A novel is a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes.
A comic book is a magazine with one or more comic strips
Now that we got the technical terms out of the way let’s break down how we view them in every day life.
For me, a novel is any work of fiction from any genre that is longer then a short story or novella.
In my mind, a comic book is basically a short story or novella done in illustration form. It’s a small part of a larger story. It can stand alone but should be read in order to make sense.
A graphic novel, to me, is pretty much the same as a novel. Instead of “showing” with words a graphic novel “shows” through the art drawn within it. The words written aren’t exactly secondary but they aren’t the main focus. However, the lack of words by no means takes a way from the depth and of the story.
Check out this video by Trina for Tuesday Talks: Books vs Comic & Graphic Novels on the Between Chapters Channel. She basically sums up the same views I just stated but with a bit more detail.
The great debate is:
What’s the difference between a comic book and graphic novel?
Are you truly a reader when all you read is stories in comic book or graphic novel form?
Question #1: What’s the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel?
In my mind, a lot.
To me a comic book is like a chapter or two of a larger story while a graphic novel is usually a story in it’s entirety.
To read more about the differences between the two check out this article by Wisegeek.com .
Question #2: Are you truly a reader when all you read is stories in comic book or graphic novel form?
There has always been this need for superiority in the Literature world.
- It started off with people who read religious, political and education pamphlets looking down on people who read plays, poetry and sonnets.
- Then it was the people who read plays, poetry and sonnets looking down on people who read fiction.
- Then it was the people who read fiction looking down on people who read genre fiction.
- Then it was everyone who read books looking down on people who read comic books.
- It’s gotten so ridiculous that there are even genre snobs who sneer at people who read genres they deem unworthy.
- Not to mention a war among comic book readers and graphic novel readers about which medium is the most important/valuable.
Enough is enough.
Reading is reading.
If there are words on the page that you need to read, you are reading.
Not everyone’s brain works in the same way.
Some people can read written words and conjure up images in their heads.
Others can see a visual representation of those worlds and understand the deeper hidden meaning the story is trying to portray.
Neither method is superior, neither method is lacking.
Whatever method enables you to enjoy reading is the method you should follow.
Don’t put someone’s reading choice down just because it’s not the reading choice for you.
Below is a list of comic books and graphic novels you should check out (if you haven’t already)
- Blankets by Craig Thompson
- Echo Series by Terry Moore and Trey Moore
- Empowered Series by Adam Warren
- Fables Series by Bill Willingham, James Jean and Alex Maleev
- In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang
- Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich
- Mister Wonderful: A Love Story by Daniel Clowes
- Rachel Rising Series by Terry Moore
- Rat Queens Series by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Roc Upchurch and Ed Brisson
- Room for Love by Ilya
- Saga Series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
- Soppy: A Love Story by Philippa Rice
- Sorcerers and Secretaries Series by Amy Kim Ganter
- Strangers in Paradise Series by Terry Moore
- Superbia Series by Grace Randolph and Russell Dauterman
- The Cute Girl Network by MK Reed, Greg Means and Joe Flood
If you feel intimidated about reading a comic book or graphic novel for the first time but want to know what they are like compared to a regular book check out the following graphic novels that came from popular books.
- A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel by George R.R. Martin and Daniel Abraham
- Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton, Jessica Ruffner and Ron Lim
- Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, Faye Perozich and Daerick Gross
- Blood Work: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel by Kim Harrison,Pedro Maia and Gemma Magno
- Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein: Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz,Chuck Dixon, Kevin J. Anderson, Brett Booth and Andrew Dallhouse
- Fever Moon from the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning, Al Rio and Cliff Richards
- Hatter M. Vol. 1: Far From Wonder (The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, Liz Cavalier, Ben Templesmith and Sami Makkonen
- Mercy Thompson: Homecoming by Patricia Briggs, David Lawrence, Francis Tsai and Amelia Woo
- Steven King’s The Stand Vol. !: Captain Trips by Steven King, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Mike Perkins
- The Dresden Files: Welcome To The Jungle by Jim Butcher and Ardian Syaf
- The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen
- The Talisman: Volume 1: The Road of Trials by Stephen King and Robin Furth, Peter Straub, Tony Shasteen and Nei Ruffino
- Twilight: The Graphic Novel Vol. 1 by Stephanie Meyer and Young Kim
If you still feel graphic novels are sub pare versions of literature check out the following classics that have been adapted into graphic novels.
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, David Zane Mairowitz and Alain Korkos
- Dracula by Bram Stoker, Roy Thomas and Dick Giordano
- Emma by Jane Austen, Nancy Butler and Janet Lee
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Amy Corzine, Clive Bryant, John M. Burns, Terry Wiley, Joe Sutliff Sanders and Jo Wheeler
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Lance Stahlbern and Lalit Kumar
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, Nancy Butler and Janet Lee
- Pride and Prejudice By Jane Austen, Laurence Sach and Rajesh Nagulakonda
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, John McDonald, Clive Bryant, Will Volley, Jim Devlin, Jim Campbell and Jo Wheeler
- Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen, Nancy Butler and Sonny Liew
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Sean Michael Wilson, Clive Bryant and John M. Burns
Keep in mind that the majority of the comic book and graphic novels I listed are of the Romance persuasion. However, there really is a graphic novel out there for all genres and reading tastes. You just have to take the time to search for what you are looking for.
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