What is a Graphic Novel?

So what exactly is a graphic novel? Many people believe that graphic novels are short or simple reads, or that a graphic novel is a pretentious name for a comic book. But the stories found in graphic novels can be as complicated as those found in a traditional novel. Graphic novels can be serialized, and have distinct genres and styles, just like novels.

 

The major difference between graphic novels and comic books is the length and scope. Comic books tend to be released as periodicals, and are in short form. Graphic novels are book-length works and tend to be richer and more detailed than even well-known comics. For the most part, a graphic novel is longer than a comic book, but some graphic novels are structured like comic books and contain short stories set in the same universe. Like novels, graphic novels come in a wide variety of genres with their own genre conventions. As an example, Japanese Manga has become very popular in the west. There are many sub-genres of Manga, for adults, young adults, and even children.

 

Manga is read from back to front, and right to left, while Western graphic novels are read front to back, like a novel. Because they are Japanese, cultural references are also very different. Many popular Mangas have been made into anime series, which helps to popularize the style in North America especially. Romance is another popular category of a graphic novel which is less well-utilized in a traditional comic book since comics are geared toward a more general audience, while it’s possible for a graphic novel to specialize in more young adult or adult audiences. That means graphic novels can be a lot darker than a typical comic book. Some sub-genres of graphic novels contain nudity or pornography, but despite popular myth, it isn’t actually a convention of graphic novels.

 

The art styles of graphic novels vary wildly depending on the series, and the artists. Comic book art has matured in the last few decades, moving away from pop art styles, and into more variety. The particular look of a graphic novel heavily depends on individual artists but also works with a genre. Some styles work best in black and white, others work best with full color. Whatever enhances the experience of the world.

 

Though many consider graphic novels to be a more adult form of a comic book, graphic novels don’t need to be for adults by any means. Graphic novels also make a great teaching tool. Many classics, series, and biographies have been written in graphic novel form. This allows a complex story to be condensed and easily understood by anyone. Illustrations help to make the stories more memorable and allow for more detail to be told visually. Many fans of comics and graphic novels alike consider both to be an art form and cherish the depth of work of these adaptations.

 

It can sometimes be difficult to really understand the differences between a graphic novel and a comic book. As comics gain popularity and respectability as an art form, the lines continue to blur. Both comic and graphic novels can be on a variety of topics in many genres. The major difference between graphic novels and comics is the length. Graphic novels tend to be book length, and the stories are usually, though not always, as complex as a novel. Graphic novels also tend to have less general audiences, since many can have nudity, graphic violence, and sexual content. Graphic novels are a form of both literature and art that is slowly gaining in popularity and respectability in the publishing world.