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8 Reviews
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and comprehensive overview.
This really is a very good book and I'm going to recommend it to a librarian friend of mine who is responsible for selecting graphic novels for Sunderland City library.

Divided into 10 categories, each one has an introduction followed by the 10 most important titles and then the rest. Each title has a synopsis and brief critical appraisal, an age rating, a...
Published on 27 Aug. 2008 by Ian Williams

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Consistently poor critical judgement, especially if you want to be directed to the very best in the field.
This guide fails to deliver the fundamental requirements of any guide (especially one billed as 'ultimate') that you can trust its critical judgment and can learn from it. The guide is so large and comprehensive that everything good is in there somewhere, but I found that its assessments regularly diverged from both my own opinion (which is, of course, personal) and the...
Published on 22 Sept. 2010 by F. Marshall


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and comprehensive overview., 27 Aug. 2008
By 
Ian Williams "ianw" (Sunderland, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide (Paperback)
This really is a very good book and I'm going to recommend it to a librarian friend of mine who is responsible for selecting graphic novels for Sunderland City library.

Divided into 10 categories, each one has an introduction followed by the 10 most important titles and then the rest. Each title has a synopsis and brief critical appraisal, an age rating, a colour reproduction of the cover and, sometimes, samples of the artwork. The indexes are very useful being by: age range, writer, artist, and title.

As with all books of this type, you'll wonder why some titles were included and some of your own favourites weren't, but that's all part of the fun of reading it.

As for how effective it is, I've bought ten titles listed and only financial restraints have stopped me from ordering more. For the moment.

Highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Consistently poor critical judgement, especially if you want to be directed to the very best in the field., 22 Sept. 2010
By 
F. Marshall (Mid- Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide (Paperback)
This guide fails to deliver the fundamental requirements of any guide (especially one billed as 'ultimate') that you can trust its critical judgment and can learn from it. The guide is so large and comprehensive that everything good is in there somewhere, but I found that its assessments regularly diverged from both my own opinion (which is, of course, personal) and the wider consensus of graphic novel reviewers. For example Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan, the most awarded and critically acclaimed graphic novel since Maus receives lame criticsm ("needs a more interesting subject"). He gives it four out of five stars- as he also does the brilliant Black Hole by Charles Burns. So Kannenberg gives two books that are constantly on the lists of the top ten graphic novels lower marks than many mundane commercial superhero comics and the same number of stars as many works that will rapidly disappear and be forgotten. No doubt Kannenberg is trying to assert the independence of his personal assessment- but this is not much use if he misleads the reader.

Kannenberg also has a poor visual sense, consistently rating storyline over art and rating comics with very poor art and undervaluing comics that diverge from a mainstream commercial art style. His comments rarely provide any useful insight or perspective and he seems unable to assess any work within the history of the medium.

This book is useful as a comprehensive summary the graphic novels on the market. However if you want guidance and to be directed towards the very best in the field you would be much better served by Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life by Paul Gravett.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference for Graphic Novel lovers, 16 April 2012
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This review is from: 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide (Paperback)
A great book if you are a lover of graphic novels and would like a reference to guide you or give you ideas of what more you would like to buy.
It is helpful in the brief descriptions it gives and is great for list making on future purchases. Good for beginners to learn more about previous titles in the discipline. The reviews are a little biased but is not hard to dismiss something you disagree with and think for yourself. The book is divided into different subsections like humour/fantasy/fiction/crime etc. Worth the money, very enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book as objet rather than working tool, 10 Feb. 2015
This review is from: 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide (Paperback)
How good is this really? Very English-language-centred (yet with space for no fewer than THREE Satrapis) but no Wonder Wart Hog? Is the problem around that phrase 'graphic novel', in its way as tendentious as 'comic'? And yet.. no Rutu Modan? An improvement on the preposterous 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die, many of which aren't in English and some of which aren't even comics - at least the reproductions here are a sensible size - but not honestly much of one. And sure, compilers are allowed their favourites - and maybe Little Orphan Annie, Dick Tacy and Gasoline Alley have had their day - though two of them are STILL RUNNING - but.. no Al Capp? No Gary Trudeau? Arguably the two greatest strips of the century, Li'l Abner and Doonesbury are certainly in the top half dozen. But Edward Gorey? a graphic novelist?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good reference, 25 Sept. 2009
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This review is from: 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide (Paperback)
If, like me, you're relatively new to the world of graphic novels you'll find this a solid, comprehensive introduction to the subject.

There are some omissions that some might find surprising (no 'David Boring' for example, rated as the best graphic novel by some) but you can't please everyone. This book has introduced me to a number of excellent comic series that might have otherwise passed me buy. I have a lot to thank it for.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent essentials, 23 Jan. 2010
By 
P. M. Daniels (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide (Paperback)
This is a great compilation of the cannon of popular graphic literature, with a colour cover image and short written overview for all the novels and occasional excerpts of the storyboard artwork. Very educational and enjoyable if you are wanting to expand your collection of graphic novels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible, 16 Oct. 2010
By 
Jo Bennie (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide (Paperback)
A definitive book that I will buy for myself and keep and dip into whenever I want inspiration for what graphic novels and comics to order from the library and buy for myself, a brilliant selection divided into easy to use categories with a simple scoring and age suitability system.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Way to Start, 17 Jun. 2009
By 
J. Morton (Blighty) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide (Paperback)
When I bought this book I didn't really know what it was going to be like. It's turned out to be a great buy. It has handy sections on different genres of graphic novels - not just caped heroes - there's non-fiction, war and humour among others. The reviews are well written, detailed and not uncritical and the result of reading this book for me is that I'm expanding my collection in directions I hadn't considered or wasn't really aware of before.
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500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide
500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide by Gene Kannenberg Jnr. (Paperback - 14 July 2008)
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