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The Expanding Art of Comics - Ten Modern Masterpieces

The Expanding Art of Comics

Ten Modern Masterpieces

By Thierry Groensteen
Translated by Ann Miller
Hardcover : 9781496808028, 252 pages, 88 b&w illustrations, October 2017
Paperback : 9781496820129, 252 pages, 88 b&w illustrations, January 2019

An explication of master works by one of comics studies' most renowned scholars


In The Expanding Art of Comics: Ten Modern Masterpieces, prominent scholar Thierry Groensteen offers a distinct perspective on important evolutions in comics since the 1960s through close readings of ten seminal works. He covers over half a century of comics production, sampling a single work from the sixties (Ballad of the Salt Sea by Hugo Pratt), seventies (The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius by Moebius), eighties (Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons), and nineties (Epileptic by David B. ). Then this remarkable critic, scholar, and author of The System of Comics and Comics and Narration delves into recent masterpieces, such as Building Stories by Chris Ware.

Each of these books created an opening, achieved a breakthrough, offered a new narrative model, or took up an emerging tendency and perfected it. Groensteen recaptures the impact with which these works, each in its own way, broke with what had gone before. He regards comics as an expanding art, not only because groundbreaking works such as these are increasing in number, but also because it is an art that has only gradually become aware of its considerable potential and is unceasingly opening up new expressive terrain.


"Thierry Groensteen is undoubtedly the leading voice in comics theory of the last decades. This book is a wonderful opportunity to also discover his numerous close-reading skills and qualities. Groensteen's work has the ideal mix of theoretical framing and analytical sharpness, and his direct yet utterly precise style ideally matches his commitment to an art we'd better start writing with a capital A."

- Jan Baetens, professor of cultural studies at the University of Leuven and coauthor of The Graphic Novel: An Introduction

"Thierry Groensteen brings the eyes of a fierce critic to ten comics that should be on every reader's shelves. As one of the most acclaimed scholars and theorists of the ninth art, Groensteen in this exciting new translation turns his attention to the evolution of the form through the close reading of some of its most celebrated works: Watchmen, Epileptic, Fun Home, and more. Insightful, eclectic, and wide-ranging, Groensteen demonstrates once again why he is one of the most important comics scholars in the world."

- Bart Beaty, professor of English at the University of Calgary and author of Comics Versus Art