On my first trip to a comic shop as a complete novice, I asked where a person should start if they were completely new to the world of comics and graphic novels. After a quick crash course, the girl behind the counter handed me a book: Understanding Comics.
The book itself is a comic, and it explains in graphic format everything you need to know to fall in love with graphic literature. From ancient pictographs to superheroes to modern interpretations of the art, Understanding Comics brings to light a whole new world that is nothing like I thought it would be.
Novelists are tasked with creating images from words, but graphic novelists take on the greater challenge of telling a vivid and well-developed story from drawings. McCloud busts myths like "comics are for kids" and explores artistic styles, symbolism, expressing emotion though images, and the use of color among other hard-hitting topics. Understanding Comics is the perfect starting point, but avid collectors and readers of graphic literature will find a new understanding of the craft as well. The book is well put together, easy to understand, and McCloud's passion and creativity is inspiring. If you read it, make room on your bookshelf, because you'll want to get a stack of comics next. – Kitty Lusby