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Personal canon

This is an initial listing of memoir writers that I will be looking at. This list will grow and no doubt change as I learn more and my context grows more focused. 

Craig Thompson


Craig Thompson’s 582 page graphic novel Blankets is a multi-layered narrative dealing with first love, identity, childhood memories (good and bad), family structures dissolving, ethnicity and the conflict of a passionate artist struggling to adhere to religious dogma.

Danny Gregory

Danny Gregory- Everyday Matters- 2

Danny Gregory’s Everyday Matters is a sketchbook and dia

ry that begins with his wife suffering a terrible accident that leaves her paralysed.  This event leads to him to attempt to see the world anew, through the eyes of an artist, as an means of dealing with the situation.  His visual diary has no real structure and limited narrative, mostly being comprised of random sketches of places, people and objects, with handwritten text layered throughout.

 Ariel Schrag

ariel schrag page

Ariel Schrag’s graphic novels Awkward, Definition, Potential and Likewise focus on events in her life through middle and high school as a young woman searching for self, and eventually realising and acting upon her feelings for other women.  Not only does it accurately and painfully depict the problems of youth, it also gives insight into the mind of someone struggling with a sense of sexual identity.

Art Spiegelman


Art Speigleman’s Maus is comprised of two biographical graphic novels, detailing a personal story directly affected by the German-Jewish Holocaust of World War Two.  Secondary themes are the inability of a son to relate to his father, and the struggle of an artist to work on such a sensitive topic.  Many academics have analysed this work and it is famous for its clever use of anthropomorphism, symbolism and artistic style.

James Kolchaka

american elf introduction

James Kolchaka’s American Elf is a daily diary web-comic that ran from October 1998 to December 31st 2012.  It ordinarily uses a basic four panel layout and deals with events of the day.  There is no structured narrative, the author is not working with an omniscient knowledge of the future and so each entry is focused very much on the present moment.  Themes and topics are wildly varied, ranging from the simple and mundane acts of everyday life, to darker issues such as the World Trade Centre disaster.

Harvey Pekar

Harvey pekar 11

Harvey Pekar spearheaded the ‘mundane’ autobiographical comics movement in the 1980’s with his comic book series American Splendor.  He created these stories as a response to what he saw as an inadequacy of quality storytelling found within mainstream comics, and believed that the medium was capable of much greater things.  A paranoid, neurotic Jew, Harvey used a variety artists to tell his stories, and the range of his output was incredibly diverse.  Ordinarily he would be depicted as the present-day narrator, and give the accounts of events from his life in his own unique way of speaking.  These events were often what would ordinarily be considered extremely private issues, and his candor and honesty has inspired a legion of creators to follow suit.