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Graphic Novels vs. Comic Books

I’m fairly new to the world of comic books, and I’m really curious in the effect of distinguishing between graphic novels and comics. I have heard the suggestion that graphic novel is a gentrifying term that prioritizes one type of expression over another. Art Spiegelman, for one, dislikes the term graphic novel.

I’m wondering what people more knowledgeable than I am on this topic think about this suggestion.

  • Normally "graphic novels" nowadays are a series of comic books all in one that come out after the first part of a series has finished. So, Deadpool 1-9 would all be together in one huge comic book (hints, also, why they are 30-40$). Rather than buying the separate issues 1-9 for 3$ or so. I don't know if that is a millennial thing that changed it and made it like this. But, I mostly would buy it for that reason. A graphic novel could also be a longer version of a comic book as well, more novel formation rather also. But, I'm not sure what other people think about the topic. I know that comic books more so have issues that come out weekly or monthly. But the art style I assume is also different and etc., which can be explored upon as well. – scole 5 years ago
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  • I think graphic novel as a term also refers to the length as well as the binding of the book itself. Comic books have a kind of lighter and more fragile binding, and are more cheaply made which is how the cost can be as low as it is to sell them. Graphic novels are longer and are usually bound with a paperback or hard back cover in some cases. I think the Westernization of graphic novels is in some part of the influence of manga translations over to the Western world. Just my opinion though. – Nayr1230 5 years ago
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  • A graphic novel may well have a beginning, middle, and end, just as most novels do. It is likely to have narrative completion. Comic books are more likely to have an open ended narrative when you take them as a whole. That is, they do not necessarily constitute a completed whole. It's not just a matter of which is longer (graphic novel versus a comic book or a series of comic books) or that X number of comic books might go together to make a novel. A series of comic books (about a given superhero, for example) could conceivably go on forever. The series may well end not because the hero's story is "finished," but because the artist died, the publisher dropped the series, or the public tired of that hero. – JWHorton 5 years ago
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  • The way I understand it graphic novels are comic narratives that reveal everything from the characters to the message of the story, while comic books use episodic segments to get their point across. – RadosianStar 5 years ago
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