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Why Graphic Novels?

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What are your thoughts about the differences between comics and graphic novels? What are your favorite and least favorite? Why? Graphic novels proved the favorite reading fare of my struggling student readers this year. For that reason, I recently allowed my students to each pick one to read for an end-of-year project. Not only did I read all the books that they choose, but I read a few extras too. I'd love your feedback!
#1 - May 11, 2013, 08:00 AM

Poster Plus
Comics and graphic novels are great way for kids to get excited about reading. With the illustrations they are akin to picture books and make the experience far more interactive. Essentially comics and graphic novels are the same thing falling into the category of sequential visual storytelling and both are mediums which are near and dear to me. I get a charge out of seeing that more and more schools, libraries, etc. are incorporating these materials into reading and educational programs. They have far more to offer than the stereotypically viewed superhero in spandex  :haha

Comics are great for single short form stories (one-shots), rolling out a story arc over a few months to build anticipation, excitement, etc. or to keep a well known character such as Batman or Spiderman going strong and in the public eye on a monthly basis year after year. Graphic novels allow the creator(s) to tell their entire story from beginning to end, introduce many characters and weave complex tales all in one volume. One of the big advantages to this, especially for kids, is that there is no wait time to discover how a story may evolve and conclude. The complete adventure is right there in their hot little hands! For the monthly comics there are also trade paperbacks which collect story arcs in their entirety and are nice companions to graphic novels.

As I've grown up my tastes have obviously changed and I am not a huge fan of superhero books any longer. There is a wealth of comics and graphic novels out there spanning every genre from mystery to science fiction to romance and my hope is that kids, kids-at-heart and adults who think comics are for kids only will soon discover that.
#2 - May 14, 2013, 09:10 AM
World's Crummiest Umbrella (2014, Wandering in the Words Press)


The best book ABOUT comics and graphic novels I've ever read is Understanding Comics. The author does a great job explaining the secret language of sequential art storytelling.

And while not appropriate for young students, my favorite graphic novel has to be The Watchmen.
#3 - May 15, 2013, 11:26 AM


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