Novel Conversations

What’s the story with Graphic Novels

Graphic novels appear in bookstores and libraries everywhere, and are often seen as adult picture books.  Some readers may recognize them as comics, which are magazine like in appearance whereas graphic novels and Manga are bound like books and serialized.   In Japan, Manga comics appeared and are distinguished as multiple genres aimed at a wide variety of readers.  Manga is one of the biggest sections of the graphic novel genre to date.

They are easily available electronically and exceedingly popular, so much that the sales of digital versions outnumber the print version.

But where did they begin?  Readers today will be familiar with Tintin (1930) and his many adventures or Asterix the Gaul (1961) with his amusing antics.  In 1978 Marvel Comics produced their first graphic novel, The Silver Surfer by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.   Marvel is now synonymous with graphic novels and they are a sought after source for their movie franchise.   You may be surprised to know one of the earliest graphic novels was from 1842 when Rodolphe Toffler published The Adventures of Obadiha Oldbuck.

The Sandman by Neil Gaiman was launched in 1989 and became such a popular series it was bound into ten collections.  This has been one of the most successful graphic novels to date having a large influence over fantasy and graphic novels published since.

Graphic novels provide an essential resource as a bridging book for young adults with lower literacy levels, enticing the reader with a visual story and minimal text.  So if a student struggles with reading a novel, try a graphic novel instead.  Reading is reading!