Cece Bell, Noelle Stephenson, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, James Kochalka, Faith Erin Hicks, etc. Some of the editing on the interviews made them read a little awkwardly, but young readers probably won't care because they'll be too excited to be reading about their favorite creators. ...more
Sunah Chung
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, non-fiction
Comics/graphic novels are prominent literature to young adults in the contemporary era. Not only young adults but also adults who love reading graphic novels would love to read authors and illustrators’ stories about their career and graphic novels. In this book, interviews by thirteen authors and illustrators tell their stories to audiences in the form of print texts. It was interesting to read about favorite authors’ personal stories. For instance, Sara Varon, who wrote Robot Dreams, interview ...more
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Published in 2016. I would really love a sequel as the genre, comics, graphic novel, story form (what are we calling it exactly?) has really has exploded in the book publishing world. To this day there is a lot of debate about where to put graphic novels in a library.

I can’t pick a favorite of the interviews. I didn’t read them in order, but just opened up the book and read whatever profile jumped out at me. The first was Geoffrey Hayes. I found Toon books while looking for books to teach my da
Li Sifan(Liona)
Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box compiled and edited by Leonard Marcus in 2017. This book fully embodies the characteristics of non-fiction books: the theme is clear but the layout format is free. It’s a collection of interviews of 13 different graphic novelists and they each describe how they got into the business. More interestingly, they each discuss why they think there has been such a rise in popularity of the format and how they se ...more
Blake Norby
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Definitely not my typical pick, but I really enjoyed the format and subject. It's a collection of interviews of 13 different graphic novelists and they each describe how they got into the business. More interestingly, they each discuss why they think there has been such a rise in popularity of the format and how they see the evolution of it. Of course everyone paid tribute to Maus as paving the way for graphics other than superheroes. The best part of the book, though, was how each artist was gi ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen, children-s
middlegrade/teen nonfic-- interviews with a diverse bunch of leading artists/illustrators in the graphic book/webcomic format. I was expecting this to be told through more of the artists' work, in graphic format, but I guess they've probably already told a lot of those stories. Instead, we get to sit down and read conversations/interviews between the artists and the writer/editor (with samples of each artists' work). Recommended for kids/teens who are considering a similar career in this expandi ...more
Isaac Thomas
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I recommend this book for high school students who want to know how to break into the comic industry. Other than that, it's pretty lame. The questions were lame, and were presented in the most boring way possible. The interviews were generic questions that the authors/illustrators most likely responded to via email. You could find better interviews with most of these illustrators by Googling them. ...more
Emilia P
May 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comic-books
How can you make AMAZING cartoonists seem like a snooze? Ask them boring questions. Surround them with less amazing cartoonists. All I learned from this is that man Gene Luen Yang and Sara Varon. I love you guys. You are not boring. Mark Seigel, you....sigh. You're kind of a butt, but where would be without First Second? That's all. ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Okay. So this book, among other things, have convinced me to become a Graphic Novelist. All the interviews were semi-interesting and stuff, but I kind of wish there was more information on HOW the job got done. It was so cool to see all the different styles but also hear that many of the artists had the same ideas about comics.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Leonard Marcus interviews some of today's most popular children's and YA graphic novelists. I really enjoyed learning more about how these talented folks came to their careers. Includes an original comic from each. ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A series of thoughtful interviews of modern-day graphic novelists - artists and illustrators and storytellers from David Small to Gene Luen Yang. Fantastic.
Kevin Hodgson
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this inside look and realized how many of these writers I know from reading ....
Scott Robins
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Great line-up of creators interviewed in this book - started to get very same-y after a while though. I wish the questions were a little more idiosyncratic.
Edmund Davis-Quinn
Nice idea but there should have been a lot more on each writer. The profiles and the work seemed too limited.
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wasn't familiar with any of these author/artists but it was a fascinating way to learn about their process. ...more
Jun 04, 2020 rated it liked it
This wasn't the most amazing book in the world, but I read it because my oldest daughter thought I'd like it and because I needed something light after the heaviness of The Radium Girls. ...more
Nan Narboe
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
The structure of this book is ingenious. Each artist was given the prompt "The City," and each created a graphic response. That way, the reader can browse, and read an interview or not based on her interest in the sample of that artist's work.

Good interviews of lively people but I think it's this idea that most appeals to me.
COMICS CONFIDENTIAL: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box is a series of interviews with 13 comic artists speaking on all manner of subjects from first jobs and artistic techniques to childhood obsessions. Award-winning author, reviewer and essayist Leonard S. Marcus conducts and compiles the interviews. He speaks with artists like Hope Larsen, Sarah Varon, Danica Novgorodoff and Gene Luen Yang, perhaps the biggest name of the bunch. COMICS CONFIDENTIAL isn't an ...more
Sep 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Full disclosure: I won this book in a goodreads giveaway.

This book focuses on the writers of comics and the how or why they chose to pursue the profession. Each chapter includes an interview with a writer as well as a comic created by that writer based on the author's request to draw "the city". The interviews tend to cover similar material for each writer, making it easy to see how the writer's made decisions that led them down a similar path.

For individuals interested in pursuing a career in c
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting to learn how graphic novelists work and what brought them to the world of comics and graphics.
Sally Sugarman
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an informative and engaging book. Looking at thirteen graphic artists whose work is primarily for young people, Marcus interviewed them either in person or on the telephone, asking them about their experiences as children, how they got involved in becoming graphic novelists. Each artist then drew a two page graphic story on the theme of the city. Preliminary sketches of the works are also included so that the reader can get an idea of the process which the artists use. Among the interest ...more
McKenzie Richardson
I won a copy of this book from BookRiot.

This is a great book for comic and graphic novel lovers. Consisting of thirteen interviews and presented in question-answer format, this book gives some insight into creating graphic novels.
Each graphic novelist also created a short comic for the book around a central theme. I loved seeing all of the different styles of art included in the book.

The only real drawback for me with this book was that the question-answer format was a little boring to read at t
American Mensa
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it

This book is an intriguing look at thirteen comics and has inspired me to consider my own future as a writer. Leonard Marcus interviews these diverse comics and delves into their varied childhoods and work routines. It was fun to learn about each writer’s different routine and read about how they started writing comics. I would have to say my favorite part was hearing about each writer’s work routine. It made me feel better about not having a strict routine and valuing the space for cr
A collection of interviews with some of the biggest names working in comics. Each artist was tasked with creating an original comic centered on the theme of "the city," which they explain alongside their influences etc in their individual interviews.

The interviews read as much more appealing to librarians, teachers, artists, and children's literature enthusiasts as opposed to holding much appeal for kids.

I learned quite a bit about many writers/illustrators, and found the question asking each w
Mary Lee
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
My students will be able to find books by 6 of these 13 graphic novelists in my classroom. There are lots of authors/artists they'd love to read about in a second volume (hint hint): Matt and Jenni Holm, Jarrett Krosoczka, Raina Telgemeier, Doug TenNapel, Ben Hatke, Judd Winick, to name a few.

Each of these 13 interviews has a self portrait, begins with some version of "What were you like as a kid?", delves into the artist's creative process, and features a bit of their work. I think the intervie
Sep 21, 2016 rated it liked it
I think you might really have to be into graphic novels to enjoy this book. I got it on a whim, not having read lot of nonfiction books at the time and was a little disappointed by the format. This is a book where it's a series of questions and answers rather than essays written by the artists themselves.
A nice look into the world of graphic novels and the people who create them, but a little hard to read since it doesn't really flow. It was really nice to see examples of the artists work and I'
I'm not going to finish this one. I love the idea of it, and there are some great comic artists included, but the questions they're asked are pretty boring, and I found that after four or five of them they all kind of started to run together. I think I would have preferred more of a free-form format, where each artist could express themselves in a more individual kind of way, or if the questions had actually been a little more challenging. This might still be good for kids who are interested in ...more
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Leonard S. Marcus is one of the world's leading writers about children's books and their illustrations. His many books include The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy; Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy; Dear Genius; and others. His essays, interviews, and reviews appear in the New York Times Book Review, among other publications. Leonard S. Marcus lives in Br ...more

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