Have you ever tried to read a Japanese Manga? They’re confusing and quite different from everything you’re used to. Instead of reading left to right in a sensible, comfortable manner, you’re reading from right to left, which, for most people, is completely disorienting.
For those of us who are not readers of graphic novels, the terms “Manga”, “Graphic Novels”, and “Comics” can be very confusing. Is there a difference, and if so what is it? I investigated this question by asking a teen looking through our manga selection. There is, in fact, a difference. This is what I learned.
To start with, a comic is reading material that tells a story in pictures. Comics include what you read in the Sunday funnies, or book compilations of your favorite comics strips.
The most highly anticipated label change our young readers have been asking for is finally here: Juvenile Graphic Novels!! Starting today, we are adding the label JG to the fiction Juvenile Graphics, and are shelving them all together at the beginning of the Juvenile fiction section.
While roving throughout the Library, I came across the Adult Graphic Novels section. And shelved there, I found something quite extraordinary. The Manga Classic Readers series has started converting the world’s favorite classics into graphic novels.
"But aren’t graphic novels for young adults and teens?"
While the graphic novel in general is very popular among the younger audiences, it doesn’t mean that all ages can’t enjoy them. With these graphic novels, you can experience all the modern literature in this new format.
In these days, who has time to read? You’re either running to work, shuffling yourself off to class, getting to kenpo classes just-on-time, hopping to campus club meetings and activities, or a million other things. Or, you may be a more normal person with a still hectic schedule of work, kids, kids' activities, gym, and family time. There just seems to be too little time for fun reading (or even reading that you have to do for class, in my case), and as staff member in a Library, that just seems silly, but it’s true.
My husband is not a reader. In fact, before I started working at the Library (just over a year now), he never read anything except the directions on new gadgets and gizmos we got for Christmas. He is incredibly intelligent, but a bit dyslexic and finds reading to be anything but pleasurable. As an avid reader, I always just chalked this up to an idiosyncrasy about him that, while I didn't fully understand, I could certainly live with.
"I don’t like reading!" "Reading is boring!" These are some of the comments I heard as a reading tutor. Reluctant readers balk when asked to read a full page of text; they feel overwhelmed before they begin.
Getting these readers interested in reading is a challenge. While tutoring, I successfully used a tool which you can find in our library – and it’s free! If you would like to help a reluctant reader or you would like a new reading experience yourself, look into graphic novels.
In 1971, Gil Kane and Archie Goodwin wrote and illustrated Blackmark, a novel that combined comic art with word balloons in an adult format. It was not the first book to use the term "graphic novel", but has since been agreed upon as the first graphic novel.