8 graphic novels that are also biographies

Stories of extraordinary lives, told in pictures
biographies graphic-novels drawn-novels painted-words
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Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography

by Chester Brown

About the book:  "It has the thoroughness of a history book yet reads with the personalized vision of a novel." –TimeChester Brown reinvents the comic-book medium to create the critically acclaimed historical biography Louis Riel, winning the Harvey Awards for best writing and best graphic novel for his compelling, meticulous, and dispassionate retelling of the charismatic, and perhaps insane, nineteenth-century Métis leader. Brown coolly documents with dramatic subtlety the violent rebellion on the Canadian prairie led by Riel, who some regard a martyr who died in the name of freedom, while others consider him a treacherous murderer.


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Thoreau at Walden

by John Porcellino

About the book:  “I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one’s self on this earth is not a hardship, but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely.” So said Henry David Thoreau in 1845 when he began his famous experiment in living on Walden Pond. In this graphic masterpiece, John Porcellino uses only the words of Thoreau himself to tell the story of those two years off the beaten track. The pared-down text focuses on Thoreau’s most profound ideas, and Porcellino’s fresh, simple pictures bring the philosopher’s sojourn at Walden to cinematic life. For readers who know Walden intimately, this graphic treatment will provide a vivid new interpretation of Thoreau’s story. For those who have never read (or never completed!) the original, it presents a contemporary look at a few brave words to live by. 


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Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography

by Sabrina Jones,Paul Buhle

About the book:  Myth and controversy still swirl around the dramatic figure of Isadora Duncan. The pioneering modern dancer emerged from provincial nineteenth-century America to captivate the cultural capitals of Europe, reinvent dance as a fine art, and leave a trail of scandals in her wake. From her unconventional California girlhood to her tragic death on the French Riviera fifty years later, Duncan's journey was an uncompromising quest for truth, beauty, and freedom. Here Duncan's art and ideas come vividly to life. Each page is a unique dance of words and images, reflecting Duncan's courage, passion, and idealism in a way sure to inspire another generation of admirers.


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Gandhi: A Manga Biography

by Kazuki Ebine

About the book:  Through his quietly powerful leadership and influential use of nonviolent resistance in India's struggle against the British Raj, Mahatma Gandhi became one of the most revered figures of the modern era. While history has recorded Gandhi's words and deeds, the man himself has been eclipsed by maxims of virtuosity that seem to have little resonance in our everyday lives. In Gandhi, the third volume in our exciting new manga biography series, created in conjunction with Emotional Content, Kazuki Ebine combines a gripping narrative with stunning illustrations to share Gandhi's inspiring and deeply human story with a whole new generation of readers. Developed in conjunction with Emotional Content.


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Che: A Graphic Biography

by Sid Jacobson,Ernie Colón

About the book:  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 the world. This dramatic and extensively researched book breathes new life into his story, portraying his struggle through the medium of the underground political comic—one of the most prominent countercultural art forms since the 1960s. Spain Rodriguez’s powerful artwork illuminates Che’s life and the experiences that shaped him, from his motorcycle journey through Latin America, his rise to prominence as a leader in Fidel Castro’s revolutionary movement, his travels in Africa, his involvement in the insurgency that led to his death in Bolivia, and his extraordinary legacy.


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Trotsky: A Graphic Biography

by Rick Geary

About the book:  Trotsky was a hero to some, a ruthless demon to others. To Stalin, he was such a threat that he warranted murder by pickax. This polarizing figure set up a world conflict that lasted through the twentieth century, and in Trotsky: A Graphic Biography, the renowned comic artist Rick Geary uses his distinct style to depict the stark reality of the man and his times. Trotsky's life becomes a guide to the creation of the Soviet Union, the horrors of World War I, and the establishment of international communism as he, Lenin, and their fellow Bolsheviks rise from persecution and a life underground to the height of political power. Ranging from his boyhood in the Ukraine to his fallout with Stalin and his moonlight romance with Frida Kahlo, Trotsky is a stunning look at one of the twentieth century's most important thinkers and the far-reaching political trends that he launched.


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Feynman

by Richard P. Feynman,Ralph Leighton

About the book:  A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERRichard Feynman: physicist . . . Nobel winner . . . bestselling author . . . safe-cracker. In this substantial graphic novel biography, First Second presents the larger-than-life exploits of Nobel-winning quantum physicist, adventurer, musician, world-class raconteur, and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century: Richard Feynman. Written by nonfiction comics mainstay Jim Ottaviani and brilliantly illustrated by First Second author Leland Myrick, Feynman tells the story of the great man's life from his childhood in Long Island to his work on the Manhattan Project and the Challenger disaster. Ottaviani tackles the bad with the good, leaving the reader delighted by Feynman's exuberant life and staggered at the loss humanity suffered with his death. Anyone who ever wanted to know more about Richard P. Feynman, quantum electrodynamics, the fine art of the bongo drums, the outrageously obscure nation of Tuva, or the development and popularization of the field of physics in the United States need look no further than this rich and joyful work.One of School Library Journal's Best Adult Books 4 Teens titles of 2011 One of Horn Book's Best Nonfiction Books of 2011


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Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story

by Peter Bagge

About the book:  The alternative-comics master offers an indelible and idiosyncratic take on the protofeminist"[Woman Rebel] is fine work from an excellent cartoonist and I urge you to jump right in."-Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter, from his introduction Peter Bagge's Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story is a dazzling and accessible biography of the social and political maverick, jam-packed with fact and fun. In his signature cartoony, rubbery style, Bagge presents the life of the birth-control activist, educator, nurse, mother, and protofeminist from her birth in the late nineteenth century to her death after the invention of the birth control pill. Balancing humor and respect, Bagge makes Sanger whole and human, showing how her flaws fueled her fiery activism just as much as her compassionate nature did. Sanger's life takes on a whole new vivacity as Bagge creates a fast-paced portrait of a trailblazer whose legacy as the founder of Planned Parenthood is still incredibly relevant, important, and inspiring.


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