BAM! It’s a Picture Book: The Art behind Graphic Novels opened at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) in the fall of 2013. This exhibition features today’s leading and best graphic novelists of the illustration world: Mark Crilley, Matthew Holm, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Lincoln Peirce and Raina Telgemeier. On display is artwork from iconic books such as Baby Mouse, Big Nate, Lunch Lady, Brody’s Ghost and Smile. Highlighting the varied style and media used, this exhibition celebrates the art and literature in graphic novels.
Graphic novels have gained immense popularity in recent years. They are more varied in content than their early counterparts and also have a new level of respectability. In recent years, graphic novels have been the subject of scholarly studies, a choice for museum exhibitions, and the Pulitzer Prize—awarded in 1992 to Art Speiglman’s Maus. According to the American Library Association, they are among the fastest growing categories in publishing and bookselling. The cave paintings of ages past and hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt were the first examples of storytelling through pictures. The dawn of the Industrial Age saw the beginning of the graphic novel as a format of entertainment. The first major graphic novel, The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck, was published in the U.S. in 1842. The first collected edition of The Yellow Kid cartoons in book form (published in 1897) is recognized as the first financially successful graphic novel. Last century saw the popular DC Comic heroes emerge: Superman, Batman, and Marvel Comic’s Fantastic Four,
Spider-Man, and X-Man.