Comic Book or Graphic Novel?

Apparently you really can do anything with words and pictures. Cartoonist or writer? Comic book or graphic novel? Drawing or visual creative writing? There’s a hybrid of comic books—or novels, depending on your POV—created by literary artists, which resides both in the comic books section and alongside literary works, that resists definition. The distinction from comic books is that these works are a “highly emotive visual form of creative writing.” Mostly visual and sparse on words, each “story,” through its complex interior and exterior landscapes creates a complete world that its characters inhabit.  And we enter into not only their landscapes but their inner worlds, and if they are cartoonist/writer Chris Ware’s characters, the inner life seems to be one of loneliness and drudgery.  It is becoming an increasingly popular genre, however, and Ware has won numerous book and art awards. Not satisfied with simply visuals on paper, Ware’s books often feature diverse presentations: cut outs, fold-outs, and stand-up storyboards, for example.  Personally, I can appreciate the artistic creativity and insight into character, but this particular form of “book” or storytelling is not for me.


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