Graphic Novels: “Real Books” or not?

Graphic Novels have not always been as prevalent in the mainstream. The first graphic novels seem to have become a part of the comic word during the late 1980’s but did not become a subsection in mainstream bookstores until 2001. Same can be said for Manga which did not become prevalent in the United States until mid-way through the 90’s and a section in mainstream bookstores until the 2000’s as well. So it begs the question, can either of these be considered “real books”?

During my teen years I could never write off a graphic novel or manga as a finished book for my reading classes. Most often I was told that they were 20% actual writing and 80% drawings, it didn’t count towards my expansion of reading knowledge.

But what makes a book a book? Is it the length of the written aspect or technical terms we learned (dialogue, plot, characterization, metaphor, motif, theme, etc)?

How would you describe a children’s book? A book mostly composed of colorful pictures with very little written words. These are considered without a real discussion that these are books albeit specifically for those who have a young reading level. If that is the next issue with graphic novels is that the reader’s are often older and should be reading something more word dens. If this is why graphic novels cannot be considered books, why do we put so much pressure on others and ourselves to read things more suited to our age?

In the end, it should be left up to the reader. If they don’t want to consider graphic novels “real books” that is up to them as long as they understand why they think that. As for every one else, well, go ahead and be a grumpy adult about it.

 

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