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Graphic Novels: Home

Graphic novels as we know them today and how they came to be.

History and Background

starburst with 'graphic novel'

  • The term "graphic novel" was first coined by fan historian Richard Kyle in 1964.
  • Although there are some different interpretations as to what defines a graphic novel, Merriam-Webster's definition is generally the most agreed upon: "a fictional story that is presented in comic-format and published as a book."
  • It originated from the well-known comic strips and cartoon compilation books of the 1920s, but it became a unique genre of distinction within the 1970s.
  • Graphic novels typically have superheroes serving as the protagonists, but this is not a requirement for a book to be considered as such.
  • Largely, what a graphic novel accomplishes is it captures a complete story from beginning to end that is told primarily through the usage of illustration.

How to Approach Reading a Graphic Novel

  • It's similar to how you would read a comic book or any other novel for that matter: read from left to right, and top to bottom. Instead of relying on text to carry the plot forward, however, you'll be using various visual cues shown in the illustrations to help determine the story's pacing

Graphic Novels Vs. Comic Books

  • Graphic Novels
    • Story is usually limited to one novel at a time
      • That's not always the case: the Watchmen series for example
    • Typically lasts longer than a comic book
  • Comic Books
    • Story is usually just one portion of a much larger narrative told over dozens of comics or more
    • One universe could span over several different comics

Other Works Found at Boreham

Recent Prize Winners

2022 Excellence in Graphic Literature Winners

  • Book of the Year: Himawari House - Harmony Becker

  • Readers' Choice Award: Why She Wrote - Lauren Burke & Hannah Chapman

Different Kinds of Graphic Novels

5 Predominant Types:

  • Manga
    • A style of comic books commonly found in Japanese culture
    • Serves as the primary basis for the majority of anime shows

One Piece: Volume 1

  • Superhero
    • Focuses on these character types through fleshed-out epic sagas
    • Most popular and recognized format within the genre

  • Non-Superhero
    • Captures the everyman, or the common man, of daily life
    • Typically utilized for the author to convey some sort of social commentary

  • Personal Narratives
    • Autobiographical stories often pulled from the writer's experiences

  • Non-Fiction
    • Real-life events as told through illustrated depictions
    • Can also be rooted in the writer's personal experiences

Famous Works of The Genre

Library Resources