G – Graphic Novels; Crossroads Of Visual And Written Art

I can’t lie.  I’ve never really read any graphic novels.  Not to my memory anyway.  But not too long ago I had a conversation about their literary merits.  The opposing view was that they fall under a different category and don’t “count” – for lack of a better word – as reading or books.  (Mind you, this was with a teacher friend, and I disagree).

In a 2010 article for the ALAN review, assistant professor of English Education at University of Arkansas,Fayetteville, Sean P. Connors defines the professional debate, illustrates common reasons for resistance to including the genre as a viable literary form, and suggests that not only can graphic novels encourage further interest in various literary formats, but also teach high-level thinking, stimulate discussion, and foster appreciation of literary and art forms of various styles.

The truth is graphic novels are like any other creative art – there are good and bad representations that are capable of moving readers, making social commentary, and inspiring reflection and examination of the reader’s life and the world around him or her.

The composition of a graphic novel incorporates all the same elements as traditional literature – character development, plot, theme, tone, point of view, motifs, symbol, etc.  So why shouldn’t it be recognized in the same way that traditional literature is?  In comparison, let’s consider how long it took for the Academy of Motion Pictures to give animated feature film the same recognition as traditional, live action.  And how many of the same points were argued in that debate?




Filed under literacy education, reading, writing

6 responses to “G – Graphic Novels; Crossroads Of Visual And Written Art

  1. you should read one. I read everything. novels and graphic alike. I think we need to look at them as true creative medium and the characterization in them are better than some novels I have read.

    • Jennifer Marshburn

      I’d like to read one, but I don’t know anything about the genre. Do you have any suggestions? I love Tolkien, Harry Potter, and Narnia. But I also love historical fiction, mysteries, and character pieces. I recently heard there is a series of fan fiction in graphic novel form, surrounding Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal, and was thinking of starting there.

  2. lexacain

    It may be that graphic novels will become more popular, since everyone seems to have less time to read and books have to compete with the visual media of film and TV.
    Lexa Cain’s Blog

    • Jennifer Marshburn

      I agree that books competition with film and TV is a big part of graphic novels becoming so much more popular, but I also like the idea of using them as sort of “gateway drug” to instilling a love of literacy. I think prose and graphic literature can and should exist in the same world. They are each there own way of telling a story.

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