Graphic Novels

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Tron
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Joined: April 9th, 2015, 8:02 pm

Re: Graphic Novels

Postby Tron » March 6th, 2016, 2:37 am

What's the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel? Seems like the same?

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scotland
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Re: Graphic Novels

Postby scotland » March 6th, 2016, 7:24 am

A modern graphic novel collects comics like a half season of a tv show. It is also a term the industry took on to show the picture book medium can tell more than kid friendly stories, and at more than kid friendly prices.

Up until the mid 1970s, comics were just small periodicals sold in spinner racks or wherever magazines were sold. Every part of the system had flaws and limitations, including encouraging comic book storytellers to create short stories with only slowly changing status quos, and all had to be for a general family friendly audience.

All the many problems led to mail order wholesalers and to a blossoming of dedicated comic book shops. Among the many changes that happened because of this was the graphic novel. The term began with one idea, but quickly became another.

The original idea was never before published material in a bound book format. Books like Death of Captain Marvel launched the concept, and became successful. In the mid 80s, books like Batman Returns and The Killing Joke were big events.

This idea gave way to being first collectible short lived comics and then bound as books. The graphic novels became high quality collections of previously published comics, often about 6 issues long. These have a literally much longer shelf life than comics, and storytellers try to tell a complete story, within an ongoing series, in about 6 issues. Comic collections existed before comic book stores, as books (Son of Origins) or magazines (often Holiday specials) or small digests (Blue Ribbon), but now it was organized from the start. That the comics would be collected and bound was expected and written with that in mind. Even by the mid 80s, the 12 issue series Watchmen, which was published as comics, always had a single book length graphic novel collection in mind.

With readership of comics relatively low, the collections are very popular. The market can be segmented easily, so darker stories can be told (so popular, it seems to have at the cost of telling lighter stories) The Walking Dead collections are probably far more popular than the original comics they are reprinting. Individual comics have become collectibles, and are often 'slabbed', meaning made unreadable. Graphic novels, as a reprint concept, are not nearly as collectible.

Tron
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Joined: April 9th, 2015, 8:02 pm

Re: Graphic Novels

Postby Tron » March 11th, 2016, 6:22 pm

Thanks for the answer Scotland. I guess I've read graphic novels and always thought they were just comic books. I need to check out the Watchmen comics. I loved the movie.

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scotland
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Re: Graphic Novels

Postby scotland » March 11th, 2016, 7:16 pm

Watchmen in the mid 80s was an event. We read them, discussed them, it was wonderful. Many of us jumped on after the first few issues, and DC kept reprinting earlier issues. This was the dawn of collecting too, so a 1st printing was worth more, etc. The bound graphic novel is probably in every comics collection worth the name. Its one of the few I go back and reread.

Seek out a copy, in a library or used book store. The movie was amazingly faithful, but its still different as a graphical experience, and there is more stuff in the graphic novel too. Moore, whatever you think of him, has a point that you absorb a graphic novel differently - its not necessarily linear for one thing.

It was a watershed event for me and DC comics. I was mostly a Marvel guy before, but between Watchmen and Crises on Infinite Earths they really began a new chapter of seeking out DC comics.


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