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Comics Decoded Graphic Novel Discussion Group.  Third Monday of the month: 6:30 pm

Join our Graphic Novel Discussion Group!

Do you love comics? Have you ever loved comics? Would you like to learn more about the world of comics and graphic novels? If you answered "Yes!" to any of these questions, then we need you at the next meeting of the Comics Decoded Book Club!

We will meet on the third Monday of each month to discuss a title or topic, the latest news from the world of comics, new releases, and forthcoming additions to the library collection.

Whether you've been collecting comics since the 60s or have just read your first graphic novel, this is the book club for you!

Discussions are held in the Large Print Room on the First Floor of the Main Library on the third Monday of the month from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM.

Upcoming Discussions:

This group is currently on hiatus.

Previous Discussions:

March 15, 2010
Open Discussion & Comics Swap
April 19, 2010
Apocalyptic Graphic Novels
May 17, 2010
Graphic Novel Anthologies
Local author/illustrator Jim Rugg (Plain Janes, Afrodisiac, Street Angel) joined us for this month's discussion.
Reading Suggestions: Popgun, An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, & True Stories edited by Ivan Brunetti; The Best American Comics; and Project, Superior edited by Chris Pitzer.
June 21, 2010
Indie Comics
Bill Boichel from Copacetic Comics Company joined us for this month's discussion.
Reading suggestions: Love & Rockets by Jamie, Gilbert, and Mario Hernandez; Blankets by Craig Thompson; Stitches by David Small, I Killed Adolf Hitler by Jason; Epileptic by David B.; and Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel.
July 19, 2010
Legendary Artists
Folks from local comics/art/music/literary publisher Unicorn Mountain joined us for this month's discussion.
Reading suggestions: Unicorn Mountain, Volumes 1 & 2; Wolfman's Got Nards—A Compendium of New American Monsters; Marvel Vissionaries: Jack Kirby; The Great Comic Book Artists by Ron Goulart; How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema; The Complete Crumb by R. Crumb; Supermen!: The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes, 1936-41 edited by Greg Sadowski.
August 16, 2010
European Graphic Novels
Reading suggestions: Low Moon by Jason; The Adventures of TinTin by Georges Rémi; Dixie Road by Dufaux; Rodrigo by Hermann; Stripburek: Comics from the Other Europe.
September 20, 2010
Pittsburgh Comics
Local comics creator Tom Scioli (Godland, Myth of 8 Opus) joined us for this month's discussion.
Reading suggestions: Godland: The Celestial Edition by Tom Scioli; Storeyville by Frank Santoro; Advanced Unicorn Mountain Players Handbook edited by Curt Gettman; The Myth of 8-Opus by Tom Scioli.
October 18, 2010
Prose/Graphic Novel Crossovers
Guest speakers Nate & Andy, creators of local comics GRIXLY and Andromeda, joined us for this month's discussion.
Reading suggestions: The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman; Pride & Prejudice (Marvel Comics adaptation) by Nancy Butler; Dark Tower (Marvel Comics adaptation) by Peter David.
November 15, 2010
Eisner Awards
Special guest 2010 Eisner award nominee Dave Wachter (Guns of Shadow Valley) joined us for this month's discussion.
Reading suggestions: Acme Novelty Library by Chris Ware; The Goon by Eric Powell; Fables by Bill Willingham; From Hell by Alan Moore; Age of Bronze by Eric Shanower.
January 24, 2011
Open Discussion.
February 21, 2011
Bodyworld and the work of Dash Shaw
We discussed the work of young comics dynamo Dash Shaw this month. Check out his work online or order a copy through the library catalog!
Reading Suggestions: Bodyworld, Bottomless Belly Button, Mother's Mouth, Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D., and more at &
March 21, 2011
Shawn Atkins and Nick Marino - Using Every Piece of the Cow<
Shawn and Nick talked about their independent comics -- Time Log, Explorers of the Unknown, Super Haters, and more -- explaining what it means to utilize every resource available to create and promote their work, from collaboration to digital to print (and all things in between). Plus, they let attendees have a glimpse into their production process and gave away some brand-spanking-new comics!
April 18, 2011
"Trina Robbins is HUGE!": A discussion of the work of Trina Robbins
Legendary underground comics writer, artist, and herstorian Trina Robbins who visited The Toonseum on April 27th. To prepare, we discussed the artist's seminal works.
Reading Suggestions:, From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of [Women's] Comics from Teens to Zines, The Great Women Cartoonists, Tender Murderers: Women Who Kill, Freedom Songs: A Tale of the Underground Railroad and Go Girl!.
May 16, 2011
This month we talked about two amazing works of graphic memoir: 2010 National Book Award finalist Stitches by David Small and the critically acclaimed Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.
There are plenty of copies of these great comics at the library—click the links below to order one for yourself!
Check out a copy of Fun Home from the library!
Check out a copy of Stitches from the library!
June 20, 2011
Comic Swap!
July 18, 2011
Guest Speaker Daniel McCloskey of the Cyberpunk Apocalypse
Daniel McCloskey started drawing comics because the novel he was writing needed them, and then he just kept going. He talked about the process of writing the novel/graphic novel hybrid, what comic projects he's involved in now, and a little background including short animations he made in junior high school that rip off Jhonen Vasquez pretty bad. He also talked about living and working at the Cyberpunk Apocalypse (that always seems to come up).
August 15, 2011
Guest Speaker: Howard Shapiro
Howard Shapiro is the author of four children's books as well as the forthcoming graphic novel The Stereotypical Freaks (Sea Lion Books). Shapiro is new to the graphic medium and talked about the creative experience as well as the struggles he experienced on the road from inception to publication.
September 19, 2011
Guest Speaker: Howard Shapiro
Howard Shapiro is the author of four children's books as well as the forthcoming graphic novel The Stereotypical Freaks (Sea Lion Books). Shapiro is new to the graphic medium and talked about the creative experience as well as the struggles he experienced on the road from inception to publication.
October 17, 2011
The Next Step: Help Us Plan the Future of Out of the Gutter

Out of the Gutter has been meeting for a year and a half. We've enjoyed lively discussions about graphic novels famous and obscure, enlightening lectures from talented comics creators, and made connections with the local comics scene. Now, we're turning it over to you! Future meetings will be run by attendees. What do you want from Out of the Gutter? Comics discussions? Guest speakers? Creative drawing and writing time? Please join us for October's meeting to discuss how we'll make Out of the Gutter a reflection of Pittsburgh's vibrant comics community. If you are interested in getting involved, e-mail or simply attend the meeting October 17.
November 21, 2011
This month we discussed Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli.
Also, members brought suggestions for future graphic novels they wanted the group to discuss.
January 23, 2012
David Mazzucchelli's
Asterios Polyp
February 20, 2012
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's
March 19, 2012
Chester Brown's
I Never Liked You
April 16, 2012
The works of R. Crumb
May 21, 2012
Local author/illustrator Ed Piskor (Wizzywig, The Beats) will join us for this month's discussion.
June 18, 2012
Guest speaker Wayne Wise from local shop Phantom of the Attic Comics will join us for this month's discussion.
July 16, 2012
Charles Burns's
Black Hole
August 20, 2012
Local author/illustrator Ed Piskor (Wizzywig, The Beats) will join us for this month's discussion.
September 17, 2012
Peter Bagge's
Hey Buddy!
October 22, 2012
Grant Morrison and Gary Erskine's
The Filth
November 19, 2012
Tom Scioli's
American Barbarian
January 28, 2013
Jim Woodring's
The Frank Book
February 18, 2013
John Porcellino's
King Cat Comics
March 18, 2013
Frank Miller's
The Dark Knight Returns
April 15, 2013
Peter Blegvad's
The Book of Leviathan
May 20, 2013
Joe Sacco's
Safe Area Gorazde
June 17, 2013
Kim Deitch's
Alias the Cat
July 15, 2013
Gabrielle Bell's
Cecil and Jordan in New York
August 19, 2013
Daniel Clowes's
Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron
February 17, 2014
March, Book 1
by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
Congressman Lewis, a key figure in the civil rights movement, chronicles his life and work in the struggle for equality.

March 17, 2014
Marble Season
by Gilbert Hernandez
From the co-creator of Love and Rockets we get a semi-autobiographical boyhood tale of friendships, brothers, action figures, trading cards and comic books in 1960s suburban California.

April 21, 2014
Hawkeye, Vol. 1
by Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Javier Pulido
What does the Avenger with the bow and arrows do when he's not being an Avenger?

May 19, 2014
Hip Hop Family Tree
by Ed Piskor
The local cartoonist schools us on the formative years of the music and its legendary artists.

June 16, 2014
by Taiyo Matsumoto
Children and teens in a Japanese orphanage escape their melancholy lives by dreaming and bonding in a broken-down Nissan.

July 21, 2014
Batman Incorporated Vol. 2: Gotham's Most Wanted
by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham
The fate of Batman's son, Damian Wayne, is revealed!

August 18, 2014
Building Stories
by Chris Ware
Voted a best book of the year by the New York Times, this story of life, love, and a woman's past, present and future is told through a collection of 14 comic strips of varying shapes and sizes.

September 15, 2014
Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood
by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang
DC's New 52 takes the Amazon princess in a bold new direction as secrets of her true parentage are revealed and ancient enemies emerge!

October 20, 2014
Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me
by Ellen Forney
A cartoonist struggles to find the best method of managing her recent bipolar diagnosis without dulling her creative passion.

November 17, 2014
The Harlem Hellfighters
by Max Brooks and Caanan White
This highly decorated black infantry unit logged more hours in combat than any other American unit in World War I and still faced discrimination at home. From Harlem to France, their heroic story is brought to life by the author of World War Z.

December 15, 2014
Captain America, Vol. 1: Castaway in Dimension Z
by Rick Remender and John Romita Jr.
The star-spangled Avenger has been thrust into an inhospitable dimension. Can he survive long enough to save the son of the man who put him there and find a way home?

January 26, 2015 - Please note the date change due to the holiday!
Saga, Vol. 1
by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
In this critically-acclaimed sci-fi fantasy epic, two soldiers from opposing sides of a galactic war dare to fall in love and start a family.