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Born in Paris, Françoise Mouly studied architecture at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, and moved to New York in 1974. She founded Raw Books & Graphics in 1977 and[…]

New to graphic novels? RAW co-founder Francoise Mouly has some suggestions for you.

Question: What graphic novels would you recommend to someone new to the form?


Francoise Mouly: It’s a great time to discover comics, graphic novels, because there’s so many really good books. Joe Sacco’s book just got published. It got published at the end of the year, so it hasn’t quite gotten the full recognition that it deserves. Last year "Asterios Polyp" by David Mazzucchelli, who we published in RAW many years ago, but also spent like 10 or 15 years working on that book and now has it out and that’s terrific. Bob Sikoryak or R. Sikoryak who used to be one of our assistant editors at RAW Magazine just published "Masterpiece Comics," also I think from Drawn & Quarterly. That’s a beautiful book. In a month or two Drawn & Quarterly will release a new book by Dan Clowes that’s fantastic. Art published a re-edition of "Breakdowns" with some new material that’s really interesting I think, totally objectively even though I’m married to the man, but it’s both the experimental strips that he did in the ‘70s and strips that he just did that actually looks back on both growing up and little anecdotes about his childhood and the kind of thinking that was breakthrough thinking then, was the… what unlocked the possibilities for Maus and now being recombined for narrative. Those moments are very exciting because Maus was a memoir and it was black and white, completely different from anything that had existed since then. It gave way to books such as Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, an Iranian young woman who came to Vienna and then to France and did a memoir about growing up in Iran and that got turned into a movie. All of those books are books that have taken a long time to mature. I think Joe Sacco spent like five years only on his Gaza, "Footnotes in Gaza" book, so now they are coming out one at a time and they each deserve a lot of… They’re great. For somebody who is coming into comics now those volumes are so rich in visual ideas, in storytelling and they’re very mature works.

Recorded on January 26, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen