zondag 10 april 2011

A graphic what?... ("Een graphic novel? Nee nog nooit van gehoord." )

Allright! Step back! I realized that I actually never gave a real definition of the term 'Graphic Novel'. So I owe you I guess! I'll try to get to a good definition as best as I can, since I've seen a lot of different definitions in the last years. And as the graphic novel is a rising medium in the Netherlands not everybody is yet acquainted with the term.


The 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. (from the Oxford English Dictionary, I find this the best definition).
As much media do, the comic developed itself during the sixties and from there on. With the new millennium, the graphic novel rose in popularity in the Netherlands, and the term was adopted. But...! The term got adopted, as well as adapted. I find it very annoying when these situations occur in the Netherlands. It makes it hard to get to a well definition. Eddie Campbell also encountered this problem and formulated his Graphic Novel Manifesto (Thank you Eddie!). Because the term is now used to explain that comics are no longer just for kids but for the big audience. The graphic novel marked the adultery of the comic. And here's another definition that is used: "A graphic novel is a layered story, wrapped in compelling images." Themes vary from autobiography, humour, war, fantasy, love, music, philosophy and so on, and often in a literary style aimed at the adult reader. 

Here are some interesting links as well (Dutch and English):
http://www.lambiek.net/aanvang/2000graphicnovel.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphic_novel 
http://web.archive.org/web/20080603041720/http://www.graphicnovels.brodart.com/history.htm 

For my research I'll also read the following literature and articles:

  • A Comic-Book World, Stephen E. Tabachnick, march-april 2007
  • The rise and reason of comics and graphic literature, McFraland & Company, september 2010
  • Understanding comics, Scott McCleod, 1994
  • Using Graphic Novels, Anime, and the Internet in an Urban High School, Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher, january 2004

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