Tag Archives: comics

Authors Answer 102 – Graphic Literature

Comic books and graphic novels are very popular. Both children and adults read them. There are comics for children, comics and graphic novel for adults. Although they are filled with pictures, they encourage people to read. But are they literature?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 102 – Do you consider comic books and graphic novels to be legitimate forms of literature?

Linda G. Hill

I’ve never actually read one, but why not?

Elizabeth Rhodes

Yes. They are legitimate storytelling mediums with their own styles. The presence of illustration does not change this. Comics have a history of not being taken seriously, but I don’t think anyone who still holds on to this view has taken a look at a comic or graphic novel from recent times. The mediums have come a long way.

D. T. Nova

Graphic novels, absolutely so.

There’s more of a continuum than a sharp definition of distinct categories, so whether most comics are “literature” has at least as much to do with definitions as it does with “legitimacy”.

Paul B. Spence

Literature? I suppose. I think they are legitimate ways to tell stories, but then so are video games and movies. Not sure I’d call any of them literature…

Gregory S. Close

Yes, but like any medium, some of it is better than others.  My fatigue with comic books and graphic novels began in my teen years, mostly around the depiction of women.  While there certainly are great female comic book characters, in general they are treated as Big Boobs in Spandex and it’s just so objectifying.  I noticed it more once I had daughters and realized how the female heroes were portrayed compared to their male counterparts.  I think changes are happening, but slowly, and the industry needs to do more with its female heroes (maybe starting with clothing them more, so that their appeal is based on character and not sex appeal).

Eric Wood

I do. I think they tell a story through image dialogue. It’s not a genre I ever got into, but I do believe they count as literature.

C E Aylett

I’m afraid I don’t consider them at all. They just don’t interest me. I don’t read them – I’m still unsure as to whether graphic refers to pictures or porn! LOL.

However, I don’t like using terms such as ‘legitimate’ when it comes to areas like this. It smacks of elitism, that one particular group can make a judgement call on behalf of the rest of us in accordance to rules they made up towards their specific tastes.

What we’re really talking about is the term ‘literature’ to mean a form of written art. (Technically, all texts that form and communicate ideas are literature!)

Graphic literature is so hybrid I don’t think you can make a judgement in such direct terms. The rules that apply to visual art or literary art cannot be applied to both in the same way. Graphic literature is an art all of its own and any ‘legitimacy’ should be one form of it ranked against another in the same form. A bit like commercial vs literary novels.

At a push, I guess I would compare graphic literature more in line with film. So, is script writing considered a ‘legitimate’ form of literature?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Absolutely, yes. They are obviously a very different form of literature, being that the vast majority of the written words are dialogue, with the rest of the necessary information being portrayed by the imagery, but literature none-the-less.

Comics and graphic novels aim to do exactly the same thing that traditional novels do: tell a story. And to be quite honest, I’ve read some comics and graphic novels that accomplished that goal much more successfully than some traditional novels I’ve read.

Also, my personal opinion is that reading is a good thing regardless of the exact specifics of the material, so if someone wants to spend their time reading comics…go for it! It’s all literacy!

Beth Aman

They are definitely valid forms of story-telling.  Literature?  Who cares about literature.  If you have a story to tell, tell it in the best way you can.  If that’s a comic book or graphic novel, then there you go.

Jean Davis

I suppose so. Can’t say that I’m a big fan of either, but I have enjoyed one or the other from time to time. If pictures help get people reading, I’m not going to debate about the legitimacy.

H. Anthe Davis

About half of my recorded Goodreads entries are graphic novels or manga, so I absolutely consider them literature.  Setting aside such materials as the X-Men or the Justice League, which most people think of when the idea of comic books crops up, there’s the Sandman series — which won a literary award that was subsequently clarified to be not-for-comic-books — and such materials as Persepolis, Maus and Zahra’s Paradise, which tackle serious memoir- and literary issues that just happen to be best shown through illustration.  Sure, there are plenty of throwaway superhero stories in the genre — but 90% of every genre is throwaway crap.  Comics’ throwaway crap is just more visible because the visuals make them easier to translate to the screen, and the somewhat disjointed stories are more easily massaged into screenplays to support whatever the movie studios want.  Just like it’s hard to find literary mysteries under the pile of James Pattersons, it can be hard to find literary comics under the pile of Avengers and Batman — but they exist.

Jay Dee Archer

In general, I’ll say yes. Maybe my definition of literature is a bit broad, though. I consider it any form of print that use words to convey a story or a message, just as long as it isn’t just a scrap of paper. It should be a book, at least. Even short ones. But if I were to narrow my definition down to books that are written to tell a great story rather than to simply entertain, then it depends. There are a lot of comics that merely entertain and don’t even tell a story. Garfield, for example, although I love it, probably wouldn’t be considered literature. However, something like Sandman would be considered literature.

How about you?

Do you think comic books and graphic novels are literature? Let us know in the comments below.

Ben Affleck as Batman?

I think that when Ben Affleck was announced as being the next Batman, most people were incredibly skeptical. I was worried that whenever I saw him as Bruce Wayne, I’d keep thinking that’s Ben Affleck, not Bruce Wayne. Well, after watching the trailers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I have to say that I’m rather optimistic about this now.

Everyone thought Michael Keaton would be a terrible Batman, since he did mostly comedy. But his Batman turned out to be my favourite. I also liked Val Kilmer’s Batman. The others after that? Well, I didn’t see Christian Bale’s, so I’m not sure how to react to him. But George Clooney was a terrible Batman.

The comments I’m seeing now about Ben Affleck’s Batman is that this is the comic book Batman, and it’s very good. The action, the attitude, it’s all Bruce Wayne and Batman from the comics and Arkham Knight video game. Looking forward to this!

What do you think? Leave your comments below.

The New Batman v Superman Trailer

Back when I was a kid, I watched the Superman movies religiously. I wore a cape! A Superman cape!

In 1989, I saw the Batman movie and thoroughly enjoyed Michael Keaton’s version of Batman, and Jack Nicholson’s Joker. Amazing stuff. I liked Val Kilmer’s Batman, too. But then things fell apart, and we had several mediocre to terrible Batman movies. And then came Christian Bale and his rendition, which I haven’t seen.

I did see Superman Returns, though. Not very satisfied with that one. Nor have I see Man of Steel yet, but I do know that the events in that movie lead up to this: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I have seen the trailers and teasers. I have seen Wonder Woman. And all of this brought back memories of a huge colouring book I had of the Justice League superheroes. I was a DC Comic superhero fan, not a Marvel superhero fan (except Spider-Man).

But then, last week, a new trailer came out. And here it is:

Let me just say that I’m a kid again. The final scene in this trailer had me excited. While the characters are different than my childhood heroes and villains, seeing all three of these superheroes on screen at the same time was amazing. Everyone raves about The Avengers, but The Justice League is where my heart is.

And thank you, Ben Affleck, for not overdoing the Batman voice like Christian Bale did. You definitely have the better voice. And Jesse Eisenberg is a wild Lex Luthor. This will be entertaining.

What did you think of the trailer?

Do You Read Comics?

I blog about books. But I never talk about comics. Comics are books. But I’m not a big reader of them. I know there are some very good comics, many of which have become TV series or movies. The Walking Dead is a big one, but I’ve never read it.

I tend to only read Garfield these days. Occasionally, I look at Bizarro or The Far Side, too. But I’ve been reading Garfield since I was a kid.

When I was a kid, I also read The Transformers comics and watched the cartoon. I read a little of Superman and Batman, but very rarely. And I read the comics in the newspaper all the time.

How about you? Do you read comic books? Which ones do you read?