Dense with exclamation marks and luri June 14, , Suggestions for Librarians Introduction Graphic novels are one of the fastest growing categories in publishing and bookselling.
Although still mostly targeted at youth, graphic novels are increasingly of interest to an expanded audience, which includes many adults. Narratives composed out of visual images or out of images and words have a very long history — a history that stretches back to the first cave paintings.
In their combination of text and image they are closest to another major 20th century medium — film. Not surprisingly there is a rich interchange between the two — film technique informs graphic novels and, in turn, many filmmakers base their work on comics or graphic novels not only Batman and the X-men, but also Ghost World, American Splendor, A History of Violence, Art School Confidential, and many others.
Combining visual art a sense of space, mass, motion, and color with literary and cinematic techniques plot, point of view, character development, metaphor, allegory, flashbacks and flashforwards, speeding and slowing time, close-ups, long views, stream of consciousness, montage, etc.
They promote visual and verbal literacy, as well as love of reading. A good collection of graphic novels appeals to young people who might otherwise be reluctant to explore the library. The explosive growth of the medium combined with the appearance of more and more graphic novels for older teens and adults presents some unique problems for librarians. The diversity of graphic novels makes categorizing and shelving them an especially challenging task. Shelving all graphic novels together, for instance, has occasionally led to parents complaining that their kids have mistakenly picked up an inappropriate book due to its proximity and visual similarity to books targeted at older teenagers or adults.
However, reading communities differ, as do library collections. We hope the guidelines we offer here help librarians make the best decisions in serving the specific needs of their patrons. The guidelines are intended to help in collection development; categorizing and shelving graphic novels; and handling complaints.
A Brief History of Graphic Novels The juxtaposition of words and pictures stretches back into antiquity think about ancient Egyptian wall paintings, which surround human figures with dense lines of hieroglyphs , though the current vocabulary of the form began to take shape with the rise of the comic strip. Popularized in newspapers at the start of the 20th century, the comic strip introduced the fundamentals of the comics language — such as the use of balloons for thoughts and dialogue, and panel to panel narrative progression — that persist to this day.
Segar, and Frank King is now preserved in popular archival editions. Comic book traditions have many national variations. The American comic book took shape in the late s with the introduction of Superman and his successors Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, and a plethora of others. Arriving at the tail end of the Depression and during the first rumblings of World War II, comics provided cheap, thrilling entertainment that appealed to youngsters and soldiers alike. Comic books became an integral part of the entertainment culture, with the popular heroes spinning off serials, radio programs, and movie features.
As the medium progressed, it encompassed a wide variety of genres including romance, horror, crime, science fiction, war, humor, and adventure. Comic book sales soared into the millions after World War II. As the audience grew, so did pockets of sophisticated content. However, by the mid fifties, the medium suffered a setback: Worried about the possibility of government regulation publishers toned down their content and formed a self-regulatory body, the Comics Code Authority.
The CCA prohibited depictions of gore, sexuality, and excessive violence, as well as scenes with vampires, werewolves, ghouls or zombies. It also mandated that authority figures were never to be ridiculed or presented disrespectfully, and that good must always win. EC comics dropped most of its comics. Comics rebounded by the early s, however, with DC Comics reinvigorating many of its classic heroes for young audiences, and Marvel Comics capturing adolescent and college-age imaginations with a new brand of comics storytelling.
The creative freedom afforded by Underground Comix and changes in distribution that allowed material without the Comics Code seal of approval to find an audience, opened the door for the graphic novel to emerge. More and more content was created and marketed as graphic novels. The breakthrough year of marked the publication of three critically acclaimed, bestselling books: The late nineties brought the influx of manga, which had been slowly coming over to the United States since the late seventies.
Ubiquitous in Japan since the end of the second World War, manga differs from American graphic novels in both the storytelling techniques it applies and in subject matter, with each book closely targeted at a specific demographic.
Publishers like TokyoPop and Viz have translated a vast array of titles that speak directly to the concerns of young adult readers, who have developed a voracious appetite for the growing genre.
Today, like their counterparts in prose, graphic novels cover every conceivable genre, including fiction, biography, history, journalism, education, crime, horror, fantasy, romance, adventure, memoir, humor, politics, and much more. After a century of growth, the comics that started as amusing ephemera in newspapers have matured into a diverse, insightful, and entertaining form that is beginning to enjoy a permanent place in the literary world.
Developing a Graphic Novel Collection Collection Development The following books will help librarians develop a graphic novels collection: American Library Association, Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: Portsmouth, NH, Libraries Unlimited, Developing and Promoting Graphic Novel Collections.
Also available there is an unmoderated e-list specifically for young adult and adult services public librarians. Library suppliers have compiled core lists of graphic novels e. Consult the Intellectual Freedom Manual, seventh edition , for important collection development resources, such as the Diversity in Collection Development: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.
Guides to graphic novels.