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…)
(Publisher’s Weekly, Feb. 9)
Neil Gaiman won the Newbery Medal last month for The Graveyard Book, which was already on our bestseller charts; now it takes the #1 position (for Children’s Fiction Bestsellers). When PW asked Gaiman how it felt to become the new Miss America of children’s literature, he laughed in response. “There is definitely this sense of responsibility, the sort of thing where I keep thinking I really mustn’t rob a bank this year,” he said. “The news headline would inevitably be ‘Newbery Winner Robs Bank.’ I have to stay away from Ponzi schemes, too.”
See signed titles by Neil Gaiman at www.vjbooks.com
(Publisher’s Weekly, Jan. 26, Diane Roback)
Neil Gaiman has won the 2009 Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins). Beth Krommes has won the 2009 Randolph Caldecott Medal for The House in the Night (Houghton Mifflin), written by Susan Marie Swanson. The awards were announced this morning at the American Library Association’s midwinter conference in Denver.
Four Newbery Honor Books were named: The Underneath by Kathi Appelt (S&S/Atheneum); The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle (Henry Holt); Savvy by Ingrid Law (Dial/Walden Media); and After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson (Putnam). (more…)
(Publisher’s Weekly, Sept. 29, Dave McKean)
A lavish middle-grade novel, Gaiman‘s first since Coraline, this gothic fantasy almost lives up to its extravagant advance billing. The opening is enthralling: “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.” Evading the murderer who kills the rest of his family, a child roughly 18 months old climbs out of his crib, bumps his bottom down a steep stairway, walks out the open door and crosses the street into the cemetery opposite, where ghosts take him in. What mystery/horror/suspense reader could stop here, especially with Gaiman’s talent for storytelling? The author riffs on the Jungle Book, folklore, nursery rhymes and history; he tosses in werewolves and hints at vampires—and he makes these figures seem like metaphors for transitions in childhood and youth. As the boy, called Nobody or Bod, grows up, the killer still stalking him, there are slack moments and some repetition—not enough to spoil a reader’s pleasure, but noticeable all the same. When the chilling moments do come, they are as genuinely frightening as only Gaiman can make them, and redeem any shortcomings. Ages 10–up. (Oct. 2008)
Get your copy of The Graveyard Book today from www.vjbooks.com!