Graphic Novels & Comix History

Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.



   
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Are You My Mother?
A Comic Drama
Alison Bechdel
Pretty heady stuff going on here as Bechdel cross-examines her childhood to consider how she was affected by a smart, artistic, but emotionally-removed mother, and a repressed, angry father. If you don't regularly gravitate towards graphic novels, but love memoirs, this might be the ideal book for you to get a sense of the amazing genre.
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The Beats
A Graphic History
Paul Buhle, Harvey Pekar
I've read a lot of Beat books in my time here at City Lights, but none are quite as fun as this graphic history. The perfect collection for those who think they've heard all the stories about Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, et al. The Beats also provides...
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Black Hole
Charles Burns
This is a beautifully drawn and eerie novel set in the 1970s. Seattle teens get a disease that transforms them into mutants. Their battle against this and other more normal high school situations, makes for a frighteningly good read.
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Che
A Graphic Biography
Spain Rodriguez
A graphic biography of the most iconic revolutionary figure of the twentieth century. Since his death in 1967, Ernesto "Che" Guevara has become a universally known revolutionary icon and political figure whose image is among the most recognizable in...
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City of Clowns
Daniel Alarcón
A gorgeously rendered graphic novel of Daniel Alarcón's story City of Clowns. Oscar "Chino" Uribe is a young Peruvian journalist for a local tabloid paper. After the recent death of his philandering father, he must confront the idea of his father’s other family, and how much of his own identity has been shaped by his father’s murky morals.
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The Complete Zap Comix
Box Set
R. Crumb
This is a more-than-complete collection (it includes the unpublished 17th issue!) of the quintessential underground comic book. There scarcely was an underground comics world before Robert Crumb's classic solo first issue ofZap. By Zap #2, he had begun assembling a Seven Samurai of the best...
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The Diary of a Teenage Girl
An Account in Words and Pictures, Revised Edition
Phoebe Gloeckner
"I don't remember being born. I was a very ugly child. My appearance has not improved so I guess it was a lucky break when he was attracted by my youthfulness." So begins the wrenching diary of Minnie Goetze, a fifteen-year-old girl longing for love and acceptance and struggling with her own precocious sexuality.
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Fun Home
A Family Tragicomic
Alison Bechdel
Award-winning comics artist Alison Bechdel has been known for decades as "one of the best, one to watch out for," in the words of Harvey Pekar. Her latest work-the groundbreaking, genre-busting, best-selling graphic narrative Fun Home-has established...
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The Great War
July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme
Joe Sacco
From "the heir to R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman" (Economist) comes a monumental, wordless depiction of the most infamous day of World War I. Launched on July 1, 1916, the Battle of the Somme has come to epitomize the madness of the First World War. Almost 20,000 British soldiers were killed and another 40,000 were wounded that first day, and...
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Here
Richard McGuire
A beautiful exploration of a single place through time, from void to form to void again. Go ahead, open to a page, any page... —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books Also recommended by Paul, City Lights Books
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Hip Hop Family Tree 1
1970s-1981
Ed Piskor
This is a well-documented history of the beginnings of hip hop. Beautifully drawn in Old School comic form; hilariously written and sharply dissected. Open to any page and you'll be hooked. New York City, DJs and graffiti in the late 70s? You can't beat it, because "the beat don't stop til the break of dawn!"—Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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Hip Hop Family Tree 2
1981-83
Ed Piskor
The second installment of this acclaimed graphic novel hip-hop history (originally serialized on the popular website Boingboing) covers the years 1981-1983. Covering the early years of 1981-1983, Hip Hop has made a big transition from the parks and rec rooms to downtown clubs and vinyl records.
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Hip Hop Family Tree 3
1983-1984
Ed Piskor
The third volume of the popular webcomic tells the true story of hip-hoppers The Beastie Boys, Run DMC, The Fat Boys, and many more. Ed Piskor's acclaimed graphic novel series continues! Book 3 highlights Run DMC's rise to fame and introduces unassailable acts like Whodini, The Fat Boys, Slick Rick, and Doug E Fresh.
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Hyperbole and a Half
Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
Allie Brosh
READ ALL THE THINGS!!!!! —Recommended by Anah, City Lights Books. This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative— like maybe someone who isn't me wrote it...

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