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Graphic Novels: About Graphic Novels and Comic Books

Graphic novels, comics, manga, and wordless books are all contained in this collection.

What are Graphic Novels?

Combining visual art (a sense of space, mass, motion, and color) with literary and cinematic techniques (plot, point of view, character development, metaphor, allegory, flashbacks and flashforwards, speeding and slowing time, close-ups, long views, stream of consciousness, montage, etc.) graphic novels contain some of the most creative work in publishing today. They promote visual and verbal literacy, as well as love of reading" (CBLDF, 2006).

How to Read a Graphic Novel

Comics versus Graphic Novels

Both Graphic Novels and Comics are Visual

While both formats lean heavily on the use of illustrations or other images to tell a story, there are some differences between graphic novels and comics. 

Comics are Serialized

Comics tell a story in a series of small stories, often small issues that resemble magazines. Comics traditionally have more casual language with conversational vocabulary. Comics are published on a regular basis such as weekly or monthly, releasing installments to the story, creating a plot with lots of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. 

Graphic Novels are Monographs

A monograph is a book that is published one at a time. There could be a sequel to a monograph publication, but it doesn't have a serialized publication timeline the way a comic, magazine, or newspaper does. Graphic novels have the reputation of being more literary because they use more elevated language and can tackle intense topics. Authors such as Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore have published graphic novels that have gained traction in the literary world for the graphic novel, winning awards and other recognition. 

Manga are Japanese or Korean Comics

This format is serialized and published on a regular basis as with other comics. Manga are written in a wide range of genres such as detective, comedy, historical, horror, or romance, but manga is usually separated by audience type. These types are "shonen" for young boys, "seinen" for men, "shojo" for young girl, "josei" for adult women, and "kodomomuke" meaning exactly "directed at children." 

About Comics and Graphic Novels

The Authors for this Guide are Lauren & Chloe

Contact Lauren at LBryant@Shoreline.edu

Past Contributors and Authors for this Guide

Chloe Horning