Notable Graphic Novels Review

The ARLIS/NA Notable Graphic Novels Reviews are available via the ARLIS/NA Commons.

Notable Graphic Novels Review

Reviews for 2016 and 2017 titles may be found on the Graphic Novels, Comics, and Zines Special Interest Group's blog.

Graphic Novels, Comics, and Zines SIG Blog


This publication is created each year from the results of two polls administered through the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) listserv and the ARLIS/NA Graphic Novels, Comics, and Zines Special Interest Group listserv. In February, active members of ARLIS/NA are asked to nominate graphic novels published in the previous calendar year that they believe are “innovative, memorable, or significant in the field, especially in terms of their artwork.” In March, ARLIS/NA members are then asked, via the listservs, to vote on their top ten from the nominees generated by the first poll. Reviews are solicited by the editors and written by volunteer ARLIS/NA members. Each year’s list is usually published by June or July.

For the purpose of this publication, we define graphic novel as as a form of sequential art that typically integrates image and text in book form; genre and exact length vary. It can be a collection of comic issues originally published as comic books or a standalone publication.

The primary objective of this list is to acknowledge and celebrate the craft of sequential art from the last year by tapping into the experience and love of this medium from ARLIS/NA members. As a result, this annual publication can assist (art) library workers in improving their own institutional collections of graphic novels by providing summaries, critical evaluations, and informed recommendations.

For Reviewers

Notable Graphic Novels Reviews highlights ten graphic novels deemed notable by the ARLIS/NA community and includes brief summaries, commentary on artwork, and recommendations for purchase. 

You must be a current ARLIS/NA member in good standing, preferably a member of the Graphic Novels, Comics, and Zines Special Interest Group, to be considered for a review assignment. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Notable Graphic Novels Reviews Guidelines, Policies, and Submission Procedures.

Reviewer Guidelines

Reviewers will be expected to provide a brief spoiler-free summary of the story line. Reviews should focus primarily on discussing the assigned title’s artistic, cultural, and social significance. Please do not just provide a synopsis. Reviewers should conclude by providing recommendations for purchase based on certain user groups, library types, etc. 

Word Count

Each review should be between 250 and 300 words.

Quick Tips
  • Numbers one through ninety-nine are spelled out; thereafter use Arabic numerals
  • Gender-neutral phrasing is preferred
  • All titles of publications should be italicized, not underlined
  • Avoid the use of footnotes and/or endnotes
  • The Chicago Manual of Style should be consulted to resolve grammar and style questions
  • Use 12 pt. Times New Roman or other common typefaces. The editors will format your review for the final document
  • Submit your review in a Word document or Google Doc, if possible. Contact co-editors if you need to use a different word processor
  • Reviews which do not meet standards for content or length will be edited by the review editors or may be returned to the reviewer for revision
Review Policies
  • All reviewers are required to complete the Publication Agreement Form for each published review
  • Reviewers must be able to complete their reviews in the time period assigned to them by the Notable Graphic Novel Review co-editors; if a submission is received after an assigned deadline, the co-editors reserve the right not to include the review in the given publication cycle
  • Reviews are not to exceed 250 words unless special arrangements have been made by the co-editors
  • Reviews should start with either a bibliographic citation or title
  • Reviews will be attributed to the reviewer and include their title, place of employment, and contact information (if provided). An example follows:
    • John Jones, Bibliographer
    • Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art​
  • Co-editors reserve the right to not publish a submitted review if it does not adhere to the stated guidelines sufficiently in advance of issue publication. 

Author / Creator Responses to Reviews: An author or publisher may respond to a Notable Graphic Novels Review within six weeks of publication of the review. Reviewer responses should be limited to factual statements and corrections and may run no longer than 200 words.The co-editors retain the right to refuse publication of all or part of the response in the case of inappropriate statements such as slander and verifiable mistruths. Upon receipt of a response, the co-editors will notify the reviewer who will be given the opportunity to draft a response of no more than 200 words due two weeks from the date of receipt. 

If the reviewer chooses not to respond, the author or publisher’s response will be posted on the Notable Graphic Novels Review website. If the reviewer submits a response, the co-editors retain the right to refuse publication of said response in the case of inappropriate statements, and may choose to publish only the author or publisher’s response. Upon acceptance of both responses the co-editors will post both the response and the reviewer’s response simultaneously on the Notable Graphic Novels Review website. No further responses will be solicited or accepted.

Editing & Publication

All reviews will be edited by the Notable Graphic Novels Review co-editors who make all final editorial decisions. Reviewers will be able to preview their edited review before it is published. 

Authors of reviews accepted for publication are required to submit a publication agreement form.

Notable Graphic Novels Review Editors

  • Tara S. Smith

    Tara S. Smith

    Open Licenses Librarian, Arts & Humanities Instruction Team Librarian

    Notable Graphic Novels Review Co-Editor

  • Giana Ricci

    Giana Ricci

    Librarian for the Fine Arts

    Notable Graphic Novels Review Co-Editor