Why Graphic Novels
Graphic novels are comics. As much as DC comics and Marvel want to persuade you otherwise, graphic novels are just a marketer's ploy to make more money. Why do comic book companies feel the need to market comics as something different?
Well, for some reason, society has labeled comic books as young adult literature. It's as if comics are shunned to a second tier rating, for lack of a better term, and buried underneath the "real talented arts" of books, movies, and even magazines.
I remember, I was on a break at work one day and I pulled out a JLA comic book and started reading. One of my co-workers asked, "Why are you reading such nonsense? It's something my child would read."
I looked over at her and she had a magazine sprawled out in front of her. I half laughed.
"I think my comic is a hell of lot more interesting than that People Magazine you've got stashed over there. How’s Lindsay Lohan doing these days anyway?" I said.
See the irony there? Where freakin People Magazine is more socially acceptable than a comic? Are you kidding me? People Magazine is a place where mediocre authors write about crappy celebrities and their latest boyfriend/girlfriend squabbles. Doesn't that make you sick?
Apparently, the majority of people think of comics as a simple 1940s Superman flick, where the superhero fights the villain and saves the girl. They think they are for geeks and nerds who sit around and play dungeons and dragons all day.
I'm here to say that's not what comic books are all about. Sure there are eccentric fans, who are borderline obnoxious, but that happens in every medium. For example, Star Wars and Star Trek fans fall into the same catergory. They are pretty nuts, but people don't automatically throw every movie fan into those stereotypes do they? No, those particular groups of people are just obsessive fans of a particular movie and genre. Comics are no different. In the world of comics, there are all sorts of genres out there ranging from simple to complex, shallow to deep, awful to brilliant.
Both comics and graphic novels can inspire you one minute and turn you off the next. It's like any other form of entertainment venue.
Comics verses Books and Movies
To say motion pictures and books are better than graphic novels is completely ridiculous. Is it because of the geeky stigma of comic books? Well, let me ask you this, isn't watching movies kind of nerdy? I mean, you sit around and watch a fantasy world filled with dazzling special effects and make-believe characters, right?
Let's take the movie Avatar for instance. It just surpassed Titanic as the largest grossed movie of all time. We were all awed by the 3D experience of some distant fairytale land about dragons and blue aliens, right? I don't know about you but that sounds pretty nerdy and geeky to me. How about books? Isn't there a term for people who read a lot? I think there is, a bookworm perhaps? It's usually associated with nerdyness, is it not?
As for the "comics are for children" argument, let me lay this to rest once and for all. That assumption is wrong and is an insult to the entire comic book community. Comic books aren't competing with Disney or Warner Brothers. Just like books and movies, graphic novels are geared toward any age groups and demographics.
In fact, even the so called kids comics such as Batman, Superman, and Spider Man comic book series contain a lot of adult themes. Regardless, there are loads and loads of graphic novels out there that are specifically geared for adults and would have a 'R' rating if it were a movie.
Comic Books in Perspective
In my opinion, comics provide the best of both worlds. Movies are limited because the audience can't hear the inner voice of the character. Books are limited because the reader cannot physically see what the writer envisions.
In a comic book you have the storyteller or comic book writer, who provides depth and inner thought for every character. Then there is the artist who sets the tone and imagery to each scene and panel. The quality of the comic book rests on the shoulders of both the writer and the artist.
Graphic novels are intellectually stimulating, visually captivating, and cheap. To sum it up, comics provide the best quality entertainment that money can buy. So the next time you are in a bookstore and you see the comic book section, don't look down on them as if they are geeky or the next Curious George book. Take a peek. I promise you there is something in there that will spark your interest. Who knows, you may even run into my new comic book series, Lunar Works' Wulvern.
Jonny on June 08, 2012:
A perfect example of an adult series of graphic novels would be Transmetropolitan. That is definitely not intended for children.
Joe on June 01, 2012:
If you don't read, you can't read a graphic novel! How can it be for somebody who doesn't read?
Lostinky from Kentucky on April 17, 2012:
My boys struggled with Romeo and Juliet until I found it redone using graphic style. I found using graphic novels open up a new whole library to my reluctant readers. We have read several novels and short stories redone in graphic style such as classics done E. Poe, M. Twain, C. Dickens and others. Graphic novels have been a great tool in teaching classics.
Heather Henley from Buckfield, Maine on February 22, 2012:
I agree with the author. I read a lot, its one of my favorite activities, and graphic novels are in no way, shape or form for people who don't read often. They are like a novel with (amazing) art work, hence the name "graphic novel". And some of them are certainly too mature for a child's eyes.
LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on May 18, 2011:
Love graphic novels. Nice to be able to delve deeper into your favorite characters. But most of all, to be able to feel like you got enough story for your money.
Charles Fox from United Kingdom on September 17, 2010:
If only they were graphic!
Shari from New York, NY on September 16, 2010:
someday drej you are going to write that classic novel and if not a novel I am still betting on you to get published even if it is a comic.. .or maybe even better a sports writer:)
Tony from At the Gemba on September 16, 2010:
I still prefer the old style DC and Marvel comics over the new graphic novels, but the artwork in some of these is fantastic!
Chris (author) from Atlanta, GA on September 15, 2010:
I'm tryin to get people out of that mindset, Paradise!
I read plenty, trust me. I love books. I say, I read about 8-10 lengthy (like 800 pages or more) novels per year. However, I love graphic novels and there's plenty of great material!
Paradise7 from Upstate New York on September 15, 2010:
Ah, well, I think we'll have to agree to differ on this one. In the words of a library friend of mine--graphic novels are books for people that don't read.