Tag Archives: entertainment

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.

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David Bowie Was an Oddity

Today, David Bowie passed away after an eighteen month battle with cancer. It was completely unexpected. No one knew he was sick. He even released an album just a few days ago. I can’t say I was a fan of his, but he’s the kind of person that can affect or influence pretty much anyone in some way.

When I was a kid, and I saw him on TV, there was some kind of attraction to his showmanship. He was strange. He was an oddity. And the fact that many of his songs had something to do with space just made him even more of an attractive singer and musician. I loved space, and he was just one really weird person who kept appearing on TV. I may have only been around five, six, or seven years old, but whenever I was asked who my favourite singer was, I’d say David Bowie. Not because I liked his music, but because he was weird.

And now he is gone. Many people I know were taken by complete surprise. He had this image that was immortal. He wasn’t supposed to die. He’s supposed to live forever. Of course, that’s not possible, but he just gave off that feeling.

I thought this song of his was kind of appropriate for today.

Goodbye, Starman. You were a space oddity.

Questions I Want to Answer with Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding is a big task, and there are many things to consider. You can go into as much detail as you want, depending on the scope of your story. You could involve an entire world, or you can keep it to a small pocket of a continent. Whichever it is, you have to answer some questions.  Here are some questions I’d like to answer:

  • Is there skiing?
  • Where do they go on vacation?
  • Where do children play?
  • What kind of literature do they read?
  • Is there any kind of popular music?
  • In that case, are there any idols that young people watch?
  • What kind of weapon do they use for hunting?
  • What kind of fashion trends are there?
  • What are the strange local delicacies that outsiders think are disgusting?
  • Do they go to museums?

These seem a bit random, but they could come up when writing a story, both fantasy and science fiction. You often have to consider the more obscure facts that may not even be normally thought of.

Can you think of any other questions?

Going to a Theme Restaurant

Last month, a new restaurant opened in Yamato, just north of Fujisawa, the city I live in. It’s a dinosaur themed restaurant. While my sister is here, we’re going to eat there.

Japan has a few themed restaurants. There’s a ninja restaurant in Tokyo that you need to reserve more than two weeks ahead. There’s a Gundam themed restaurant in Tokyo, as well.

Have you ever eaten at a themed restaurant?