Graphic Novels are now recognized as an integral part of any library collection. Not only do they serve as a bridge between traditional literature and students who may be struggling to read, they also develop essential visual literacy skills. A Graphic Novel is a stimulating and accessible medium for complex story telling.
Graphic Story Telling and the New Literacies: an interview with the NCTE Educator Peter Gutierrez.
A lot of critical attention has been focused recently on how to adapt education to encompass new digital technologies and modes of receiving information. There’s no question that today’s students are living in—and interacting with— More...
Scott Robins on a parents guide to the best comics for kids.
Toronto librarian Scott Robins recently teamed up with writer Snow Wildsmith to release A Parent's Guide to the Best Kids' Comics, a remarkably thorough guide to all the graphic novels currently available for young readers. More than a simple rundown of titles, the book carefully indexes content and age-appropriateness and provides useful synopses. More...
Reasons to read graphic novels: More...
Just a few favourite authors and illustrators.
From left to right: Alan Moore: V for Vendetta & The Watchmen, Robert Kirkman: The Walking Dead, Frank Miller: The 300 & Sin City
Stan Lee: Spider man & the Hulk, Neil Gaiman: Coraline & Sandman
Written by J.R.R. Tolkien. Adapted by Charles Dixon and Sean Deming. Illustrated by David Wenzel.
Written by Khaled Hosseini. Illustrated by Fabio Celoni and Mirka Andolfo.
Written by Robert Muchamore. Adapted by Ian Edginton. Illustrated by John Aggs.
Written by Jane Austen. Adapted by Nancy Butler. Illustrated by Sonny Liew.
Written by Terry Pratchett. Adapted by Scott Rockwell. Illustrated by Graham Higgins.
Written by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by P. Craig Russell.
Written by William Shakespeare. Illustrated & Adapted by Neil Babra.
Written by Jane Austen. Adapted by Tony Lee & Seth Graham-Smith. Illustrated by Cliff Richards.
Written by Rick Riorden. Adapted by Robert Venditti. Illustrated by Attila Futaki & Jose Villarrubia.
Written by O. T. Nelson. Adapted by Dan Jolly . Illustrated by Joelle Jones.
Written by Eoin Colfer Adapted by Andrew Donkin. Illustrated by Giovanni Rigano.
Written by Scott Westerfeld. Adapted by Devin Grayson. Illustrated by Steven Cummings.
Written by Anthony Horowitz. Adapted by Antony Johnston. Illustrated by Kanako Damerum.
Written by Stephen King, Story adapted by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Illustrated by Mike Perkins.
A Brief History of the Graphic Novel
by Stan Tychinski
In 1978, Marvel Comics produced the first original mass-market trade paperback graphic novel, THE SILVER SURFER, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Lee and Kirby were paid standard rates for their work, but Marvel reaped all the profit. Later that year, Eclipse Comics released SABRE by Don McGregor and Paul Gulacy. Sabre, a science-fiction adventure story, was the first graphic novel that granted full copyright ownership and sales royalties to its creators. Other major creator graphic novels also released around this time were A CONTRACT WITH GOD by Will Eisner (the first creator owned and published graphic novel) and ELFQUEST by Wendy and Richard Pini (the first creator owned series to receive mass market distribution in mainstream bookstores).
1985 saw the release of DC Comics' THE WATCHMEN by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Watchmen was notable as being the first collected series graphic novel, spinning out of a new comics vehicle called the limited series, which were designed to only last a finite number of issues. This limited series concept would prove to be a major factor in today's collected series graphic novels. WATCHMEN remains one of the most best-selling graphic novels of all time, continuing to make top ten sales lists over 20 years later.
Meanwhile, many of the artists from the underground comics were becoming involved in self-publishing graphic novels. Art Spiegleman, whose work first appeared in 'Raw', released MAUS: A SURVIVOR'S TALE. MAUS, the biographical story of Spiegleman's parents in World War 2 during the Holocaust, was nominated for several literary awards, and in 1992 received a special Pulitzer Prize.
Arguably the most successful graphic novel series in the United States so far has been Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN series, published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint. Collecting the original comic book series into book form, there are currently 10 volumes with estimated sales of over one million copies.
Today, graphic novels are an increasingly important part of comic book publishing. Along with a growing market for import books like Manga, traditional bookstores and libraries are carrying larger selections of graphic novels. With an ever-shrinking base of direct comic shops to sell from, publishers are finding that packaged collections (trade paperbacks) are very appealing to mainstream bookstores & libraries. Comic readers now "wait for the trade", because many of today's comics are produced in "story-arcs", basically limited series within the actual comic series' run. Many of these arcs are produced by big-name industry writers & artists, anxious to do a story about Batman or Spiderman, but unable to commit long-term to any given series. These "made-for-trade" five or six issue runs are usually collected into book form very soon after the final issue is released, and many of the trades feature expanded story or bonus features, similar to DVD packaging.
The success of such films as Spiderman & X-Men has led to Hollywood movie studios seeking out other comic related material. Films such as 300, V FOR VENDETTA, and soon WATCHMEN, all based on original comics & graphic novel series, have favorably increased the general public's awareness and opinion of comic books. Other non-mainstream creators such as Dan Clowes (Ghost World) and Harvey Pekar (American Splendor) have seen their graphic novels turned into critically acclaimed motion pictures. As current media interest continues to focus on comic books and related series, the popularity of the graphic novel will continue to grow. The time has come for graphic novels to take their place as valid literature in the World.
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