Graphic Novels: How They Began

Graphic Novel History: How They Began

The Term Defined

Graphic novels history. The graphic novel, though the term is said to still be very loosely defined, is a collation of comics content presented in book form. Very much like a novel, it has a story. It has a beginning, a middle and an end, all laid down to form one whole canvass (metaphorically) by the end of the last chapter.

Comics books usually have a maximum in length. Some have continuity, the others don’t. But what distinguishes graphic novel from comic books is that the first is a mix of both words and images (much more), just not in periodical format.

The lines a little blurred but we hope to be able to clarify its definition for you.

Early Beginnings

The two have always been confused comics and novel crowded with images. And maybe a lot of us started getting into it because of Neil Gaiman. I mean, come on, Coraline was epic. Both the book and the movie. If you’re a noob to this world, it’s okay. Read on and find out how it all began.

The late 19th century ushered in the world’s first comic strips. Then found in newspapers, they soon gained an audience. Not long after, the first comic books were published in the 1930’s/

It was still unclear to most if comics were to be taken as an art form or not. If it could be classified as literature or simply drawings. More than this debate at the time though, comics began evolving. From main humor to action, science fiction, and adventure, people found a way to momentarily escape reality through these cartoon masterpiece.

Also, artists found that it was easier to address different world issues through humor, satire, and whimsy. Comics was the avenue that would best support this. With “A Contract With God, and Other Tenement Stories” by Eisner and many others also paved the way for more serious genres.

Further down the line, the likes of 1986’s Watchmen by Alan Moore became predecessors in that shift in genre, as well. A narrative style set apart this medium from its similar counterparts. Its language is eloquent and elegant. Even the drawings have more depth and detail.

Before anyone knew it, the media took notice of the uniqueness of this type of literature. The hype around it began to grow and continues to grow today.

Popular Graphic Novels For the First-Time Reader

1. Coraline

A notable classic, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline has received much acclaim because of the beautiful storytelling and he does, through beautiful illustrations. P. Craig Russell has done phenomenally in adapting it to graphic novel artistry.

The book follows a little girl who finds herself in an environment similar to her own, only more stunning. However, the people there are different from the ones shes knows in her own world. She goes through adventure after adventure to find her way back home. Both Gaiman and Russell have created a bestseller that can be read by children and adults alike.

2. The Alchemist

Another work of art that belongs to everybody’s bookshelf, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is one that shouldn’t be missed. With an overriding theme of pursuing dreams and being true to the voice within you, it’s a marvelous read indeed. The main character, Santiago, is relatable even if the plot is strewn over fantastical places he ventures to.

Daniel Sampere has made the well-loved novel an exquisite graphic read with his wonderful illustrations.

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