What is a GRAPHIC NOVEL?
First off: the word “graphic” does not denote graphic as in graphic violence. It simply means ‘visual’ or ‘pictorial‘.
Second: a graphic novel is not necessarily a ‘longer comic book’ about American or Japanese superheroes. Yes, those do exist, and yes, for a comics fan, those longer books are awesome, but, this list will primarily focus on NOVELS that simply happen to be told in a visual format.
Another important thing to note: Graphic Novels are a medium — NOT a genre. In fact, many, many genres appear in the graphic medium. The author simply decided that a graphic format was the best format to communicate their story or topic. For example, there are graphic novels about economics, science, history, etc. And mainstream publishing companies are producing classics such as Shakespeare in graphic format as we speak..
Note: just like in the traditional type-written format, there are many graphic novels to suit all age groups and all tastes. In other words, there are lots of graphic novels with gruesome violence, mature themes, and sexual content — just like there are traditional novels with gruesome violence, mature themes, and sexual content.
So, the bottom line: don’t judge a medium by the first graphic novel you pick up.
Below are some definitions of graphic novels from around the web.
According to Wikipedia:
“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. 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.” — Read more