Graphic Works of Nonfiction: Background information when reading Seek You

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Seek You

A Journey Through American Loneliness

by Kristen Radtke

Seek You by Kristen Radtke X
Seek You by Kristen Radtke
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  • Published:
    Jul 2021, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rachel Hullett
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About this Book

Graphic Works of Nonfiction

This article relates to Seek You

Print Review

Although the term "graphic novel" implies works of fiction, lists of popular graphic novels are often dominated by memoirs and other nonfiction. You can find one such list here, and a short history of the genre here.

Since there is no widely used or non-cumbersome term for these books ("graphic works of nonfiction" probably coming the closest), they're often grouped in with fictional graphic novels. Titles like Maus by Art Spiegelman, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel — all memoirs — are some of the most popular "graphic novels" that come to mind when discussing the genre.

But there's also a wealth of graphic nonfiction outside of these noteworthy titles, covering a wide range of subgenres beyond memoir, including journalism, history and biography. Here are a few worth checking out.

The Black Panther Party coverThe Black Panther Party (2021)
by David F. Walker

Award-winning comic book writer David F. Walker tackles the history of the Black Panther Party in this graphic work, chronicling its 1966 inception in Oakland, California to its later years, focusing on the Party's conflict with the FBI and its enduring influence on American society.

March Book One coverMarch (2013-2016)
by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

In this graphic memoir told in a three-book series, congressman and activist John Lewis recalls growing up in the Jim Crow South, the experience that ignited his lifelong mission for racial equality. The series covers Lewis's activism in the 1960s, including his participation in sit-ins against segregation and his time as a Freedom Rider. Though it can be appreciated by all audiences, this is a great introduction of Lewis's legacy for teens and young adults.

Wake coverWake (2021)
by Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martinez

Another graphic general-nonfiction-meets-memoir akin to Kristen Radtke's Seek You, Wake is Rebecca Hall's story of researching the legacy of slavery and women-led slave revolts while writing her dissertation. As the granddaughter of enslaved people, this research was personal for Hall, and the art by Hugo Martinez juxtaposes images of her conducting her work alongside scenes from the historical events she uncovered.

Palestine coverPalestine (1993-1995)
by Joe Sacco

An influential piece of graphic nonfiction, Palestine is the result of the research that journalist Joe Sacco conducted when he lived in Gaza for two months in the 1990s. It was originally published as a series of comic books before being collected into one volume by Fantagraphics in 2001. Haunting and unforgettable, this work shines a light on the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the everyday plights of Palestinians.

Tetris coverTetris (2016)
by Brian "Box" Brown

Illustrated with stark, geometric images which mirror the look of a Tetris game, Brown's book Tetris: The Games People Play tells the story of the creation of Tetris by Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, contextualizing it within the wider history of 20th-century video game development.

Mary's Monster coverMary's Monster (2018)
by Lita Judge

Depicted in black and white watercolor illustrations, Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein is an unconventional biography of Mary Shelley, narrating how she came to write one of the most influential novels of all time. Written in verse, it is marketed as a young adult title and gives readers an understanding of the challenges faced by women during Shelley's time.

Filed under Reading Lists

Article by Rachel Hullett

This article relates to Seek You. It first ran in the September 8, 2021 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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