THE GRAPHIC NOVEL
Graphic novels are best defined as book-length comics. They are often a single storyline, flowing from first page to last, and sometimes they are collections of short stories. Graphic novels, like the comic books they parallel, rely to a high degree on visual art. This art is usually combined with text, most often presented in a series of rectangular panels.
Comics and the graphic novel evolved from the “funny papers,” enabling a longer story to be told than in the limited space granted by newspaper formats. The name notwithstanding, not all comics are funny. Many emphasize broader themes that feature complex drama and well-developed characterization.
Among purists the term graphic novel has become contentious. Since the 1970s, experts in the field have ventured to define comics as an “academic discipline,” worthy of specialization in publishing. A debate over the term “graphic novel” may challenge this definition. To most readers, the word “comic” refers to a publication meant for children, usually available at newsstands or in comic book stores. The term “graphic novel “usually refers to a longer storyline, usually meant for a more mature audience. This format may be published in either paperback or hardback, and be found online, or in bookstores. The graphic novel usually contains more serious themes and more complex artwork than the classic comic book.
These distinctions can become somewhat confusing, because comics come in a variety of shapes and formats, and appeal to (more…)