Divide the presentation into neat 45 minute sections. First, we’ll talk about what a graphic novel is and the types of graphic novels. A quick break, and we’ll move to discussing issues that are unique to graphic novels, look at recent changes and trends and answer some of the questions we get asked most frequently. Finally, we’ll talk about graphic novels in the library world, including readers advisory, programming and processing.
If it helps, think of graphic novels of a format like audiobooks. The format doesn’t dictate the contents of the narrative. What’s not in the definition: comic, kids, superhero. Really broad definition, which can include things that might not traditionally be considered comics – picture books, illustrated novels. But there are other ways to determine what is and isn’t a comic. Because graphic novels tell stories, collections of newspaper strips, which tend to be one off gags or weeklong arcs are not graphic novels.
Parts of a comics page. How can you tell the difference between a picture book and a graphic novel? Look for these elements.
JoseiComics for adult womenIf shojo is Gossip Girl, josei is Sex and the CitySeinenComics for adult malesGekigaAlternative comicsArtists who wanted work to be taken more seriously
MPAA Ratings – engrained in psycheWhen people see Age Ratings automatically assume similar process for systemNOT SO! (Handout)Ratings vary from publisher to publisherRatings are decided by editor or marketing staffRatings are applied inconsistently. Writers who move from GN to prose or from prose to GN comment on the vast differences in audience expectationsIn traditional publishing, there are very well known and well adhered to categories – early reader, middle grade, YA ectThese categories don’t apply in comic industry – base has always been white males. Add in manga which has age categories that don’t always translate 1:1 and it’s a big old mess.
All AgesAll Ages in mainstream media – Aimed at children but with material adults will enjoy Example – Pixar? All Ages in Comics Aimed at adults but with nothing that would be offensive to kids. Example? Return of the Dapper Men?
With advent of tablets and e-readers digital comics became a huge issue. Two types of comics apps. Conent providerGraphicly, iverse, ComixologySome publishers have independent apps but usually designed/powered by above. Place to purchase/download content, a reader and management softwareLOADED with DRMComics readersApp to read comics purchased elsewhere, or scanned (or pirated) Might offer some limited content.Tablet WarsDC exclusive with Kindle FireDC books pulled from Barnes and Nobel
Mostly of issue to comics storesHowever some new data shows might not be such a big dealDigital readers tend to be older/lapsed readersComics publishers have no idea what to do with libraries and digital content.
Comics piracy Huge Issue Particularly in mangaScanlationsIndustry Response very mixed Some creators claim that piracy actually HELPS salesSome manga companies monitor illegal sites to see what’s popularYounger people not aware of copyright issues.
In japan, the family name is first, the given name is last. Some publishers honor this by putting the names that way on the cover. Others don’t. For the most part you can google to find out which is which. After awhile you get the gist of the names on your own.
Sometimes the titles make sense in Japanese or refer to something in Japanese culture, but would be just as odd if it was translated in English. (ieInu-yasha=Dog Demon; Fruits Basket = a children’s game called Fruit Basket turnover)
While the really popular manga are super long, the majority of manga is typically a more manageable size. The length is determined by the popularity of a series and essentially an author/artist “milking” it for what’s worth. The longest running manga is Kochira Katsushika-kuKameariKōen-maeHashutsujo, a weekly manga that has been running since 1976 and has been collected in more than 170 volumes.
On the left a cover from the Unwritten monthly comic by Yuko Shimizu On the left is page from the first issue by Regular Series artist Mike Gross.
In Japan, artists are working a brutal pace (20 pages a week) for the magazines that the manga are issued in. Coloring takes a lot of time and is more expensive to produce. The magazines sell for about $3 each week and are hundreds of pages long. To have color for them is cost prohibitive.
Because we don’t have a better word. Seriously. Comics (which is what Merideth would like to call them) carries a lot of baggage. Graphics indicates something that has no textural elements, graphic album makes people think of music. Graphic Novel is a term coined back in the 1970’s and it stuck, even when the material is not fictional. *Fun fact” The first graphic novel A Contract with God, is not a novel. It’s a short story collection.
A webcomic is a sequential art story that was designed to be read on the internet. Most webcomics are closer in spirit to traditional newspaper strips than a long form graphic novel, however some creators have used the “limitless page” of the internet to experiment with long form storytelling. Most webcomics are free, and supported by ads or micropayments. Many webcomics self publish print compilations of their material and a few have been published by mainstream publishing houses.
Most webcomics never expect to see print. Ever. Although more webcomics are self publishing print compilations, mostly via pre-sales or services like Kickstarter. VERY rarely will a webcomic be published by a mainstream comics or prose publisher. The webcomics community has very DIY feel, and prizes artistic control. Digital comics are essential digitized versions of a print comic. The comics industry is new to digital publishing, and are still working out the business model. Eventually I think you will see digital only comics, but right now, most publishers are wary of circumventing the direct market in that way.
Many librarians are skitish about challenges to graphic novels. There have been a lot of high profile challenges to graphic materials. However, most challenges are “informal” == patrons unwilling to fill out paperwork. Scary thing is --
You’re more likely to face internal challenges than from the community.
Best defence against challenges is a strong collection development policy – that specifically references graphic materials. For clues on how to write the policy/handle challenges – look to policy for AV materialsAlso, have separate collections for youth teen and adult. Just like you wouldn’t throw all of your fiction into one big pile and hope to divinity, you shouldn’t toss all of your graphics in one area and figure that the patrons will know what’s appropriate.
Read! As with all readers advisory, the more familiar you are with graphic novels, the easier it is to recommend books.
Ask questions! Graphic novels are tricky in readers advisory, because they combine so many disparate elements. A person might be a fan of the art, the writing or the characters.
Case in point, the Troublemaker series by Janet and Alex Evanovich. The book is crap – bad writing, too much telling, not enough showing. However the series artist Joelle Jones has a really fun, fluid art style with a lot of manga elements. So, someone could enjoy the Troublemaker books for the art, and not the writing.
Another example – Geek God Joss Whedon was the regular series writer for the X-Men for a while. A lot of fans of his TV work (Firefly, Buffy) started reading comics because he was writing them. But a fan of Joss Whedon’s X-men might not be a fan of Grant Morrison’s X-men, which were a lot darker in tone.
Don’t assume age appropriateness – Authors/artists move between age groups a lot more fluidly in comics Don’t assume because you know the author’s other work, that it’s appropriate for all ages.
Because they’re such a visual medium, graphic novels really lend themselves to merchandising and displays. Their size and shape works really well with gondolas and face out shelving (Riverdale Collegiate Institute, Ontario, CA) . Also, if you want to do a special display, comics do a lot of the work for you (Display of comics/film at Keane State College, NH) even something as simple as a grouping on top of regular shelves has a lot of visual impact (Upper Darby Sellers Library, PA)
Graphic Novels for Librarians
GRAPHIC NOVELS FORLIBRARIANS*(and other interested librarytypes) AzLA 2011 Preconference
3 Sections•What are graphic novels?•Issues and FAQ•Graphic Novels in the Library
… a format, not a genre.…a book length narrative, of any genre, forany audience , which uses sequential arteither by itself for in combination with textelements, to tell a story.What is a graphic novel?
…images placed in a specific order to convey meaning,such as the passage of time, a specific action, amoment or an event.
From Return of the Dapper Men by JimMcCann and Janet Lee Passage of Time
Parts of a comics page Panels Gutters Word Balloon s
Types of American Comics A comic put out by a major Mainstream Comics American publishing house. They typically feature superheroes, action or are tied into media properties. Marvel and DC dominate the Mainstream comics field. Other publishers include Boom! Studios, IDW, Archie Comics, Bongo and Devil’s Due.
Types of American Comics A comic published by a smaller American publishing house. Independent comics are usually Indie owned by the creator, and cover a more diverse range of topics. Oni, Image, Archaia, Dark Horse, and SLG are well known independent publishers.
Types of American Comics Literary comic : A subgenre of independent comics, these comics have few genre elements, and often quieter, more humanLiterary and stories. Memoirs and travelogues are a Alternative popular literary comics genres. Alternative comic : A subgenre of independent comics, these comics are more concerned with social issues and pushing boundaries. Alternative comics are a direct descendent of the underground comics of the 1960’s. Fantagraphics, Drawn and Quarterly and Top Shelf are well known for their literary and alternative comics.
Intro to Manga What is it? Differences between American Comics and Manga Major Publishers
Types of Manga Shonen and Shojo Manga aimed at young teen boys that tend to focus on action. Manga created for teenage girls, that tend to focus on relationships.
Types of Manga Boys Love A sub-genre of manga and anime that focuses on relationships of two males.
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Q: Why are A: Naming Japanese customs and names so hard translations to catalog?Where Should IBuy GraphicNovels?
Q: What’s with all the weird A: Translations manga titles?Where Should IBuy GraphicNovels?
Q: Why do A: Not all mangamanga series series are longrun so long? Where Should I Buy Graphic Novels?
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Answer: It’sQ: Why don’t Complicated…the coversmatch theinsides? Where Should I Buy Graphic Novels?
Q: Why isn’t A: Because of themanga in nature of manga incolor? Japan. Where Should I Buy Graphic Novels?
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Q: What is a Answer: Auniverse? Universe is a shared continuity. Where Should I Buy Graphic Novels?
Q: Why do you Answer: Becausecall them we don’t have a better word.graphic novelswhen they’renot fiction? Where Should I Buy Graphic Novels?
A: A webcomic is aQ: What is a comic designed towebcomic? be published on the web. Where Should I Buy Graphic Novels?
Q: What the A: Digital comics are digitized difference versions of print between a comics. webcomic and Webcomics are a digital designed for the web. comic?Where Should IBuy GraphicNovels?