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Do you consider graphic novels worth reading?


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Graphic novels or comic books are often snubbed by the writing community. I don't understand this because I've read a lot of graphic novels that are just as intellectually stimulating as other books. A good example of this would be the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. What's you're take on this? Do you think they're worth reading?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I do love graphic novels and there are so many classic ones at this point. Off the top of my head, MAUS by Art Spiegelman, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, and Watchmen by Alan Moore are some of the finest works out there. Other graphic novels that I have not read but hope to read one day are Palestine by Joe Sacco and Fun Home by Alison Blechdel because those are amazing authors and artists.

It is however extremely annoying that graphic novels are disregarded because great art and great storytelling should be combined. A great artist has the ability to bring characters to life and convey their thoughts with a single image. Their work is like that of a cinematographer who must learn to evoke emotion through light, color, shadow, and so much more. I really respect artists who tell their own stories and who understand when words and dialogue should be used and when an image can speak for itself.

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I find them worthy to read just as much as any other kind of literature. Mind you, just by calling them "literature" means I have a very good opinion of them. I don't think they are being snubbed as much as they used to, they are increasingly gaining respect - Persepolis is a good example. It's just that they still represent a niche market that publishers aren't interested in tapping into and promoting just yet.

Alan Moore's Watchmen has been mentioned, I'd like to add V for Vendetta and, especially, his masterpiece From Hell, a graphic novel I hold up as one of the great works of literature of the 20th century.

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Yes! I find it interesting that some literature snobs don't appreciate a different artistic medium. That seems a bit narrow-minded for someone who is supposed to have an active imagination.

Neil Gaiman's Sandman is definitely good, as are Alan Moore's V For Vendetta and Watchmen. If you were a fan of The Dark Knight, also check out The Killing Joke by Alan Moore. That's the story that inspired the movie.

Just like literature, graphic novels can add to one's own cultural awareness. To me, that alone makes them important.

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Yes! I find it interesting that some literature snobs don't appreciate a different artistic medium. That seems a bit narrow-minded for someone who is supposed to have an active imagination.

Neil Gaiman's Sandman is definitely good, as are Alan Moore's V For Vendetta and Watchmen. If you were a fan of The Dark Knight, also check out The Killing Joke by Alan Moore. That's the story that inspired the movie.

Just like literature, graphic novels can add to one's own cultural awareness. To me, that alone makes them important.

Exactly! You'd think that literature enthusiasts would applaud the creativity of graphic novels. Unfortunately, a lot of them think these types of reads are not worth their time. Too bad as it makes them no different from hipsters who dislike things just because they are popular.

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  • 2 weeks later...

They are, actually.

I think the misconception falls when we always associate graphic novels with mainstream comics. I've always found graphic novels to contain depth and power through a short span of pages - with a central plot being the focus of the entire literary work, while mainstream comics usually dwell on improving plots through time and through tie-in issues. I'm not saying comics are bad (I'm a huge fan of them), but graphic novels also have their own perks.

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They are, actually.

I think the misconception falls when we always associate graphic novels with mainstream comics. I've always found graphic novels to contain depth and power through a short span of pages - with a central plot being the focus of the entire literary work, while mainstream comics usually dwell on improving plots through time and through tie-in issues. I'm not saying comics are bad (I'm a huge fan of them), but graphic novels also have their own perks.

Yes. The lines between the two tend to get blurred. But there are some that I would still consider as graphic novels despite their length. On of those would be the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. It may be as long as comic books but it's all about the story so I still think it can be classified as a graphic novel.

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Pretty much every other person that I've met who learned English as a second language, credit comic books with luring them in. (I say "every other person" because they've always been boys. Apparently girls are conditioned to just slog through learning another language the non-comic way, or maybe learn by conversational immersion?)

As others have mentioned: Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, and Marjane Satrapi have elevated comic books to a high artistic level. The pulpy funny pages, and superhero comics, they have their place in our culture too... and to snub even the latter just because, reveals the snobbish person's lousy attitude and ignorance more than their personal taste!

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I've never read a graphic novel actually. I mean I've flicked through one for a few seconds but I've never actually fully read it, nor do I know anyone who does. I often wonder where the readership is because they are widely available and these companies must make a profit.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I do think they're worth reading.

It's cool because you get to see what's happening in the book through those illustrations. It's just that novels are more stimulating because we need to imagine whatever's happening.

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I think all types of books are worth reading. Graphic novels may not be the best language studying material, but they are definitely worth reading because it's a part of culture. So in a way, when we read graphic novels in a different language, we're actually studying their culture.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think all types of books are worth reading. Graphic novels may not be the best language studying material, but they are definitely worth reading because it's a part of culture. So in a way, when we read graphic novels in a different language, we're actually studying their culture.

That's a nice way of looking at it. I agree that graphic novels are definitely part of a culture. In a sense, you are getting more than just learning words. I understand what you mean by them not being the best study material though.

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I love reading comics! I think graphics novels is an art, I really admire the writers and the people who are in charge to illustrate the comic book.  I think I have mentioned it before, but just in case I haven't... I love the walking dead comic book, I started to read it since the very beginning and up until now I still read it.  That's how I started to feel interested in the TV show.

I know some people don't consider comics to be a form of writing, but let me tell you that it requires a lot skill to create write a comic story and develop it even further.  I find admirable the work comic book authors do, they have to be in close contact with the people who illustrates the comic to make sure he is interpreting each scene right and so on.  I actually admire the illustrator even more!

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I have nothing against graphic novels. As a youngster I read them a lot and I really don't see why anyone should have anything against these books. It takes a skillful mind to even come up with such details and the writers should be commended.

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  • 2 months later...

I think graphic novels are definitely worth your reading time. Why should it not? Its only difference from your regular books is that it has illustrations. Both a book with only written words and a graphic novel tell a story. And, I think the ability of conveying a story to the reader is the important question.

I actually admire graphic novels because I can only imagine the amount of work inputted to create a story. A person needs to create the story while another person creates the dialog. Some people sketch the artwork, other people create the line art and a different person colors the panels. If I could be honest, I think it is a different type of art form that I truly respect. Not only can my mind feast on the story written in the dialogs, my eyes can also enjoy from the beautiful artwork created by the artists.

Don't get me wrong, I also salute those who writes novels. Putting a world with just using words is also hard work.

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Of course they are! I love graphic novels. Actually, I am a huge fan. For me, graphic novels are the same as other novels. The only difference is that you can really see what is happening. It's a real treat when the illustrations are very well done.  :wink:

I suggest the following: Scott Pilgrim, Batman: The Long Halloween, and Kingdom Come. They are totally worth reading.

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  • 2 weeks later...

People who disregard graphic novels aren't worth your time! There are so many masterpieces out there. I won't waste time mentioning them all as many here have already named some great ones like V for Vendetta, etc.

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  • 2 months later...

I think some graphic novels are worth reading for their plots and their art. They can be intellectually stimulating and are often times much more entertaining to read than comparable novels, as well as being more approachable.

However, I don't consider them to be useful for improving English, which is one of my primary reasons for reading anything. I want to see the author's mastery of the English language and I want to learn from it. I want to pick up aspects of their writing style to add to mine, as well as learn new vocabulary. A good plot or an interesting topic simply make this process more enjoyable to me. That being said, I think the very nature of graphic novels prevents them from being as valuable a resource for practicing and improving English as traditional literature. And yes, you could theoretically learn from graphic novels, but reading high-quality newspapers or classics is a much more efficient use of your time.

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I definitely consider graphic novels worth reading, and I think more and more readers have started to realize that in the past 20 years or so. I personally didn't read many comics when I was a kid, but my sophomore year of college a friend forced me to read Watchmen and Batman: Year One and I was hooked for life. My favorite comic authors are Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, and Grant Morrison, though there are plenty of other people who I read.

I think the main stumbling block a lot of people have with comics is that "mainstream" comics are the super-hero genre and the genres that people are familiar with from other types of fiction are generally considered to be "alternative" and, with the exception of a handful of fantasy and horror comics, are generally harder to find in (or completely missing from) most comic shops. If I'm trying to convince someone that something is worth reading, I usually try to see what genres the enjoy from other art forms and get them a comic that matches their tastes. So someone who likes Tim Powers novels will get something by Alan Moore, someone who reads urban fantasy will get Fables or Sandman, a fan of relationship dramas gets Strangers in Paradise, the Hunter S. Thompson fan gets Transmetropolitan, etc. That way they can get used to the art form with a genre they already like and branch out into the wider and weirder world of comics from there.

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I don't have much exposure with graphic novels. While I've only skimmed a few of them, I definitely would agree that it can be worth reading. In not reading them, I've never considered that I'm snubbing them, really. I've always just taken it as a genre that is not my most preferred. In my mind, a person who is an avid reader is someone who can read anything without bias. The greatest result of reading to me is that it helps someone broaden his mind/perspective. Snobbery just don't go hand in hand with having a broad mind. It is just a preference issue, nothing more. Heck, I think I'm the only person I know in my circle who reads those super tiny prints of annulment cases published in our local dailies.

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It's definitely a different kind of reading, and kind of an acquired taste. Unfortunately the "taste" for it can be difficult to acquire because there are far too many comics that don't properly take advantage of the medium. A lot of current writers in particular seem to miss the point that a comic should tell a story with words AND pictures. When the page is full of huge blocks exposition and dialog and the characters are mostly standing around until the action scene, it kind of misses the point. The writer is basically writing a novel and letting the artist handle the difficult-to-describe parts. Older comics tend to be much better at using the combination of words and pictures to their fullest, but the stories tend to be kind of simplistic and hokey. The best bang for the buck in my opinion is Frank Miller's work up until 300, probably because he's both an artist and a writer (and hadn't gone crazy yet). Miller's art has a kinetic energy and tone that allows him to tell the basic story completely in pictures, but he knows how to add just the right amount of text to supplement the story and make it more meaningful without relegating the art to a secondary element. 

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  • 1 month later...

I think that anything is worth reading if it equips the reader with information. People have different tastes when it comes to the content they enjoy reading. Someone could get surprised if they read and enjoy a book they thought they wouldn’t like. Keeping an open mind is what is important.

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