7 November 2007

Comic books or Graphic novels?

I’m sorry to bring this topic up and it’s probably been talked to death in some circles.
But what is this term ‘Graphic novel’? I'm no expert in the history of this term but I thought I'd add my two cents

I think how much the term is getting used is a problem. I mean there are such things as graphic novels which in my mind are usually thick collections of a series or even just a really thick comic book in general.
Put simply a comic book could be a thin saddle stitched type book and a graphic novel is more of the thick perfect bound or hard cover variety
My problem with this though is these days everything's a 'graphic novel' and it just doesn't feel right to me.

I remember in highschool people who didn't read comics would refer to the art in comics as 'graphics' which always struck me as strange...and I almost feel like the term graphic novel is used in that same way for lack of a better term by people that don’t read/get comics.

But is it too late. Has the term infiltrated the popular consciousness too much? It’s not as if comic book or comics accurately describe al the work that’s out there anyway, is the term 'serious comic' an oxymoron?
Then what do we use? I heard the term ‘graphic literature’ recently, which I liked, as it covers not only comics, graphic novels but also all combinations of picture books that may not come under Scott McClouds definition of ‘sequential art’. But maybe that suits the name of a section in a library or bookstore but not the book itself.

Then is it worthwhile pursuing this name crisis or is it best to leave it as not to hinder the growth and acceptance of graphic literature/comix in general?

2 comments:

Froth said...

Well, I would think a Graphic novel is just that - a 'novel' with 'graphic' pictures adding to it. I don't think there is any 'better or worse' like with most things ... just what you like.
As a comic artist - If you want a 'book deal' with a 'normal' publisher or need validation as a story teller - graphic novel is the term you should call your sequential narrative work. Australian book publishers(business people) seem to now think it is the way and doing what indie publishers have been doing fer decades.. add TREND MACHINE scenario here...

Froth said...

her's an expert on the subject
(incase you aint seen it yet) -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6u_wHKANVg