Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cartoons versus Animation: Comics versus Graphic Novels

Is there a difference? Skuds thinks so, and I'm inclined to agree with him on that (though not on the issue of anything possibly being more irritating than Jimmy-ass-wipe-misogynistic-racist-not-at-all-ironic-I-want-him-off-my-TV-screen-forever-Carr).

Still, having vented that, it also got me thinking about the 'divide' or competing definitions for comics/graphic novels. As a fan of such materials, I get frustrated by both the ongoing sniffiness about "comics" not being worthwhile literate/visual products in their own right, and the pretentious categorisation some use to separate "graphic novels" as higher literary/art forms than comics. For anyone who has read such works as Gaiman's Sandman and his other works, Preacher, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, anything by Daniel Clowes, Jason Lute's Berlin, Persepholis, Cerebus, Adventures of Luther Arkwright, Bitchy Bitch, Art Spiegelman's Maus, all the classic DC and Marvel superhero material, Akira, Moore's From Hell... I'm getting breathless and I can't even begin to link to all of these... Anyway, what I'm saying is, "how the hell can you separate these categories": surely good stuff is good stuff?


Anonymous said...

Lisa read "Dry Bones" a blog by Israeli cartoonist Yaacov Kirschen. It is a good one !

Admin said...

Maus/Maus II is one of the best books ever - regardless of whether its all done in pictures or not, and When the wind blows was similarly strong - although it has dated more. You have to be able to remember Protect & Survive to really appreciate it.

I have liked the few comics/graphic novels I have read, but I think I just find them poor value. I whip through them far too quickly without savouring the art.

Maybe their lowbrow reputation comes from people only looking at the form and not the content and Jonathan Livingstone Seagull should be dismissed as just a kids' book just because it has few words and lots of photos?

Lorcy said...

I get guff over this sort of question all the time. In the past it's been from cultural snobs who have just read a New York Times or Guardian article on how 'comics are not just for kids anymore!' they normally say things like 'I don't read comics, I read graphic novels'. Whereas your average comic fan likes graphic storytelling whether it is a monthly comic book, a collection of monthly comic books (ie trad paper backs) or a work that was conceived as a 'graphic novel'.

As a comic fan I love anything told well in a mixture of words and pictures. The high art guys and Late Review watchers could only justify reading comics if they convince themselves that they are above or apart from the average comic geek. In the immortal and befuddled words of Tom Paulin when he tried to review Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth on the Late Review once: 'I don't know? is it the pictures that or good or the words? I don't know?'