How to Read a Graphic Novel

Graphic novels can be defined as a narrative piece of sequential art conveying the matter through artsy use of words and images. Generally classified under a broader term ‘comics’, they somewhat follow in the same footsteps, though with time and revival of this disapproved form of entertainment, they now are regaining global recognition amongst the readers, giving them a holistic deal of satisfaction by offering a beginning, middle and end to a story, making it a self contained structure which a comic strip or book fails to provide.

To navigate through a graphic novel you need to do the same as you would with a book and moving through panels ensure you’re on the right flow. Essential building blocks of a graphic novel you need to look out for include: captions, dialogues, text formatting, detailing in the images etc. Captions help you know the setting in which the story revolves and appropriate text formatting convey hidden messages or emotion. All these put together are enough to narrate a strong story to the reader.

Graphic novels have long been in existence and are predecessors to a lot of movies made these days. Directors are more interested in picking up these graphic novels as they offer immediate storyboards and involves little input in that phase of film making, cutting out a major chunk of their job. Graphic literature however fails to find a place among literature lovers as they believe more words are necessary to build up a good story. An important thing to note is that fact that graphic novels have taken a giant step ahead with the kind of content they get across through the words and images. Various sensitive issues like culture, race, war, poverty etc. have contributed to the world’s best known graphic novels.

Moreover, certain arguments hint at graphic novels providing a better experience to the reader. The factors supporting this argument include the possibility of moving through different places, situations at the same time which is not possible through a lengthy piece of text. Graphic novels, like motion pictures enable the reader to move in space with the story at the same time. Silence is an important ingredient to a good story and graphic novels use this ingredient to its vey best by the use of extensively detailed images, suggesting that momentary lapse. For many, to sit through a text to unravel the story seems to be a big task.  In this particular case, a graphic novel keeps the reader more interested as images seem appealing and the reader is able to form an immediate link with the story.

Widely read graphic novels include:

  • Maus by Art Spiegelman
  • Pride of Baghdad by Brian Vaughan
  • Sin City by Frank Miller
  • Earth X by Jim Krueger
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore

Also, a number of graphic novels and supporting reading softwares are available online!

 

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