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Comics, Graphic Novels and Manga

Pratt's guide to sequential narrative art.

Welcome to Pratt's Guide to Comics, Graphic Novels and Manga!

Three panels from the comic Love and Rockets, showing the character Maggie drinking a soda.Detail from "The Return of Ray D," Love and Rockets #20 (1987).

The comics medium offers a unique form of communication where word and image combine to follow the exploits of characters through space and time...Its ostensibly "innocent" form allows for the dissemination and articulation of difficult ideas in an accessible manner, providing a platform for political and social commentary as well as a vehicle for escapism, introspection and deviance.

— Emma Mahoney, Introduction to Cult Fiction: Art and Comics

In this guide you will find resources related to comics and graphic novels available in the Pratt library collection. For those interested in reading more comics, the collection's materials are divided into pages that outline a rough chronology of the medium's development in the United States. The "History, Theory and Criticism" page collects scholarly research about narrative sequential art. Finally, those interested in creating their own comics should check out the "Resources for Creators" page.

Pratt's collection of Japanese manga is also covered in this guide; go here to begin learning about this unique form of sequential narrative art!

Pratt Comic Club

Cartoon image of an angler fish

A place for all comic-loving Pratt students to meet, share their work, play drawing games, learn about self-publishing, and collaborate! Members curate and edit Static Fish, an anthology of student work which has been printing up to three times a year since the 1980s. All Pratt students are encouraged to submit!

Essential Reading

The cover of Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Understanding Comics

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.

The cover of The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman, showing two anthropomorphic mice and a swastika.

The Complete Maus

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek's harrowing story of survival is woven into the author's account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits.

The cover of Watchmen by Alan Moore, depicting a yellow field with a splatter of blood.


This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.

The cover of Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, showing a notecard on a tray.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

It was not until college that author Alison Bechdel, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her distant and exacting father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

The cover of Black Hole by Charles Burns, showing a stark portrait in black and white.

Black Hole

Details the sexual and psychedelic misadventures of a group of teenagers, from their initiation into the grisly mysteries of Biology 101 through a summer in which some of their lives seem like science experiments gone awry, where intercourse can leave indelible mutations on the body.

The cover of The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, showing the author's family.

The Complete Persepolis

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution.

Staff Picks

The cover of On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden, showing a woman in a spaceship against a background of stars.

On a Sunbeam

In two interwoven timelines, a ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together; and two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love, only to learn the pain of loss.

The cover of Through the Wood by Emily Carroll, showing the sun setting over a dark woods.

Through the Woods

Discover a terrifying world in the woods in this collection of five hauntingly beautiful graphic stories that includes the online webcomic sensation “His Face All Red,” in print for the first time.

The cover of Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, showing a closeup of a face.


Presents the whole gamut of tortured teen life -- friends, love, depression, suicide, and cliques --through the eyes of Skim, a.k.a. Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a would-be Wiccan goth at a girls' academy in Toronto during the 1990s.

The cover of Hard Boiled by Frank Miller, showing a man in a suit, holding two guns.

Hard Boiled

Carl Seltz is a suburban insurance investigator, a loving husband, and devoted father. Nixon is a berserk, homicidal tax collector racking up mind-boggling body counts in a diseased urban slaughterhouse. Unit Four is the ultimate robot killing machine and the last hope of the future's enslaved mechanical servants. They're all the same psychotic entity.

The cover of Cyclopedia Exotica by Aminder Dhaliwol, showing a closeup of an eye.

Cyclopedia Exotica

In Cyclopedia Exotica, doctor's office waiting rooms, commercials, dog parks, and dating app screenshots capture the experiences and interior lives of the cyclops community; a largely immigrant population displaying physical differences from the majority.

The cover of Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli, showing a man smoking a cigarette.

Asterios Polyp

Asterios Polyp is an award-winning architect who's never built an actual building, and a pedant in the midst of a spiritual crisis. After the structure of his own life falls apart, he runs away to try to rebuild it into something new.

The cover of Blacklung by Chris Wright.


A bookish sixteenth century teacher is abducted into the crew of a pirates to serve as a scribe for the captain, a man who has made it his mission to commit as many acts of evil as possible in order to ensure that he meet his dead wife in hell. A strange, violent nightmare of a book.

The cover of Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware.

Jimmy Corrigan: the Smartest Kid on Earth

This first book from Chicago author Chris Ware is a pleasantly-decorated view at a lonely and emotionally-impaired "everyman" who is provided, at age 36, the opportunity to meet his father for the first time.

The cover of Gunnerkrigg Court volume 1 by Tom Siddell, showing a girl with red hair holding a cat.

Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1: Orientation

Antimony Carver is a precocious and preternaturally self-possessed young girl starting her first year of school at gloomy Gunnerkrigg Court, a very British boarding school that has robots running around along side body-snatching demons, forest gods, and the odd mythical creature.

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