Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Coward/Criminal

From: karabair (
Date: 04 Jun 2007

Hey Mike --

To me, a comic is anything that's published in magazine form -- 20 pages or, sold off newsstands or in specialty shops. A graphic novel is significantly longer and is bound and sold as a hardback or paperback. Some of these are originally sold in this form, but slot of these were originally sold as single issues. For instance, Ed Brubaker writes the "Criminal" series for Icon, which is an imprint of Marvel. The issues come out monthly or so, on Wednesdays, and are mostly sold in comics stores. However, the first five issues of "Criminal" have now been collected as the graphic novel "Coward." I think that's a legitimate use of the term, because the five issues of Criminal really do read like a short novel -- the old serial tradition.

On the other hand, the term "graphic novel" tends to be used loosely
(particularly in chain bookstores like Borders) for any bound collection of comics. For instance, DC comics might collect 6 issues of Batman that form a related story and market it as a "graphic novel," but in most cases it doesn't really read that way. I personally don't like this use of the term, and I think most comics fans just refer to these as 'collections' or 'TPB's' (trade paperbacks).

That's my take on it, anyway; others may expand, disagree, contradict, etc.


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