Saturday, May 29, 2010

Weekly Geeks - Graphic Novels

This week's Weekly Geeks questions are about Graphic Novels:
Do you read graphic novels or memoirs? Who are your favorite authors? Which books do you recommend?

If you haven't read any, why not?

Some people have the impression that graphic novels are glorified comic books, are unsophisticated or don't qualify as "serious" literature. What do you think? If you track your book numbers, do you count a graphic novel as a book read?
For myself, no I don't generally read graphic novels, although I do have a few: the Star Wars Rogue Squadron omnibus set, and the first two of the Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. The first ones I have because I've enjoyed the Rogue Sqadron/Wraith Squadron novels. The others because I like the original novels, and I was curious as to how the graphic novels would be in comparison.

However, I don't overall find graphic novels to my taste, and I especially don't understand the current craze for putting existing novels into graphic novel format, though I think the "first time" stories such as Homecoming by Patricia Briggs and the story in the ABVH graphic novels are neat ideas. It just feels like cheating to read a novel in graphic format when it exists as a normal novel. I wonder if the people who read graphic novels of novels will also read the full novel, of if at least some of them will figure they already know the story. On the other hand, there are also those universes that are designed for graphic novels. I do admit that the artwork can be spectacular, which is the main reason I still have the Anita Blake graphic novels.

My problem, at least with the Rogue Squadron/Star Wars graphic novels is that even after finishing the first couple of stories in the first book is that I still couldn't manage to tell the characters apart.

Should I actually ever finish reading a graphic novel though, I would definitely count it as a novel read. I'm overall not certain they're really for me in general.


Erotic Horizon said...

Thanks for your thoughts on GN.. I am a lover of GN across quite a few genre, but I do agree with your point on the Novel-GN..

With the novels it is defintiely a more rounded feel and the GN sadly it's only the bits to make it appealing that is added, which is a big loss for people who have never read the novel..

On the other hand I know kids who have only read the GN and really got into it and moved onto the novel - so it can work both ways...

My son and I recently started the Agatha Christie GN series and we are having a heap of fun with it... Although I have read the novels I don't thinnk my kid ever will, but he will know about the book themself through the GN, which is a nice trade off for me..

I just finished the latest installation in the Boneyard series by Roger Moore - the artwork is amazing..


Jenn said...

Have you read the Jim Butcher GN "Welcome to the jungle"? It was written specific for the format, before the GN adaptations for his books were released.

I also have the Anita Blake GNs, which I got mainly to see how she (and her world) was interpreted. I liked the first one, but wasn't so keen with the illustrator for the second.

Like yourself, I'm not a fan of the GN/novel cross-over; I've come across some lately that should never have been done (Christine Feehan). But I do read them regularly, and there are some really good ones out there (the Fables series - which is one of my favourites - and, if you really want an unsettling feeling, "Revelations" by Paul Jenkins and Humbero Ramos).

Rikki said...

I also don't read GN, even though I have tried. I got the first Anita Blake one for the same reason as you did, but didn't like it. The artwork was not for me at all, so I gave up after the first book.

gautami tripathy said...

I can pick up a graphic novel and read it through. THey do work well for me.

Weekly Geeks: Getting Graphic

Chad Hull said...

I've never tried reading one, though I'm open to it. I don't see myself walking into a book store for that reason but I guess it could happen.

Novels to GN doesn't seem that different to me than novels to movies; actually the former sounds like the better idea of the two.

It's not an aspect of publishing I support but I think the people who write it off are foolish.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I enjoy graphic novels, as they are an art form in of themselves. They are like a movie in printed form, as script and storyboard are required to create a graphic novel. My most recent reads were the two graphic novels based on Serenity/Firefly.

Elena said...

Looks like I'm definitely in the minority here.

Erotic Horizon, you've summed up the problem perfectly. It's the ones who never move on to the novel that I tend to think of - especially given that the first adaptations I found out about were of Shakespeare's plays: into modern language no less!

I've actually never read any of Jim Butcher's books at all, Jenn. Was that a recommendation?

Rikki, glad to see I'm not alone.

Gautami, I'll be over to check things out in a few minutes.

Chad, I'm not writing them off, I just don't think the majority of them are my thing at this time. Maybe I'll find differently one day.

Alex, you and a lot of other people I think.

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Mish said...

The one thing I like about the conversion into graphic novel craze is that it reaches out to those who don't like reading because they get overwhelmed by all the words.

I've heard a lot of good things about the Boneyard. The only graphic novels on my current reading list are the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman and V For Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.

Elena said...

And that is the biggest positive thing to the graphic novels. That they encourage readers. Thanks for stopping in with a comment Mish.

pussreboots said...

I've read a couple dozen or so graphic novels but only one that started life as a novel, Coraline.

My full post is here.

Kerrie said...

I'm with you on some of this Elena. For me the graphic/comic version of a novel does not deliver on description or characterisation.

Elena said...

I've been over and taken a peek, pussreboots. Thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment.

That is definitely part of the problem for me too Kerrie. I think the art is supposed to take up part of the slack there, but it doesn't always work, at least in my eyes.

Karen Russell said...

I agree with you that the artwork can add a lot. Since my daughter was born I've looked at a million picture books and sometimes think adult books could also benefit from illustration. In that sense the graphic novel has something to add.

Even so, I don't really like them all that much for myself!

Elena said...

The quality of the artwork is one of the major factors in my choice of picture books to recommend when I'm at work. Graeme Base and Alexandra Day are two of my usual recommendation choices, just based on the artwork they contain.

Thanks for commenting, Karen.

Karen Russell said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Elena, I'll look them up.

Elena said...

You're welcome.


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