Comics and Graphic Novels

Comics and Graphic Novels.  We have discussed these a little in the past and, if you have been in the library lately, you might have noticed the cool display Kate made highlighting our collection.

We added Hoopla last year, but this wasn’t our first attempt at graphic novels.  Starting in 2009 we added the Dork Diaries series to our collection and I even found a YA graphic novel that has been in our collection since 2008.  We now have the Dog Man series and the graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier, plus a few other titles sprinkled in.  With Hoopla we expanded our collection by adding access to over 14,000 more “comics”. 

Okay, so now you might ask what the difference is between comics and graphic novels.  Well, there really isn’t a simple answer, especially if you look at the history of comics and graphic novels.  When I was a kid, comics were part of the newspaper.  My grandparents took the Kansas City Star and I remember them reading it each morning over breakfast, grandma as she rested her coffee cup against her check to relieve her sinus pressure.  To join in, they would give me the comic section, no coffee, I only liked the candy form of this “adult” beverage. I loved Beetle Bailey and Brenda Starr, like I have said before, I was a pretty complex kid.  I also loved the Sunday paper, a larger comic section and it was in color! I can also remember getting the Archie comic at the checkout section of Gerbes and Batman and the other “slick” comics were available in with the magazine section against the front wall by the bakery.  Man, I miss Gerbes. 

The shortest difference between comics and graphic novels is length and narrative; comics are shorter and their narrative is serialized, as in you need to read them in order.  Hmmm, I really think graphic novel is just a nicer term that helps legitimize the value of a “comic”.     

We have added more, call them comic or graphic novels, to our physical collection.  We have the Sandman and Umbrella Academy series for adults, March (an autobiographical black and white graphic novel trilogy about the Civil rights movement, told through the perspective of civil rights leader and U.S. Congressman John Lewis) for our young adults, and we have recently started adding classics in comic form for our Juvenile section, starting with The Three Musketeers.

Just like Brenda Starr was not written for an under 10 kid to read, the graphic novel genre seems to be more geared to adults.  Out of the 14,000 Hoopla comics, only around 4000 of them are for kids.  I am never one to encourage censorship, but I think a “heads up” is necessary, some adult comics have very mature content.  Nevertheless, I still feel that the comic has its place in our literary world.  I believe everyone is a reader, some just haven’t found the right genre, author, or format yet.  If you know a “non-reader” tell them about our graphic novel collection, I know you are a reader or you would have never made it to this last sentence.     

Upcoming Events: 9/23 Story Time at 10am on Facebook, 9/23 Book a Bubble with Brittany, 9/25 and 9/26 Book Sale in the Community Room