Skip to content

Graphic Novel Essays

Review of Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives: Essays on Theory, Strategy and Practice

Dong, Lan. Ed. Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives: Essays on Theory, Strategy and Practice. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. Print.

The use of comic books as educational tools in the U.S. has a long, complex history. Between the 1940s and today, scholarship on English language acquisition; literary analysis; and alphabetic, critical, cultural, visual, and multimodal literacy have characterized comics with pedagogical potential. While a small amount of work on comics as educational tools in undergraduate classrooms has been published, notably Stephen E. Tabachnick's (2009) edited collection Teaching the Graphic Novel,[1] comics pedagogy scholarship primarily focuses on elementary and secondary educational contexts.[2] To remedy this situation, Lan Dong's purpose in Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives: Essays on Theory, Strategy and Practice is to "promote the legitimacy and value of graphic narratives in college and university classrooms by bringing together essays on theoretical approaches, pedagogical strategies, and classroom practice" (Dong 5-6). Though the project began at an MLA session entitled "Teaching Graphic Novels in Literature Classrooms," essays in this collection move beyond the literature classroom and address the interdisciplinary perspectives of American Studies; Ethnic Studies; Women's and Gender Studies; Cultural Studies; Genre Studies; and Composition, Rhetoric, and Communication. Dong uses these perspectives as the collections' organizational categories, making it easy for a reader who identifies thusly to locate potentially useful material. The value of Dong's collection, however, transcends these distinctions, as all of the essays included, to varying degrees, use multiple theoretical lenses to engage comics as sites of individual and collective meaning-making in intersecting aesthetic, historical, cultural, political, material, and media(ted) contexts. More specifically, for those interested in engaging students in explorations of 1) the visual representations of racial, ethnic, national, sexual, and gender identities; 2) the intersections of genre and media conventions; and 3) the process of literary canon formation, Dong's collection is a worthwhile read. For those, like me, looking for ways to build on this critical analytical work and give students tools to move from passive consumption to intentional cultural production, the collection falls short.

A few essays do point to comics as models for student production. Susanna Hoeness-Krupsaw asks her students to compose personal experience essays using Abouet and Oubrerie's Aya as a visual example: "[Students] noted Abouet's use of a lead, her development of Aya's persona and voice, the management of time and space, and other descriptive details" (163). Hoeness-Krupsaw also suggests that composing comics of their own might benefit students. Even in this case, though, the intended audience is circumscribed to the classroom, as comic composition is used as a strategy for revising the narrative personal experience essays (164). Katharine Polak MacDonald assigns multimodal compositions to give students the opportunity to test out the elements of multimodal literacy they have learned via the comparative analysis of comics and more traditional literary texts (222). Working from the assumption that students will identify with Huey's character in Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks, Daniel Stein frames comics as sites of topical invention and comic characters as potential models for student behavior: "Huey … represents the kind of active engagement students … should take in their own education" (30).

More often, as a precursor to cultural production, comics in this collection are framed as sites of critical resistance to "cultural norms and prohibitions" (Jonet 120). Edward A. Shannon uses American comics from the 1890s to contemporary graphic novels, poetry, and fiction to identify and challenge definitions of high and popular, or "low" culture (11). Examining Gene Luen Yang's "revival of the 'heathen Chinee' image" and accompanying stereotypes in American Born Chinese, Anne Cong-Huyen and Caroline Kyungah Hong point to Yang's "exaggeration of caricature" as a method for turning "these stereotypes on their heads" (85). Jessica Knight's students are "highly attuned to … the everyday strategies of resistance to mandated visibility" in Okubo's Citizen 13660 (101). Knight also takes issue with the pedagogical approach to multicultural literature that focuses on expanding the literary canon to include texts based on the "social identity of the author" and that assumes a "clear relationship between the representation of marginalized groups on literary syllabi and the greater political enfranchisement of such groups" (95). Instead, Knight advocates a multicultural pedagogy that fosters simultaneously empathetic and self-reflexive readings to aid our understanding of "how we are all implicated in the social forces that inscribe identities and power relations" (97). Similarly, Judith Richards and Cynthia M. Williams encourage students to "unveil their own cultural ignorance and prejudices" related to veiling practices by asking them to write on an outline of a veiled woman the words they associate with the image of a veiled woman, draw their own bodies, write the language they would use to describe themselves, and compare the bodies of language (135). Christina Meyer argues that Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers problematizes "the idea of unity and identity formations in times of crisis" via his representation of the "intricate mediatization of the terrorist attacks … [and] the social and political transformation in the aftermath of 9/11" (54). MacDonald addresses the representation of media in comics as a way to explore "the ways in which these other media are also constructed" (224). Surprisingly, however, given the growing number of web comics, none of the essays discuss digital media's potential implications for the study and composition of comics.

Comics are also employed as an "accessible" entr� into course material that has the potential to complicate students' understanding of the relationships among identity formation, history, culture, politics, and aesthetics. Adrielle Anna Mitchell posits that individual comics "can be chosen to illuminate an issue, time period, identity, or style" (202). Cong-Huyen and Hong use Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology to introduce students to "critical race, Asian American [and] literary studies" (87). Joshua Kavaloski characterizes Jason Lutes' Berlin City of Stones as a "unique vehicle for teaching students about the history of Germany's Weimar Republic" based on the "palpable tension between its single-point visual aesthetics and its multiperspectival narrative" (147, 146). Mary Ann Tobin uses the filmic adaptation of Frank Miller's 300 to "explore the form and function of epic poetry as oral history" (232). Comparing graphic novels by "Alicia Torres, Seth, Chris Ware, and Kim Deitch alongside experimental fiction by Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicholson Baker and extended poetic sequences by Gabriel Gudding and Martha Collins," Edward Brunner asks his students in a graduate-level seminar on trauma to "test whether graphic narratives are as effective as experimental fiction and poems in extended sequences in calling the reader to pay close attention to text that present circumstances that are inherently troubled or controversial" (186).

Overall, then, Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives works well as a set of models for the critical analysis of comics, particularly with regard to representations of race, ethnicity, and nationality. It may be that Dong does not want to cover ground already traveled by discussions of comic production in elementary and secondary classrooms. However, by only briefly addressing comics as student-produced culture, Dong reinforces the dominance of alphabetic textual production in collegiate education and unintentionally delegitimizes comics in the same context.


Works Cited

Bitz, Michael. When Commas Meet Kryptonite: Classroom Lessons from The Comic Book Project. New York: Teachers College Press, 2010. Print.

Brocka, Bruce. "Comic Books: In Case You Haven't Noticed, They've Changed." Media and Methods 15.9 (1978): 30-32. Print.

Carter, James Bucky. Ed. Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels: Page by Page, Panel by Panel. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2007. Print.

Frey, Nancy and Douglas Fisher. Eds. Teaching Visual Literacy: Using Comic Books, Graphic Novels, Anime, Cartoons, and More to Develop Comprehension and Thinking Skills. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2008. Print.

Haendiges, J. A. (2010). Mobility and the digital page. Washington State University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Web. 15 Apr. 2012.

Jacobs, Dale. "Marveling At 'The Man Called Nova': Comics As Sponsors Of Multimodal Literacy." College Composition And Communication 2 (2007):180-205. Print.

King, Richard C. "Envisioning Justice: Racial Metaphors, Political Movements, and Critical Pedagogy." Writing the Visual: A Practical Guide for Teachers of Composition and Communication. Eds. Carol David and Anne R. Richards. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press, 2008. 87-104. Print.

Tabachnick, Stephen E., Ed. Teaching the Graphic Novel. New York: MLA, 2009. Print.

Wysocki, Anne Frances and David A. Lynch. Compose, Design, Advocate: A Rhetoric for Integrating Written, Visual, and Oral Communication. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2007. Print.

 © 2014 Oriana Gatta (all rights reserved). This essay is the intellectual property of the author and cannot be printed or distributed without the author's express written permission other than excerpts for purposes consistent with Fair Use. The layout and design of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons License to ImageTexT; note that this applies only to the design of this page and not to the content itself.

All content is (c) ImageTexT 2004 - 2018 unless otherwise noted. All authors and artists retain copyright unless otherwise noted.
All images are used with permission or are permissible under fair use. Please see our legal notice.

ImageTexT is published by the Department of English at the University of Florida.

Not to be confused with Visual novel.

A graphic novel is a book made up of comics content. Although the word "novel" normally refers to long fictional works, the term "graphic novel" is applied broadly and includes fiction, non-fiction, and anthologized work. It is distinguished from the term "comic book", which is generally used for comics periodicals.

Fan historian Richard Kyle coined the term "graphic novel" in an essay in the November 1964 issue of the comics fanzineCapa-Alpha.[1][2] The term gained popularity in the comics community after the publication of Will Eisner's A Contract with God (1978) and the start of Marvel's Graphic Novelline (1982) and became familiar to the public in the late 1980s after the commercial successes of the first volume of Art Spiegelman's Maus in 1986 and the collected editions of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns in 1986 and Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen in 1987. The Book Industry Study Group began using "graphic novel" as a category in book stores in 2001.[3]


The term is not strictly defined, though Merriam-Webster's full dictionary definition is "a fictional story that is presented in comic-strip format and published as a book", while its simplest definition is given as "cartoon drawings that tell a story and are published as a book".[4] In the publishing trade, the term extends to material that would not be considered a novel if produced in another medium.[citation needed] Collections of comic books that do not form a continuous story, anthologies or collections of loosely related pieces, and even non-fiction are stocked by libraries and bookstores as "graphic novels" (similar to the manner in which dramatic stories are included in "comic" books).[citation needed] The term is also sometimes used to distinguish between works created as standalone stories, in contrast to collections or compilations of a story arc from a comic book series published in book form.[5][6][7]

In continental Europe, both original book-length stories such as La rivolta dei racchi (1967) by Guido Buzzelli,[citation needed][8] and collections of comics have been commonly published in hardcover volumes, often called "albums", since the end of the 19th century (including such later Franco-Belgian comics series as The Adventures of Tintin in the 1930s,


As the exact definition of the graphic novel is debated, the origins of the form are open to interpretation.

The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck is the oldest recognized American example of comics used to this end.[9] It originated as the 1828 publication Histoire de M. Vieux Bois by Swiss caricaturist Rodolphe Töpffer, and was first published in English translation in 1841 by London's Tilt & Bogue, which used an 1833 Paris pirate edition.[10] The first American edition was published in 1842 by Wilson & Company in New York City using the original printing plates from the 1841 edition. Another early predecessor is Journey to the Gold Diggins by Jeremiah Saddlebags by brothers J. A. D. and D. F. Read, inspired by The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck.[10] In 1894 Caran d'Ache broached the idea of a "drawn novel" in a letter to the newspaper Le Figaro and started work on a 360-page wordless book (never published).[11] In the United States there is a long tradition of reissuing previously published comic strips in book form. In 1897 the Hearst Syndicate published such a collection of The Yellow Kid by Richard Outcault and it quickly became a best seller.[12]

1920s to 1960s[edit]

The 1920s saw a revival of the medievalwoodcut tradition, with Belgian Frans Masereel cited as "the undisputed king" of this revival.[13] His works include Passionate Journey (1919).[14] American Lynd Ward also worked in this tradition, publishing Gods' Man, in 1929 and going on to publish more during the 1930s.[15][16]

Other prototypical examples from this period include American Milt Gross' He Done Her Wrong (1930), a wordless comic published as a hardcover book, and Une Semaine de Bonté (1934), a novel in sequential images composed of collage by the surrealist painter Max Ernst. Similarly, Charlotte Salomon's Life? or Theater? (composed 1941-43) combines images, narrative, and captions.[citation needed]

The 1940s saw the launching of Classics Illustrated, a comic-book series that primarily adapted notable, public domain novels into standalone comic books for young readers. In 1947 Fawcett Comics published Comics Novel #1: "Anarcho, Dictator of Death", a 52-page comic dedicated to one story.[17] In 1950, St. John Publications produced the digest-sized, adult-oriented "picture novel" It Rhymes with Lust, a film noir-influenced slice of steeltown life starring a scheming, manipulative redhead named Rust. Touted as "an original full-length novel" on its cover, the 128-page digest by pseudonymous writer "Drake Waller" (Arnold Drake and Leslie Waller), penciler Matt Baker and inker Ray Osrin proved successful enough to lead to an unrelated second picture novel, The Case of the Winking Buddha by pulp novelistManning Lee Stokes and illustrator Charles Raab.[18][19] Presaging Will Eisner's multiple-story graphic novel A Contract with God (1978), cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman wrote and drew the four-story mass-market paperback Harvey Kurtzman's Jungle Book (Ballantine Books #338K), published in 1959.[20]

By the late 1960s, American comic book creators were becoming more adventurous with the form. Gil Kane and Archie Goodwin self-published a 40-page, magazine-format comics novel, His Name is... Savage (Adventure House Press) in 1968—the same year Marvel Comics published two issues of The Spectacular Spider-Man in a similar format. Columnist and comic-book writer Steven Grant also argues that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's Doctor Strange story in Strange Tales #130–146, although published serially from 1965–1966, is "the first American graphic novel".[21] Similarly, critic Jason Sacks referred to the 13-issue "Panther's Rage" — comics' first-known titled, self-contained, multi-issue story arc — that ran from 1973 to 1975 in the Black Panther series in Marvel's Jungle Action as "Marvel's first graphic novel".[22]

Meanwhile, in continental Europe, the tradition of collecting serials of popular strips such as The Adventures of Tintin or Asterix led to long-form narratives published initially as serials.[citation needed]

By 1969, the author John Updike, who had entertained ideas of becoming a cartoonist in his youth, addressed the Bristol Literary Society, on "the death of the novel". Updike offered examples of new areas of exploration for novelists, declaring "I see no intrinsic reason why a doubly talented artist might not arise and create a comic strip novel masterpiece".[23]

Modern era[edit]

Gil Kane and Archie Goodwin's Blackmark (1971), a science fiction/sword-and-sorcery paperback published by Bantam Books, did not use the term originally; the back-cover blurb of the 30th-anniversary edition (ISBN 978-1-56097-456-7) calls it, retroactively, "the very first American graphic novel". The Academy of Comic Book Arts presented Kane with a special 1971 Shazam Award for what it called "his paperback comics novel". Whatever the nomenclature, Blackmark is a 119-page story of comic-book art, with captions and word balloons, published in a traditional book format. It is also the first with an original heroic-adventure character conceived expressly for this form.[citation needed]

European creators were also experimenting with the longer narrative in comics form. In the United Kingdom, Raymond Briggs was producing works such as Father Christmas (1972) and The Snowman (1978), which he himself described as being from the "bottomless abyss of strip cartooning", although they, along with such other Briggs works as the more mature When the Wind Blows (1982), have been re-marketed as graphic novels in the wake of the term's popularity. Briggs notes, however, "I don't know if I like that term too much".[24]

First self-proclaimed graphic novels: 1976–1978[edit]

In 1976, the term "graphic novel" appeared in print to describe three separate works. Bloodstar by Richard Corben (adapted from a story by Robert E. Howard) used the term to define itself on its dust jacket and introduction. George Metzger's Beyond Time and Again, serialized in underground comics from 1967 to 1972, was subtitled "A Graphic Novel" on the inside title page when collected as a 48-page, black-and-white, hardcover book published by Kyle & Wheary.[citation needed]

The digest-sizedChandler: Red Tide (1976) by Jim Steranko, designed to be sold on newsstands, used the term "graphic novel" in its introduction and "a visual novel" on its cover, although Chandler is more commonly considered[citation needed] an illustrated novel than a work of comics.[citation needed]

The following year, Terry Nantier, who had spent his teenage years living in Paris, returned to the United States and formed Flying Buttress Publications, later to incorporate as NBM Publishing (Nantier, Beall, Minoustchine), and published Racket Rumba, a 50-page spoof of the noir-detective genre, written and drawn by the single-name French artist Loro. Nantier followed this with Enki Bilal's The Call of the Stars. The company marketed these works as "graphic albums".[25]

The first six issues of writer-artist Jack Katz's 1974 Comics and Comix Co. series The First Kingdom were collected as a trade paperback (Pocket Books, March 1978),[26] which described itself as "the first graphic novel". Issues of the comic had described themselves as "graphic prose", or simply as a novel.[citation needed]

Similarly, Sabre: Slow Fade of an Endangered Species by writer Don McGregor and artist Paul Gulacy (Eclipse Books, August 1978)—the first graphic novel sold in the newly created "direct market" of United States comic-book shops[27]—was called a "graphic album" by the author in interviews, though the publisher dubbed it a "comic novel" on its credits page. "Graphic album" was also the term used the following year by Gene Day for his hardcover short-story collection Future Day (Flying Buttress Press).

Another early graphic novel, though it carried no self-description, was The Silver Surfer (Simon & Schuster/Fireside Books, August 1978), by Marvel Comics' Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Significantly, this was published by a traditional book publisher and distributed through bookstores, as was cartoonistJules Feiffer's Tantrum (Alfred A. Knopf, 1979)[28] described on its dustjacket as a "novel-in-pictures".[citation needed]

Adoption of the term[edit]

Hyperbolic descriptions of longer comic books as "novels" appear on covers as early as the 1940s. Early issues of DC Comics' All-Flash Quarterly, for example, described their contents as "novel-length stories" and "full-length four chapter novels."[29]

In its earliest known citation, comic book reviewer Richard Kyle used the term "graphic novel" in CAPA-ALPHA #2 (November 1964), a newsletter published by the Comic Amateur Press Alliance, and again in an article in Bill Spicer's magazine Fantasy Illustrated #5 (Spring 1966).[30] Kyle, inspired by European and East Asian graphic albums (especially the Japanese manga), used the label to designate comics of an artistically "serious" sort.[31] Following this, Spicer, with Kyle's acknowledgment, edited and published a periodical titled Graphic Story Magazine in the fall of 1967.[30]The Sinister House of Secret Love #2 (Jan. 1972), one of DC Comics' line of extra-length, 48-page comics, specifically used the phrase "a graphic novel of Gothic terror" on its cover.[32]

In response to criticism regarding the content of comic books, and to the establishment of the industry's self-censorship Comics Code Authority, an underground alternative comix movement was created.[33]

The term "graphic novel" began to grow in popularity months after it appeared on the cover of the trade paperback edition (though not the hardcover edition) of Will Eisner's A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories (October 1978). This collection of short stories was a mature, complex work focusing on the lives of ordinary people in the real world based on Eisner's own experiences.[34] The term "graphic novel" was intended[citation needed] to distinguish it from the traditional serialized nature of comic books, with which it shared a storytelling medium.

One scholar used graphic novels to introduce the concept of graphiation, a newly coined term used to describe graphic expression or visual enunciation. Graphiation refers to the theory that the entire personality of an artist is visible through his or her visual representation of a certain character, setting, event, or object in a novel, and as a means to examine and analyze drawing style.[35]

Even though Eisner’s A Contract with God was finally published in 1978 by a smaller company, Baronet Press, it took Eisner over a year to find a publishing house that would allow his work to reach the mass market.[36] Eisner cited[citation needed] Lynd Ward's 1930s woodcuts (see above) as an inspiration.[citation needed]

The critical and commercial success of A Contract with God helped to establish the term "graphic novel" in common usage, and many sources have incorrectly credited Eisner with being the first to use it. These included the Time magazine website in 2003, which said in its correction, "Eisner acknowledges that the term 'graphic novel' had been coined prior to his book. But, he says, 'I had not known at the time that someone had used that term before.' Nor does he take credit for creating the first graphic book."[37]

One of the earliest contemporaneous applications of the term post-Eisner came in 1979[citation needed], when Blackmark's sequel—published a year after A Contract with God though written and drawn in the early 1970s—was labeled a "graphic novel" on the cover of Marvel Comics' black-and-white comics magazine Marvel Preview #17 (Winter 1979), where Blackmark: The Mind Demons premiered—its 117-page contents intact, but its panel-layout reconfigured to fit 62 pages.[citation needed]

Following this, Marvel from 1982 to 1988 published the Marvel Graphic Novel line of 10"x7" trade paperbacks—although numbering them like comic books, from #1 (Jim Starlin's The Death of Captain Marvel) to #35 (Dennis O'Neil, Mike Kaluta, and Russ Heath's Hitler's Astrologer, starring the radio and pulp fiction character the Shadow, and released in hardcover). Marvel commissioned original graphic novels from such creators as John Byrne, J. M. DeMatteis, Steve Gerber, graphic-novel pioneer McGregor, Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz, Walt Simonson, Charles Vess, and Bernie Wrightson. While most of these starred Marvel superheroes, others, such as Rick Veitch's Heartburst featured original SF/fantasy characters; others still, such as John J. Muth's Dracula, featured adaptations of literary stories or characters; and one, Sam Glanzman's A Sailor's Story, was a true-life, World War IInaval tale.[citation needed]

Cartoonist Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus (1986), helped establish both the term and the concept of graphic novels in the minds of the mainstream public.[33] Two DC Comics book reprints of self-contained miniseries did likewise, though they were not originally published as graphic novels: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986), a collection of Frank Miller's four-part comic-book series featuring an older Batman faced with the problems of a dystopian future; and Watchmen (1986-1987), a collection of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' 12-issue limited series in which Moore notes he "set out to explore, amongst other things, the dynamics of power in a post-Hiroshima world".[38] These works and others were reviewed in newspapers and magazines, leading to increased coverage.[39] Sales of graphic novels increased, with Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, for example, lasting 40 weeks on a UK best-seller list.[40]

European adoption of the term[edit]

Outside North America, Eisner's A Contract with God and Spiegelman's Maus led to the popularization of the expression "graphic novel" as well.[41] Until then, most European countries used neutral, descriptive terminology that referred to the form of the medium, and not the contents. In Francophone Europe for example, the expression bandes dessinées – which literally translates as "drawn strips" – is used, while the terms stripverhaal ("strip story") and tegneserie ("drawn series") are used by the Dutch/Flemish and Scandinavians respectively.[42] European comics studies scholars have observed that Americans originally used "graphic novel" to describe everything that deviated from their standard, 32-page comic book format, meaning that all larger-sized, longer Franco-Belgian comic albums, regardless of their contents, fell under the heading.[citation needed]

American comic critics occasionally refer to European graphic novels as "Eurocomics",[43] and attempts were made in the late 1980s to cross-fertilize the American market with these works. American publishers Catalan Communications and NBM Publishing released translated titles, predominantly from the backlog catalogs of Casterman and Les Humanoïdes Associés.

Criticism of the term[edit]

Some in the comics community have objected to the term "graphic novel" on the grounds that it is unnecessary, or that its usage has been corrupted by commercial interests. Writer Alan Moore believes,

It's a marketing term... that I never had any sympathy with. The term 'comic' does just as well for me... The problem is that 'graphic novel' just came to mean 'expensive comic book' and so what you'd get is people like DC Comics or Marvel Comics—because 'graphic novels' were getting some attention, they'd stick six issues of whatever worthless piece of crap they happened to be publishing lately under a glossy cover and call it The She-Hulk Graphic Novel...."[44]

It's a perfect time to retire terms like "graphic novel" and "sequential art," which piggyback on the language of other, wholly separate mediums. What's more, both terms have their roots in the need to dissemble and justify, thus both exude a sense of desperation, a gnawing hunger to be accepted.[45]

Author Daniel Raeburn wrote, "I snicker at the neologism first for its insecure pretension—the literary equivalent of calling a garbage man a 'sanitation engineer'—and second because a 'graphic novel' is in fact the very thing it is ashamed to admit: a comic book, rather than a comic pamphlet or comic magazine."[46] Writer Neil Gaiman, responding to a claim that he does not write comic books but graphic novels, said the commenter "meant it as a compliment, I suppose. But all of a sudden I felt like someone who'd been informed that she wasn't actually a hooker; that in fact she was a lady of the evening."[47] Responding to writer Douglas Wolk's quip that the difference between a graphic novel and a comic book is "the binding", Bone creator Jeff Smith said, "I kind of like that answer. Because 'graphic novel'... I don't like that name. It's trying too hard. It is a comic book. But there is a difference. And the difference is, a graphic novel is a novel in the sense that there is a beginning, a middle and an end."[48]The Times writer Giles Coren said, "To call them graphic novels is to presume that the novel is in some way ‘higher’ than the karmicbwurk (comic book), and that only by being thought of as a sort of novel can it be understood as an art form."[49]

Some alternative cartoonists have coined their own terms to describe extended comics narratives. The cover of Daniel Clowes' Ice Haven (2001) describes the book as "a comic-strip novel", with Clowes having noted that he "never saw anything wrong with the comic book".[50] The cover of Craig Thompson's Blankets calls it "an illustrated novel."[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^Schelly, Bill (2010). Founders of Comic Fandom: Profiles of 90 Publishers, Dealers, Collectors, Writers, Artists and Other Luminaries of the 1950s and 1960s. McFarland. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-7864-5762-5. 
  2. ^Madden, David; Bane, Charles; Flory, Sean M. (2006). A Primer of the Novel: For Readers and Writers. Scarecrow Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-4616-5597-8. 
  3. ^"BISAC Subject Headings List, Comics and Graphic Novels". Book Industry Study Group. Archived from the original on April 14, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  4. ^"graphic novel". 
  5. ^Gertler, Nat; Steve Lieber (2004). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating a Graphic Novel. Alpha Books. ISBN 978-1-59257-233-5. 
  6. ^Kaplan, Arie (2006). Masters of the Comic Book Universe Revealed!. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-55652-633-6. 
  7. ^"graphic novel | literature". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-06-22. 
  8. ^A complete edition was published in 1970 before being serialized in the French magazine Charlie Mensuel, as per "Dino Buzzati 1965–1975"(Italian website). Associazione Guido Buzzelli. 2004. Retrieved 2006-06-21.  (WebCitation archive); Domingos Isabelinho (2004). "The Ghost of a Character: The Cage by Martin Vaughn-James". Indy Magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2006-04-06.  ().
  9. ^Coville, Jamie. "The History of Comic Books: Introduction and 'The Platinum Age 1897–1938'". Archived from the original on April 15, 2003. . Originally published at defunct site CollectorTimes.comArchived 2007-05-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ abBeerbohm, Robert (2008). "The Victorian Age Comic Strips and Books 1646-1900: Origins of Early American Comic Strips Before The Yellow Kid and 'The Platinum Age 1897–1938'". Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #38. pp. 337–338. 
  11. ^Groensteen, Thierry (June 2015). ""Maestro" : chronique d'une découverte / "Maestro": Chronicle of a Discovery". NeuviemArt 2.0. Archived from the original on July 9, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2015.  
  12. ^Tychinski, Stan. "A Brief History of the Graphic Novel". Diamond Comic Distributors. Retrieved 2015-12-14. 
  13. ^Sabin, Roger. Adult Comics: An Introduction(Routledge New Accents Library Collection, 2005), p. 291 ISBN 978-0-415-29139-2, ISBN 978-0-415-29139-2
  14. ^Reissued 1985 as Passionate Journey: A Novel in 165 WoodcutsISBN 978-0-87286-174-9
  15. ^"2016 Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year". Pennsylvania Center For the Book. Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  16. ^"Graphic Witness". 
  17. ^"GCD :: Series :: Comics Novel". 
  18. ^Quattro, Ken (2006). "Archer St. John & The Little Company That Could". Comicartville Library. Archived from the original on November 28, 2010. 
  19. ^"GCD :: Issue :: It Rhymes With Lust". 
  20. ^"GCD :: Issue :: Harvey Kurtzman's Jungle Book #338 K". 
  21. ^Grant, Steven. "Permanent Damage" (column) #224, Comic Book Resources, December 28, 2005. Accessdate=2007-03-20. WebCitation archive.
  22. ^Sacks, Jason. "Panther's Rage: Marvel's First Graphic Novel". Archived from the original on July 4, 2008.   Additional .
  23. ^Gravett, Paul (2005). Graphic Novels: Stories To Change Your Life (1st ed.). Aurum Press Limited. ISBN 978-1-84513-068-8. 
  24. ^Nicholas, Wroe (December 18, 2004). "Bloomin' Christmas". The Guardian. London. WebCitation archive.
  25. ^Company history page, NBM Publishing, n.d. Accessed August 18, 2010. WebCitation archive.
  26. ^Grand Comics Database: The First Kingdom
  27. ^Gough, Bob (2001). "Interview with Don McGregor". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  28. ^Tallmer, Jerry. "The Three Lives of Jules Feiffer", NYC Plus #1, April 2005. WebCitation archive.
  29. ^Grand Comics Database: All-Flash (DC, 1941). See Issues #2–10.
  30. ^ abPer Time magazine letter. (WebCitation archive) from comics historian and author R. C. Harvey in response to claims in Arnold, Andrew D., "The Graphic Novel Silver Anniversary" (WebCitation archive),, November 14, 2003
  31. ^Gravett, Graphic Novels, p. 3
  32. ^Cover, The Sinister House of Secret Love #2 at the Grand Comics Database
  33. ^ abDrawn to Change: Comics and Critical Consciousness, Issue 73, Labour, 2014, p. 154-155.
  34. ^Comic Books, Tragic Stories: Will Eisner’s American Jewish History, Volume 30, Issue 2, AJS Review, 2006, p. 287
  35. ^Baetens, Jan; Frey, Hugo (2015). The Graphic Novel: An Introduction. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 137. 
  36. ^Comic Books, Tragic Stories: Will Eisner’s American Jewish History, Volume 30, Issue 2, AJS Review, 2006, p. 284
  37. ^Arnold, Andrew D. (2003-11-21). "A Graphic Literature Library – TIME.comix responds". Retrieved 2006-06-21. . WebCitation archive
  38. ^Moore letter, Cerebus 217 (April 1997), Aardvark Vanaheim
  39. ^Lanham, Fritz. "From Pulp to Pulitzer", Houston Chronicle, August 29, 2004. WebCitation archive.
  40. ^Campbell, Eddie (2001). Alec:How to be an Artist (1st ed.). Eddie Campbell Comics. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-9577896-3-0. 
  41. ^"2000-2010 Graphic novels". 
  42. ^Notable exceptions have become the German and Spanish speaking populaces who have adopted the US derived comic and cómicos respectively. The traditional Spanish term had previously been tebeo ("strip"). The likewise German expression Serienbilder ("serialized images") has, unlike its Spanish counterpart, become obsolete. The term "comic" is used in the other European countries as well, but exclusively to refer to the standard American comic book format.
  43. ^Amazing Heroes, issue 160, March 1989, "Special European Issue!". Having fallen out of favor, the term "Eurocomics" might be misconstrued as derogatory in current understanding, due to its connotations with the popular slang expression "eurotrash" which is derogatory. However, quite the opposite was true at the time, as it was intended by American critics as a means to differentiate European comics from their American counterparts, underscoring the more mature qualities of the former. Graphic novel became the generally used expression for what once had been referred to as "eurocomic".
  44. ^Kavanagh, Barry (October 17, 2000). "The Alan Moore Interview: Northampton / Graphic novel". Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved 2007-03-20.  .
  45. ^"The Term 'Graphic Novel' Has Had A Good Run. We Don't Need It Anymore". 
  46. ^Raeburn, Daniel. Chris Ware (Monographics Series), Yale University Press, 2004, p. 110. ISBN 978-0-300-10291-8.
  47. ^Bender, Hy (1999). The Sandman Companion. Vertigo. ISBN 978-1-56389-644-6. 
  48. ^Rogers, Vaneta. "Behind the Page: Jeff Smith, Part Two", Newsarama, February 26, 2008. WebCitation archive.
Sabre (1978), one of the first modern graphic novels. Cover art by Paul Gulacy.

The 1987 U.S. (left) and 1995 U.S./UK/Canada (right) collected editions of Watchmen, published by DC Comics and Titan Books, respectively.