"...a tour de force of the world of comics, from high-minded graphic novels to Superman..." New York Times The massive impact that comics have had on our culture becomes more and more clear every day, from the critically acclaimed musical Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel's groundbreaking comic, to the dozens of superhero films hitting cinemas every year. What is it that makes comics so special? What can this unique art form do that others can't? In Why Comics?, comics scholar Hillary Chute reveals the history of comics, underground comics (or comix), and graphic novels, through deep thematic analysis, and fascinating portraits of the fearless men and women behind them. As Scott McCloud revealed the methods behind comics and the way they worked in his classic Understanding Comics, Chute will reveal the themes that Comics handle best, and how the form is uniquely equipped to explore them. The topics Why Comics? include: * Why Disaster: with such major works focusing on disasters, from Art Spiegelman's work, which covers the Holocaust and 9/11 to Keiji Nakazawa's work covering Heroshima, comics find themselves uniquely suited to convey the scale and disorientation of disaster. * Why Suburbs: through the work of Chris Ware and Charles Burns, Chute reveals the fascinating ways that Comics illustrate the quiet joys and struggles of suburban existence. * Why Punk: With an emphasis on DIY aesthetics and rebelling against what came before, the Punk movement would prove to be a fertile ground for some of the most significant modern cartoonists, creating a truly democratic art form. Chute has created an indispensable guide to comics for those new to the genre, or those who want to understand more about what lies behind their favorite works.