The Surge of Graphic Novels
May 24, 2011
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.
If you haven’t noticed yet, MCPL has begun collecting these Adult Graphic Novels in its collection. They are distinctly different from our teen graphic novels, which tend to be more superhero related or manga. There has been increased demand for these graphic novels recently, and just as MCPL has opened its catalog to eBooks, the library has given a home to this literary medium as well. There has been controversy about adult graphic novels and their place in the public library, but I find them to be a valid and unique medium of expression.
Hollywood is to blame for the recent rabid popularity of graphic novels. Movies like 300, V For Vendetta, Sin City, and Watchmen are all based on graphic novels. However, graphic novels have been around much longer than just a few years. Throughout the 1900s, graphic novels have been published branching away from their comic book counterparts. They have won critics’ acclaim, and some have won literary awards. In fact, Maus by Art Spiegelman won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992.
As manga has grown in popularity, so have the adult graphic novels. Many mainstream authors are cashing in on the opportunity to gain even more readers. You will recognize a lot of the author’s names like James Patterson, Laurel K. Hamilton, Dean Koontz, and Janet Evanovich. Some have escaped the limelight of popular fiction such as Brian Vaughan and Alcante.
Graphic novels are a unique way to tell a story, and illustrators can use colors in a variety of ways to exude certain feelings that an author wants to convey. Picto-fiction, as it used to be called, is an exciting way to get readers into books again. A 1000 page hardcover book can be transformed into a 6 volume mini-series of graphic novels, which is much less daunting. In a way, these graphic novels bridge the gap between books and movies by creating a vivid hybrid of the two media. Many of the works include social and political commentary as well.
I hope you take the opportunity to explore these new additions to the library’s collection.
Blue Springs South Branch