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Comics as Literature

In 1992, the comic book world found itself in unprecedented territory when Art Spiegelman won the Pulitzer Prize for his stunning Holocaust survival story, Maus. Since that watershed event, the mainstream acceptance of comics and graphic novels has only grown. Recently, comics and graphic novels have attained a new level of literary acceptance and acclaim. Recognition from such respectable outlets as the National Book Foundation, TIME Magazine, Booklist, Library Journal, NPR and Publishers Weekly — as well as countless awards — has proven the merit of comics and graphic novels as a literary form.

Some award-winning and critically acclaimed comics include:

 

Alabaster: Wolves by Caitlin R. Kiernan (Dark Horse Comics)
Winner of the Bram Stoker Award (Best Graphic Novel category) for 2013

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for 2007

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland (DC Comics)
Winner of the Harvey Award for 1988

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson (DC Comics)
Winner of the Kirby Award (Best Graphic Album category) for 1987

Batman: War on Crime by Paul Dini and Alex Ross (DC Comics)
Winner of the Harvey Award (Best Graphic Album of Original Work category) for 2000

Beowulf (First Comics)
Winner of the Kirby Award (Best Graphic Album category) for 1985

Black Hole by Charles Burns (Pantheon)
Winner of the Ignatz Award (Outstanding Anthology or Collection category) for 2006 

Blankets by Craig Thompson (Top Shelf Productions)
Winner of the Ignatz Award (Outstanding Graphic Novel category) for 2004 
Winner of the Harvey Award (Best Graphic Album of Original Work) for 2004

Cages by Dave McKean (Kitchen Sink)
Winner of Ignatz Award (Outstanding Graphic Novel category) for 1999

The Cartoon History of the Univers III: From the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance by Larry Gonick (W.W. Norton) 
Winner of the Harvey Award (Best Graphic Album of Original Work category) for 2003

Demon by Jason Shiga (First Second)
Winner of the Eisner Award (Best Graphic Album - Reprint) for 2017

Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man by John Porcellino (La Mano)
Winner of the Ignatz Award (Outstanding Anthology or Collection) for 2005

Digger by Ursula Vernon (Sofawolf Press)
Winner of the Hugo Award (Best Graphic Story category) 2012

Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown (Vortex)
Winner of the Harvey Award (Best Graphic Album category) for 1990

El Deafo by Cece Bell (Harry N. Abrams)
Winner of the American Library Association's Newbery Medal for 2015

Essex County: Tales from the Farm by Jeff Lemire (Top Shelf Productions)
Winner of the American Library Association's Alex Award for 2008

Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde and P. Craig Russell (NBM Publishing)

Winner of the Harvey Award (Best Graphic Album of Original Work category) for 1993

Fax from Sarajevo by Joe Kubert (Dark Horse Comics)
Winner of the Harvey Award (Best Graphic Album of Original Work category) for 1997

From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (Eddie Campbell Comics, Top Shelf Productions)
Winner of the Ignatz Award (Outstanding Graphic Novel category) for 2000

Fun Home: A Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin)
Time Magazine's Best Book of 2006

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes (Fantagraphics)
Winner of the Ignatz Award (Outstanding Graphic Novel category) for 1998

Ghosts by Raina Telgemier (Graphix)
Winner of the Dwayne McDuffie for Kids' Comics Award for 2017

Girl Genius, Vol 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones by Kaja & Phil Foglio (Studio Foglio)
Winner of the Hugo Award (Best Graphic Novel category) for 2009

Girl Genius, Vol 9: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm by Kaja & Phil Foglio (Studio Foglio)
Winner of the Hugo Award (Best Graphic Story category) for 2010

Girl Genius, Vol 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Nyse by Kaja & Phil Foglio (Studio Foglio)
Winner of the Hugo Award (Best Graphic Story category) for 2011

The Golem's Mighty Swing by James Strum (Drawn & Quarterly)
Winner of the Harvey Award (Best Graphic Album of Original Work category) for 2002

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis (Harry N. Abrams)
Winner of SEE-It Award for 2017

It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken by Seth (Drawn & Quarterly)
Winner of the Ignatz Award (Oustanding Graphic Novel category) for 1997 

Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware (Pantheon)
Winner of the Guardian First Book Award for 2011

Kolchak The Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe by James Chambers, Luis Czerniawski, Felipe Kroll, Jim Fern, and E. M. Gist (Moonstone Publishing)
Winner of the Bram Stoker Award (Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel) for 2017

Last Day in Vietnam by Will Eisner (Dark Horse Comics/Maverick)
Winner of the Harvey Award (Best Graphic Album of Original Work category) for 2001

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol 1 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill (DC Comics)
Winner of the Bram Stoker Award (Best Illustrated Narrative category) for 2000 

March: Book Three by John Lewis (Top Shelf Productions)
National Book Award winner for 2016
Winner of the Cybils Award for 2016
Winner of the Eisner Award (Best Reality-Based Work) for 2017
Winner of the Glyph Award (Story of the Year) for 2017

Maus, A Survivor's Tale — My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman (RAW Books and Graphics)
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for 1992

Neonomicon by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows (Avatar Press)
Winner of the Bram Stoker Award (Best Graphic Novel category) for 2011

Our Cancer Year by Harvey Pekar, Joyce Brabner and Frank Stack (Four Walls Eight Windows)
Winner of the Harvey Award (Best Graphic Album of Original Work category) for 1995

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon)
Winner of the American Library Association's Alex Award for 2004

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi (Patheon)
Winner of the Ignatz Award (Outstanding Graphic Novel category) for 2005

The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens (Eclipse)
Winner of the Kirby Award (Best Graphic Album category) for 1986

Roller Girl by Victoria Jaimeson (Dial Books)
Winner of the American Library Association's Newbery Medal for 2016

Saga, Volume One by Brian K. Vaughn (Image Comics)
Winner of the Hugo Award (Best Graphic Story category) for 2013
Winner of the Eisner Award (Best Continuing Series) for 2017

Same Difference and Other Stories by Derek Kirk Kim (Self-published) 
Winner of the Ignatz Award (Promising New Talent category) for 2003

The Sandman: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess (Vertigo)
Winner of the World Fantasy Award (Best Short Fiction category) for 1991

The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)
Winner of the Bram Stoker Award (Best Illustrated Narrative category) for 2003

Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse (Paradox)
Winner of the Harvey Award for 1996 

Superman: Peace on Earth by Alex Ross (DC Comics)
Winner of the Harvey Award 1999

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
Winner of the American Library Association's Caldecott Medal for 2015

Three Fingers by Rich Koslowski (Top Shelf Productions)
Winner of the Ignatz Award (Outstanding Graphic Novel category) for 2003 

To the Heart of the Storm by Will Eisner (Kitchen Sink Press)
Winner of the Harvey Award for 1992

Tricked by Alex Robinson (Top Shelf Productions)
Winner of the Ignatz Award (Outstanding Graphic Novel category) for 2006

Upgrade Soul by Ezra Claytan Daniels 
Winner of the Dwyane McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics for 2017

Watchmen by Alan Moore and David Gibbons (DC Comics)
Winner of the Hugo Award (Other Forms category) for 1988

Why I Hate Saturn by Kyle Baker (Piranha Press)
Winner of the Harvey Award 1991 

Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times by Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton (McFarland)
Winner of the Bram Stoker Award (Best Graphic Novel category) for 2012

Wonder Woman: The True Amazon by Jill Thompson (DC Entertainment)
Winner of the Esiner Award (Best Graphic Album - New) for 201

The Woods by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas (BOOM! Studios)
Winner of the GLAAD Award (Outstanding Comic Book) for 2017

You Are Here by Kyle Baker (Paradox)
Winner of the Harvey Award for 1999