Graphic Literature

Jun 3, 03:56 by IROSF
First they were comic books. Then graphic novels. Now... graphic literature? What do you think?

The article can be found here.
Jun 3, 10:52 by Ype Kingma
How on earth could you omit in your otherwise interesting essay, the numerous French and Belgian authors!!! To name but a few: Christan Bilal, Schuiten/Peeters and Hermann and all the Métal Hurlant contributors. Those are contemporary artists in the best graphic novel traditions. You seem to have a narrow view of "international".
Jun 4, 10:14 by Carole Ann Moleti
Bound by the limits of space, and the need for some structure, I couldn't make note of all the contemporary authors and artists.

Graphic literature is very popular in the French language, I know, and have some in my home (Hergé's <i>Tin-Tin</i> collection). Could you tell us some of your favorite titles?
Jun 10, 16:13 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
Interesting essay. I am glad to see that graphic storytelling is beginning to get the kind of critical attention it deserves. I do wonder, however, about the focus on Gaiman. Yes, he is influential in the realm of graphic storytelling, and The Sandman is one of the most acclaimed graphic stories in recent times, but why not spend the time discussing other influences as well? No mention of Heavy Metal (or its French inspiration Métal Hurlant) let alone the excellent British 2000 AD (which launched the career of Alan Moore). In addition, the Brits also put out non-science-fiction graphic stories such as The Beano, The Dandy, and a great many others.

I can understand the time and space constaints on an essay of this sort, but to miss mention of comics such as Heavy Metal or 2000 AD when writing about graphic novels (especially SF/Fantasy/Horror) is to miss some of the most influential magazines in the graphic novel world.
Jun 11, 10:30 by Carole Ann Moleti
The sheer numbers of popular series and authors/artists in graphic stories precludes indepth analysis of more than a representative sample. I chose Gaiman for a couple of reasons: the breadth of his themes and styles (both prose and art) and the fact that he has collaborated with Japanese artists which linked that part of the article together.

I also wanted to give some notice to the artistic teams, which typically get lost in the reviews.

I had even contemplated making a list of suggested titles but this article was already quite long. The comic book store owners that I met at Splat! make their living suggesting titles to their customers, cataloguing them, and deciding which ones to stock.

How about using this forum to list the titles that are your favorites, and why? Then a trip to the libarary or comic shop would be less daunting.

Jun 11, 14:59 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
Gaiman is good but I will admit that I find his The Sandman much more interesting that his regular prose novels. Neverwhere was a good novel, but somehow it seemed like it was missing something, as if it were a graphic novel without the art. As much as I might want too, I just can't really like his work. There is no doubt, though, that his impact on modern graphic storytelling is huge.

As for my personal favorites, I would have to go with the British and the Japanese. The weekly magazine 2000 AD was a remarkable magazine throughout it's long run and continues to publish some of the best British artists and authors. Several iconic heros have made their debuts in 2000 AD, the most recognizable (to North American audiences) of which is Judge Dredd.

Another long running series within the weekly, and one of (for its time) most innovative is Rogue Trooper. Rogue Trooper detailed the creation, deployment and betrayal of genetically engineered infantrymen on a hellish war-torn planet. This comic explored a number of political, military and science fiction concepts and until near the end of its run was fairly cutting edge in the types of stories it told.

As stated before, 2000 AD launched the career of Alan Moore whose talent and impact are immense. Best known for his tour of duty as writer of Swamp Thing Moore revitalized that flagging title and brought a deeper and more serious storytelling to comics:

Alan Moore's Swamp Thing had a profound effect on mainstream comic books, being the first horror comic to approach the genre from a literary point of view since the EC horror comics of the 1950s, and broadened the scope of the series to include ecological and spiritual concerns while retaining its horror-fantasy roots.[citation needed] Moore began a trend (most notably continued by Neil Gaiman) of mining the DC Universe's vast collection of minor supernatural characters to create a mythic atmosphere. Characters spun off from Moore's series gave rise to DC's Vertigo comic book line, notably The Sandman, Hellblazer, and The Books of Magic; Vertigo titles were written with adults in mind and often contained material unsuitable for children. Saga of the Swamp Thing was the first mainstream comic book series to completely abandon the Comics Code Authority and write directly for adults. (Wikipedia entry for Swamp Thing).

Moore's superb V For Vendetta tackled serious themes and was an incredibly influential collection (and remains my second favorite comic). His crowning achivement however is Watchmen. The influence of this graphic novel could be the subject of a dissertation. It has influenced not only the graphic novel genre, but comics on a wide scale, film, television and even cinema. Watchmen has arguably done more to bring comics out of the ghetto and into not only the main stream but to cause graphic storytelling to be taken seriously as literature. If you have not read Watchmen you are missing a serious work of the late Cold War.

Among other works Moore has created From Hell, 1963, The League of Extrodinary Gentlemen and many, many others. I would argue that Moore has had a much greater impact on the genre than has Gaiman.

As for the Japanese, I cannot think of any culture more steeped in graphic storytelling than they. The plethora of manga and anime North Americans now have available is but a drop in the bucket to that in Japan. Graphic storytelling appeals to all ages in Japan, unlike North America where it languished as "kid's stuff" for decades. A full list of my favorites would be too long for this forum but here are a couple:

Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell and Dominion Tank Police all by Masamune Shirow.
Anything by Hayao Miyazaki.
Grey by Yoshihisa Tagami.


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