Gateway Graphic Novels for Teens – The Creation of a Virtual Display

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I created a “Gateway Graphic Novels” display that will guide new teen graphic novel readers towards highly engaging items, and will likely spark a further interest in the genre. The target audience of my display is teens aged 15-19, however, many younger teens and adults will also benefit from it. Graphic novel collections are becoming a more prominent part of public libraries. Since the popularity of the genre is relatively recent, any graphic novel collection may overwhelm patrons who have little familiarity with the contents. The readers advisory display I designed will guide teens towards graphic novels that are highly engaging and representative of the genre, according to the type of story the patron is already comfortable with (action/adventure, romance, horror, comedy, or modern fairy tales). It shows patrons that there are many different kinds of graphic books – above and beyond the traditional superhero genre. Readers  who don’t know where to start with graphic novels, or who haven’t yet explored all the different types will find useful advice in this display.

The biggest challenge of designing this display was deciding whether to go for exhaustivity or specificity. Should I recommend only 3 graphic novels, but include a brief synopsis and description of appeal factors? Or should I recommend many graphic novels, spanning a number of different genres? While I can see the advantage of a highly specific display, I decided that a quick recommendation would be more useful for teenagers in a public library setting. Because of the exhaustivity of the display, any teenager who is interested in graphic novels will likely see at least one title that catches his or her eye. Since my goal is to introduce “gateway” items to patrons who have not yet developed a passion for graphic novels, I decided to choose an approach that requires very little attention, and hopefully inspires more interest and excitement. The display not only acts as a recommendation for the specific items, but a recommendation for the entire graphic novel collection.

Are there any graphic novels you’d recommend to new readers of the genre? As always, feel free to contact me to let me know what you think, or leave a comment.

Items Featured on the Display

Action / Adventure
Watchmen by Alan Moore
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
Batman Year One by Frank Miller

Blankets  by Craig Thompson
The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen

Black Hole by Charles Burns

Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Modern Fairytales
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

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