Graphic novel

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A graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in either an experimental design or in a traditional comics format.[1] The term is employed in a broad manner, encompassing non-fiction works and thematically linked short stories as well as fictional stories across a number of genres.[2]

Graphic novels are typically bound in longer and more durable formats than familiar comic magazines, using the same materials and methods as printed books, and they are generally sold in bookstores and specialty comic book shops rather than at newsstands. Such books have gained increasing acceptance as desirable materials for libraries which once ignored comic books.

Contents

Definition

The evolving term graphic novel is not strictly defined and is sometimes used, controversially, to imply subjective distinctions in artistic quality between graphic novels and other kinds of comics. It suggests a complete story that has a beginning, middle and end, as opposed to an ongoing series. It can also imply a story that is outside the genres commonly associated with comic books, or that deals with more mature themes. It is sometimes applied to works that fit this description even though they are serialized in traditional comic book format. The term is sometimes used to disassociate works from the juvenile or humorous connotations of the terms comics and comic book, implying that the work is more serious, mature, or literary than traditional comics.

Following this reasoning, the French term Bande Dessinée is occasionally applied, by art historians and others schooled in fine arts, to dissociate comic books in the fine-art tradition from those of popular entertainment, even though in the French language the term has no such connotation and applies equally to all kinds of comic strips and books. However, the medium of bande dessinée is considered a generally more respectable, at times even "high" art form in both France and Belgium, while in the United States "comics" are often considered but "low" popular mass entertainment.

In the publishing trade, the term graphic novel is sometimes extended to material that would not be considered a novel if produced in another medium. Collections of comic books that do not form a continuous story, anthologies or collections of loosely related pieces, and even non-fiction are stocked by libraries and bookstores as "graphic novels" (similar to the manner in which dramatic stories are included in "comic" books). It is also sometimes used to create a distinction between works created as stand-alone stories, in contrast to collections or compilations of a story arc from a comic book series published in book form.[3][4]

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