Difference Between A Comic And A Graphic Novel 74

Would you consider Spiderman a graphic novel or a comic book?

The boy in the strip above could be right when it comes to define the difference between comic books and graphic novels. Just as the normal written novel, the graphic novel tells a story from begin to the end and then it stops.

But this is where the confusing part starts. Aren’t there novels out there where one sequel is following up the next one without any end in sight? If the definition of a novel was that it has to have an end (like the Harry Potter series), then this novels would disqualify themselves as novels, wouldn’t they?

I think first of all the label graphic novel is invented to create a new market and get more mature readers over the edge to read more comics.

When it comes to define what a graphic novel really is, I think it lays in the eyes of the beholder. I like to see it as a regular novel told in images instead just in text.

Most of all I like the fact that you can adapt a regular novel into a graphic novel. Think about it and you will discover soon that you will face nearly as much problems film makers face when they try to adapt a novel into a movie. I guess their main problem is time (getting a 700 pages novel into a 2 hour movie). You wouldn’t face this problem if you adapt a book into a graphic novel. Time isn’t an issue here.

I’m very curious about your thoughts on graphic novels and how to define them. Please share your 2 cents in the comment section below.

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74 thoughts on “Difference Between A Comic And A Graphic Novel

  • Miguel Guerra

    Hi Mario,
    Interesting topic. I’ll give you my two cents on the subject. I’ve created comics from single panel strips all the way to 218 page graphic novels. yes I do believe there is a difference. I believe the difference lies more on the amount of pages you have rather than the style. It’s the difference between a New york apartment and a Beverly Hills mansion. Let me explain further, with a comic book the writer is designated a certain amount of pages that he has to write each month regardless of the story the writer must adhere to that limit. So imagine if you’re given the task of explaining the subject of the birth and the process of it in 22 pages. You may have to get really jam packed and squeeze all of your thoughts and ideas into that comic. You’ll be more general about the topic and not as detailed and in depth. You could rely on using narration but in my opinion if over done it tends to clash with the visual imagery. However with a graphic novel you have as many pages as you see fit to express your point. So you walk around not worrying that every 22 pages or so you’ll need a cliffhanger of some sort of trigger to get readers back for the next issue if there is one. Take for example Lone Wolf and Cub which in my view is on of the best of the medium. Koike pretty much does the opposite of a Spiderman comic he’s let you enjoy your time on the page enjoy the moment and bask in the world he has created, you’re not crunched in and rushed out. Yet the Plot is killer and dynamic. Because of this like Scott Macleod pointed out some fantastic storytelling techniques we’re explored in Lone wolf , some I must say that I haven’t seen in the medium since then. Yet Koike’s work and Gojima’s work was serialize bit by bit but there was a difference in that in Japan the reader gets new material every week as opposed to every month. I think the cinematic aspect is really in the end the core of Manga and not so much the big eyes.

    The topics in Lone wolf were wide ranging and masterful. I think here lies the other difference with a graphic novel to say a comic. I’m seeing is that since Eisner took that step many years ago to coin graphic novels as way to step up the artistic aspect of sequential art we’ve seen much change. Take graphic novels like Maus or Persepolis which are not characters that you will see commercialized into toys and hand bags. In fact the topic covered in Maus is so serious that who would want to. So serious commentary on politics, science and history can be explored in a more rich in depth way than you could with comic. There is also the educational graphic novels and such that have been growing with educators and librarians and in fact the binding on the graphic novel is more suitable for libraries. I think one big book allows for this exploration that would be cramped in 22 page comic. I believe that graphic novels is more than just a marketing gimmick but a way for a medium to break free of the current genre that dominates it, Superheroes. I welcome it very much because the more variation in the medium the greater respect and less stereotyping of the medium society will push on it. . Also from the writers perspective you have to be more organized with a Graphic novel but you also are free of the cliffhanger to explore your character and just be cinematic if you chose. You have to be very organized as to not to meander to far away from your story and get lost in detail.

    Most comic artists always get that question when you tell people you draw comics, Which Superhero do draw? So it would like asking a film maker if he directs James bond films because let’s say they are the dominant genre in films. Wouldn’t that be sad. So again the greater range in the genres the better. I really welcome the return of more Sci fi comics.

    Comics very much takes it’s origins from the pulps and in fact they are saddle stitched very much the same that the pulp mags were. Interestingly the old pulp magazines gave birth to modern paperback and many books like War of the world s were original serialize in pulps. Now as we see pulps faded out and now we are left with the paperback novel. This could be the same thing that’s happening with comics and graphic novels. Who’s to say that they will or won’t, but you throw into mix digital comics and the possibility on interaction and we may see something completely new.
    Lastly there is the issue of economy for both the reader and the creators. A graphic novel may be cost 20 dollars but you get 300 pages as opposed to a 22 page 3.99 comic. Now from the printing perspective it’s cheaper to print that one book than nine 22 pages comics in the long run. I mean a 218 page graphic novel is about 9 comics or so bound into one and printed once. With a comic series you’r always paying for the set up for new printing jobs every month. It’s also beneficial from the consumers stand point there isn’t anyway you’re going to get 9 comics for the for 20.00 in fact you’re spending 15 dollars more buying the comics than buying that one graphic novel. So all around from an economic view it’s good for both the consumer and the publisher.
    This is a topic that I could go on and on about looking at it from every view possible. Perhaps I’ve been a little scatter brained on it and please forgive me if my thoughts jumped around. Well those were my 2 cents.

    • Mario Post author

      Hello Miguel,

      This were more than just 2 cents. 2 Dollar at least!

      Thank you so much for this insightful comment. I really enjoyed reading your point of view on the subject. This was great!

      I look forward to hear and see more from you. I like your artwork.

  • Diane Pascual

    Hello Mario,

    This is a great article in that it raises so many questions, these are things I think about!

    Miguel, thank-you for your perspective, you are so knowledgeable and insightful about this topic. I feel I am a newbie! Storytelling is so important, what is great art if the story and plot sucks? Many times I buy Manga books for their art and start to read the story to only get disappointed. I know it’s about the expressions and the actions… but sometimes when I don’t understand the story I don’t want to finish it! There are some calculated moves, techniques, to the storytelling that may pay off, everything in moderation I believe. There are questions I wonder about when I read a Manga book or graphic novel, I read very many before I dove deep into writing my own story, elements that make the story unique and I even read a book solely on writing. I think as artists/illustrators/writers, we need to have a wide variety of resources that we study and learn from. Graphic Novels are gaining so much popularity these days, not just the art but the story has to have a lot of heart and soul in it. An entity that completely takes a life of its on. This is what readers or audiences connect to, human understanding and universal principles that reach very far and wide at their very core and which resonates deeply within. I always think a story is awesome if it makes me cry!

    • Miguel Guerra

      I see where you’re coming from. Manga often times revs up slowly especially in comparison to western comics. Often I’ve found myself waiting for an entire series to finished before I even read it because I like reading it through from beginning to end. My taste in manga often is more of the classic stuff . I often delve into more modern stuff not by the art style alone but how odd the story or if it has a new spin on an old theme. I often find that Manga is more journey based it’s what those characters learn and grow along the way. So they start basically one way and they slowly start grow until they sling shot into something else. Often in the west we have the short burst the origin story that’;s the most exciting. well in manga is somewhat longer to rev up to that. Of course that’s not to say everyone will like this style. Take Akira for example, which I love, the movie is good but it pales in comparison to the manga and the same can be said of Nausicaa, Hayao Miyazi’s film is lacking the grandness of the manga version he penned. The reason for this is they are able to fully explore the characters in the manga and not pressured by the time constraint of the anime or film. I think often times we, in the west, are set into the Apollonian story structure. Certain things must reach certain points in our minds at just the right time and our minds crave this, of course that’s not a bad thing. That said, not all cultures adhered to that. In fact take Battle Angel it is very much Buddhist in nature when the character becomes aware of who she really is it puts the entire story on it’s head in an amazing way. It’s shattering of her and the readers reality. The reader sees the world and her from a different view and it’s something that is done through the whole Battle Angel story.
      I really do believe that our belief systems are almost like our operating systems they build boundaries as to what we find acceptable which in turn becomes familiar and cozy. For an example on a different way of storytelling in parts of Africa when the oral story teller finishes telling his story to the audience he asks the audience questions as to who in the story should get what or what would the just punishment for a person in the story. It becomes more of an communal engagement rather than a solitary experience. A great book I read that clarified much for me was called the Japanese psyche, by Hayao Kawai. In it he basically talks about that the psychological frame works that Freud developed for the west couldn’t apply to the the Japanese due to the fact that their grand god is a goddess, Amaretsu as opposed to a god and that creates a difference in mindset.
      Now this leads me to my next point. On writing I agree with you a 100%. You need to read a wide variety of things in order to create comics and there’s a balance in writing as much as in drawing without trying not to be to burdened with detail. Let tell you what a teacher once told me about wanting to become a writer, he said basically know your Greek myth and your bible. Now not for religious reasons but because between the two you’ll find just about every plot ever done. I took it one step further. For many years now I’ve been reading world mythology and religions, because there is more than just one point of view on life. Yet there are certain archetypes that exist in the human mind despite what culture the variation is in how they might act. So there are core things we all share as humans but there can be differences as well. This to me is neither good or bad it just is well, different.
      The great thing about Myth in particular it really reinforces the importance of telling a grand story in very short manner. It teaches you story structure at it’s most basic. It also makes you realize that people long ago had the same thoughts we do today and the same feelings of grief and anguish and happiness. Lastly you start to read stories that have eerie similarities in plot lines from places as far as Japan to Ireland and that’s when things get interesting. If you have the chance read the story of Oisin and then the story of Urashima Tairo. They follow the exact story path from the land of youth all the way to the end when they return back home.
      Of course This is not to say that you need to stick solely to diet of Zeus and Odin alone. I’m a big believer in reading the news for things that are currently concerning people and I love history to learn the things that effected us in the past. The net is a great tool for research. I also think you should research something you’re passionate about for me it’s medieval Japan. I find the period fascinating. the other topic I’ve found myself watching a lot of documentaries on and learning about is, finance. Not because I love it but because it’s part of an idea that I’m currently working on. So times you might have to research stuff you might not like but it will flesh out a story idea much better. Anyway I wish you the best of luck with your comic creation and I hope I didn’t blather on too much.

      • Mario Post author

        I just come home from the bookstore where I purchased 3 more volumes of ‘Bleach’ by Tite Kubo. Last week I bought the first three volumes and it’s a nice coincidence that they proof Miguel’s point of view. The story telling is longer than in western comics. The introduction of the main character Ichigo Kurosaki takes the whole first three volumes of the series.
        When it comes to writing I feel that I have a little advantage as I have written and published two novels. What I would like to do is adapting them into graphic novels. This way I could combine two of my passions, what would be very nice. As the stories already exist form begin to end I wouldn’t have to worry about the plot. Just like film directors I would have to consider if there are things that I can leave out of the graphic novel version.

  • joe

    Schools that offer a degree in comics define comics & graphic novels similar to the way Miguel Guerra does, a comic being 22 pages . There’s also mini comics that’s a subset to comics like a comics are a subset to a graphic novel.

    Adapting a novel to a graphic form has its own problems like but different than adopting graphic to screen does. One has a page limit, the other a time limit. Watchmen and Kick-Ass are probably the best two examples of bad & good adaptions from graphic to film. Kick-Ass the movie followed the graphic and changed a few parts because it wouldn’t make sense in film and to make it fit the time for a movie. You can see what I mean by reading the volume the movie is based on and watching the movie in either order.

    Watchmen was plagued from the beginning with production & lawsuit problems. And even Alan Moore, the graphic’s author distanced himself from the film and didn’t want anything to do with it.

    As far as adapting from novel to graphic, will the story match the expectations an audience has in a particular genre? Parts with a lot of detail may have to be dumbed down in the graphic because the graphic is telling the story; words are either dialog or thought and kept brief to make it flow easier and easier to read. After adapting to graphic, does it fit the page count for a graphic? As the graphic progresses, part of the novel may not make sense in a graphic form and has to change similar to parts that change in adapting comic to film.

    Titan books, http://titanbooks.com/home/us, has some good books that gives an indepth behind the scenes look of adaptions, such as “Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie” and “Watching The Watchmen”.

    Part of what made graphic novels take off for western publishers has to do with the speculation crash of the 90’s. No one had the sense to realize or figure out that the only reason a 1930’s edition of superman was selling was because of being 50 years old there weren’t that many left. Graphic novels aren’t monthly and from a publisher’s viewpoint cheaper. The only reason Marvel & DC got into them was that they & comic shops never discouraged the speculation. When the crash happened, the only choice was to go out of business or to package several monthlies as a volume. Another 2 gimmicks that they came up with is “variants”, reprinting with a new cover then selling them for more again to collectors, and motion comics for those that are either too lazy to or can’t read.

    • Mario Post author

      Hi Joe,

      You describe exactly the problem I face when I think about adapting my novels. One is a thriller what would be quite easy to adapt, though there is a certain sub plot in it that I would leave out in the graphic novel.
      The other one is a literary thriller and is told told in the first person (thus all thoughts). This one would be a big problem to adapt to a movie due to its complexity and the adaption to a graphic novel wouldn’t be that easy either. This because the deeper thoughts of the main character are the spirit of the story and there would be a temptation to jot too much of them down. The result could be an overload on text.

      • joe

        Most adoptions are made using only a small section, that’s why they do sequels, if the first one was a success. The entire story was never told in one setting. It’s similar to the way the Flash Gordon comics and films were made that ends with a “to be continued” frame. One of the Watchmen volumes had a subplot, the Black Freighter, that was treated as a story in a story.

        Even style in a genre is important. One thing that I noticed was many of the comics had switched to crime noir, it’s a “dark” western style that’s gained popularity even in asian comics. If you’ve seen the Matrix you would recognize it in the inworld fight scenes. Very gritty, dark, seamy, and appropriate.

  • Miguel Guerra

    Hey Joe,
    I must say first of all that what you said is partially true to an extent. But I must disagree with your point. When I first spoke of it I spoke from the practice of creating and writing them not from being an academic. I’d like to put to rest the idea that Graphic novels are a gimmick that arouse from the 90’s. I think here in America there’s been a lack of education on the actual subject amongst collectors of comics who are very conservative in their views and protective of the comics medium. Many us go on first hand experience and don’t read on the subject or often forget that the medium is very old. we think that it’s always been this way, the comic shops and such. I remember the 90’s quite well and the collected issues you spoke of were also sold in the 80’s they called trade paper backs. It was the perhaps calling the trade paper backs Graphic novels that was a gimmick but graphic novels is a different beast for various reasons. I still remember being a kid and seeing Arkham asylum and wanting to buying but only having the budget for my monthly comics. Heck I finally just got it as an adult along with the Electra assassin. The problem with the comic industry at that time, in the 90’s, was what that it had become a speculators market very similar to the U.S Housing market bubble that just popped. The people buying were more a kin to people collecting stamps in hopes that their comic would become a the next million dollar comic you could sell in your later life. So you had a flood of number ones and all sorts of crazy other things the industry did. It got so crazy that many were turned off from collecting because it got to the point that you had to buy all of the x-men comics just to follow a story. Many of my friends and family members left buying comics and never looked back during that period. However they will buy the odd graphic novel. There’s also the commitment factor of comics for the readers is a kin to a marriage because the story never ends. Personally I can do with out the crazy plastic bags and the wanting to hav the next Superman number one I just want to enjoy the story.

    But back to my point. The problem was there was so much to choose from and the alternate versions didn’t help much either with the gold foils and holograms covers. Those where gimmicks they added no value to the experience of the content that they carried it was a matter of selling the same comic more than once. Also you have to factor in the fact that Manga was growing towards the end of the 90’s to be a power house in America which placed a huge amount of pressure on american comics. Hence why the Matrix was so dominated by asian themes and we got that very talented lad named Joe Mad penciling X-men.. I think the success was due to the fact that Manga began reaching the girls market a market that had been ignored for long time. In fact comics here were seen as something for adolescent boys and most stores tended to and some still gravitate to that market. The male dominated market still persisted in american comics through 90’s. Whereas Manga really opened up the medium to young women that’s not say there weren’t some comics that didn’t, there were comics like Sandman and Lost in paradise. However a comic shop was not place a young girl would get caught dead in those days. It was Graphic Novel format that gave the ability to sell comics to libraries and bookstores and not be something stashed away at the magazine section. A format that was intended as a throw away format that saw it’s birth in the 30’s.
    To think that Manga is going through a film noir phase is not to know the behemoth of the billion dollar industry it is in Japan. They literally a have some thing for everyone and what we get here is a small taste of what they have there. There are plenty of genres Manga has touched that we are only getting to them now. In fact in has cycled here too, many of the old schools comics like the spirit or more recent graphic novels turned movies like Road to perdition. They were film Noir There just nothing new just the popularity of it may make it seem newer. I think it just so happens that Superheroes genre in the medium have been the dominant cycle due to social pressures and stigmas.
    The originator of the term Graphic novel came from none other than the grand master of the Art form Will Eisner. Yes the same man that the famous Eisners comic awards are named after, and the creator of the Spirit. He had come up with the term to differentiate between the men in tights with Super powers and what he saw could be a valid artistic medium for telling stories. http://www.willeisner.com/biography/6_graphic_novels.html. His first book was called a Contract with God. He did this back in the 1978 way before the issues and problems of the 90’s. To diminish the dream, that I think has been realized as of late, is to be misinformed. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Eisner once and I wish I would have had the time to pick his brain more on the subject but he is no longer with us. However he taught the subject in school and I think it’s more than essential for anyone wanting to create sequential art (as Eisner referred to it) I think his books on the subject of the creation and his thoughts on the medium are imperative. So why would he want to make them into an art form you may ask. I place a list at the end of this post.

    Well I can tell you that I’ve lived in Europe as a child and while I was there the European comics already came in larger volumed format. Take the example of Tin tin, the Smurfs, and The Incal. They were bigger and slightly thicker than our comics. So to Europeans it may seem like a gimmick because they’ve had for years that format. But like anything the answer lies in the history. Europe did not have the tyranny of the comics code that turned public opinion against comics. The Dr. Fredric Wertham had turned public opinion against them in so much that there were public burnings of comics because they were seen as an ill to society that had to be heavily regulated and it was out of this that the comics code was born. Now Eisner lived through all this from the inception of comics jumping from the sunday funnies all the way the to the actual format we see today. It was in the 50’s that some great strives were being made in the medium but it was met with great resistance. A company named EC comics was at the forefront. If you want you should read up the story that ultimately broke that company. that story is called Judgement day and to me being half African American it blows my mind away as to how far ahead that story was and how explosive and daring it was, especially being published in a heavily segregated society of the 1950’s. You can read about here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EC_Comics. Needless to say comics were being turned into sap few dared to go against the Comics code.. Stan Lee successfully sued them and things eased up a bit. Anything with the name living dead or zombie was banned. The same man, Dr. Fredric Wertham. that said comics were bad for children had said that Tv would be an excellent educational tool. He later recanted much of the nonesense he had said but it was too late the stigma of comics being a trash and a deviant form parents should limit was already set in the minds of American public. The stigma was so deep that Art Spiegelman the creator of Maus said he used to hide his comics in playboys when he would go buy them because being an adult with comics in public was seen as as odd. I think when the 1970’s arrived the stigma of comics was so deep that Eisner’s answer of reinventing the name from comics to Graphic novel was deeply wise and intelligent. Words have power to elevate or castigate. So that’s the root of the history very briefly told and there are plenty of books out there to read on the subject. This is a history any one wanting to understand american comics needs to know. The dream has become real sequential art is being made into all sorts of genres. There are books like Luis Riel that never were made into individual cliffhanger 22 page comics or take for example the Eisner nominated Far Arden. So if you think Tradepaper backs are graphic novels think again, they’ve changed and you may need to get out the men in tights isle and look around at the vast offerings of great works out there.

    I did get to briefly talk to Eisner about comics and movies. at the time I was in college taking film, and he said something to me that I have had to agree. He didn’t see comics and movies as brothers but as cousins. I must agree. It’s more than duration. Movies have one frame, they can pan in and out, dolly, zoom in and out, Music, sound. Movies are an entirely different medium. I have to say that the storytelling took me a while to grasp for comics. Because in my mind it runs like a movie and having made short films motion is the key part to movies. However this issue was quickly rectified for me by the other grand master of the medium from Japan, Osamu Tezuka. His style of comic story telling was closer to how I thought not as fragmented as it’s western counter parts. That often time seem to me very choppy. It worked for me and I’ve never looked back since. However there is another that had a very similar style to Tezuka who is by all means the pioneer , or father, of both the mediums of comics an animation,. Windsor Mackay. If you’ve ever seen the dancing dinosaur which is considered the first animated film well then you know who Windsor Mackay is. But he didn’t stop there he had a comic series called Little Nemo, and the story telling was more a kin to animation than an static comic. I got to thinking that that animation then is closer to our medium than film. Animation is almost like our crazy half brother. It really worked for me. I tend to lean more along the those lines myself, but you need the length to tell such stories in a more cinematic or animated fashion. In Scott Macloud’s book Understanding comics he lays out the problem of comics that being the lack of movement and the problem of static images. What we do as creators is try to fool the brain into believing those actions are happening but it’s a tough problem. I think this is why web comics have always been second to Youtube and flash cartoons on the web.
    This brings me to my last point. You said that motion comics was for those to lazy to read the comic, hmm what about the movies. I think that’s sort of a backhanded insult. Many retailers have told me that they hardly see a bump when a major comic movies come out in comic sales. I was fortunate enough to meet one of the gents that works laying tracks down for the motion comics, or as I call them cartoons, for the Marvel. He also happens to work at the Neil Adams studio and has his own motion comic and comic. we got talking about the great new possibilities that the computer can offer and the possible birth of something different. There seems to be an electrical charge running around. With the inception of Digital book readers something new is a foot. Personally I believe we are going to see a merging of the mediums into something new and different. Yet we are in a strange way coming full circle to Windsor Mackay. What it will be I don’t know but it’s really exciting!
    On the issue of Alan Moore not wanting to participate with Watchmen I must commend him for sticking to his principles. He writes from a social aware point of view and he personally had issues with 300 as he saw it as being a Homophobic racist book. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20213004,00.html When he heard the director of 300 hundred wanted to do Watchmen it added to him not wanting to participate even more. Of course he has personal belief that spending 150 million dollars on a film is wrong when people on the planet are dying of starvation. Agree with him or not he’s man that lives by his word and that’s rare these days.

    If you want to seriously understand the the sequential art medium these are the books I think are imperative you must own.

    Will Eisner
    Comics and Sequential Art: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist (Will Eisner Instructional Books)

    Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative (Will Eisner Instructional Books)

    Scott Mccloud
    Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

    Sorry for the long winded answer but there was no way to get around that this time.

    • joe

      Sorry I live in Texas and between the ignorant bubbas, rednecks and conservatives (there’s not much difference), they’re killing me. For comic stores, I can’t get out of the men in tights isle and look around at the other works, because the men in tights isle is the entire store. In Barnes & Nobles, and Books a Mil, it’s almost the same for the graphic section. The non Marvel DC and their imprints are 2-4 small shelves and they share space with the McCloud, Hart, and Eisner type guides. TinTin is in small volumes the same size as Marvel DC graphics. Stores order based on the locals.

      The manga section in B&K is almost as bad, mainly TokyoPop. I heard that there’s phone directory size books available, but the largest binding I’ve seen is only 3/4 inch.

      I found on the web and read Judgment Day about 2 weeks ago. The entire controversy was over the last panel, what I heard the conversation with the CCA went something like this. Get rid of the black man. NO. Then get rid of the perspiration. NO and go f*** yourselves. If this was one of the things that didn’t happen, we wouldn’t have had Alfred E. Neuman. When I get ready to self publish, I’m tempted to include a replica of the CCA stamp inside a red circle with a diagonal line.

      My parents moved to Texas at the end of the 50’s and it was a culture shock.
      The heavily segregated society of the 1950’s just wasn’t the 50’s, it lasted through the mid-60’s. When we moved down, the main topic I heard was the civil war. These people had to relive the civil war daily, always the south this and the south that. The elementary school principal warned my parents for me not to say where we moved from when I was introduced in class, because little rednecks have a propensity towards violence. Public buildings had 2 restrooms and water fountains. You wouldn’t believe the reaction a 7yr old kid could get after asking “both rooms and the fountain are painted white, why does one have a “color” sign? Are they going to paint it?” Total disruption for about an hour. Seeing someone that was so calm become so unglued was funny, that I picked my targets and kept reasking it for the next few years. Another new experience was my mother sending me down to the 7-11 to pay the poll tax so that she could vote in the Kennedy presidential election, if elections were part of the government why did we have to pay to vote?

      I thought the main issue with Moore was that he felt both DC and Marvel bent him over, he hasn’t dealt with them since, and not the cost of the film. Considering that Fox, Paramount and other film studios were the ones involved in making the film and not DC.

      • Miguel Guerra

        You had me at Texas. I feel your pain. One of my uncles lives there and I have cousins there. My father’s side of the family originates from Tennessee. Although my father is from East St. louis Illinois they had to move there from Oklahoma after the stock market crash of the 1930’s. My father used to spend the summers in Tennessee as a child. Now he’s was born in 1941 so you can imagine when he would go down for the summers down there he saw stuff that still makes my blood boil to even think of. Strangely he moved back down south in recent years. In many ways things have moved on in country but not for everyone. I still remember him telling me how they wanted to ban Daffy Duck because he was a black duck in a Southern state in the sixties. I mean that’s how lubricous it was. I’ve had to go down south of the mason dixie line a few times. I can imagine it must be taxing dealing with a lot of it the nonsense 24/7. You know what’s always been frightening to me is the thought that the civil war ended in 1865 and civil rights took literally a hundred years 1965 to come into law. There’s so much healing we have to do as nation and yet their insistence on hanging on to ideas of what is now two centuries ago is down right frightening to me. Plus it keeps the wounds opened. You may like this great graphic novel that came out about a year ago titled Nat Turner, by Kyle Baker. If that sort of thing interest you.It’s a very powerful book and very good. Check it out you may like it.

        I remember reading that story Judgement day and even though I was very young at the time I had no clue when it was published or the ruckus it caused but I always thought the ending was powerful. It drove the point home. I wanted to write stories like that.

        I always find amazon is a good source for getting good stuff but you have to be careful and make sure it’s something you really want. I don’t have as much time as like to hunt stuff down like I used to at the local comic shop and with children even less so. So it works for me.

        I think what I’ve learned from the posts so far is that we need a really good source to get the word out on Small press books. There’s ample news stuff you can read on mainstream works but there really needs to a news wire for all the other works.
        There were a multitude of reasons for Moore not caring about the Watchmen movie. He actually refused any money from it or any of the merchandise. He actually has expressed that the cost of making a block buster film is extravagant. Not that he’s personally involved with it but he always points out that the cost of making one film is like that of the entire GDP of a country, and that there is something wrong with that. Agree or not he makes a valid point. I remember reading that in the Wired interview he did before the movie came out. It seems crazy but when you read his books it makes a lot of sense his views of things. Particularly books like V for Vendetta which were born out of the Thatcher years he very much channeled what he felt was at odds at the time and express himself and likewise for Watchmen which was very much talking about the cold war. I very much admire his principled stance and I believe this why he has produced such powerful works.

        • joe

          One solution that could have eliminated the mess that followed from 1865 through 1970 would have had the reconstruction acts move the entire populace out of the south to Montana and surrounding territories, then offer free land in the south to replace the deported and cut down crowding in the north. If the feds could do this to native Americans then there’s no reason why the same couldn’t be done in the south. For those that would have complained about destroying the southern culture, no problems with that the only one that I seen grew on bread that was thrown out.

          For a post-war operation it would have been appropriate. The entire local populace was involved in a war, then within 2 years each state was readmitted under it’s own reconstruction act, while the entire populace was festering over losing the war. Ancient wars ended with either the populace killed or relocated for the same reason, if not it either resurfaces or reappears in a more perverse form. This happened with almost each war that we’ve been involved in that left the populace intact, for example Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The Grant administration is probably as much to blame as the southern states. They were aware of the 60 years before the war, the local culture, knowing that it would linger on.

          The last panel in Judgment Day was essential for the message. No balloons or thought boxes were needed or used. The graphic itself delivered the entire message.

          You’re trying shop at a comic store with kids, there’s a saying that kids are either the grandparents’ or the other parent’s revenge on you. I could imagine that as follows:
          You: after hearing little Johnny and Suzie quiet for 5 minutes, what are you 2 doing?
          Suzie: I got a comic about a kitten, why?
          Johnnie: I got a comic about 2 brothers
          You: What’s the names?
          Johnnie and Suzie: Fritz and Freak
          You got my sympathy, it only begins to improve after they hit 18. Think of it as a civil version of a life sentence without chance of parole or pardon.

          Source on small press books and newsfeeds is part, the Kurtz, Straub, Kellett, and Guigar book on webcomics is part of my collection. Another part is learning the software. Manga Studio, I don’t like the name-too gimmicky and wished they left it as either Cel-Sys or Comic Studio, is a prime example. Lots of features. Most play with it for a few hours then use it. I wished there was a 12-20 hour DVD or continuing ed courses for it, like there are for photoshop. The last parts would be running it as a business, networking, and marketing.

          • Miguel Guerra

            Grant didn’t do much in fact I think that if Lincoln would have lived he would have done a little more than what happened under Grant but maybe barely more. Grant was too busy being bought off by the Robber barons, but what else is new. I think ultimately it was the North negligence and fatigue from the war that brought about the many long years that preceded the war. Lets just say they just didn’t care.
            I can’t even compare a life sentence to being a parent. I must say that my kid is definitively the joy of my life he’s very sweet gentle little guy. I get a kick out seeing him learn new things and try new things. I’d just much rather spend time with him at a park than at a comic store. I won’t lie it is work and you have to be very disciplined with yourself and them. Strangely I get more of my work done than I did all the years I never had children.Often times it is our behavior and habits that we have accumulated through the years that ultimately our children will reflect back to us both the good and the bad like we did to our parents. I remember Translating the book Fantastic Art of Royo. In the foreword Luis speaks in generic terms of his life and raising a little boy while he was an struggling artist in a attic apartment. What I found very interesting i how he spoke of involving his child. While he painted he would set up a chalk board for his little boy Ramulo. Interestingly his son is Photographer by trade now.
            On Manga Studio. I love the program I was a tester for Smith Micro for the Mac version and I’ve been using since about 2007/2008. I’ll never go back to using traditional ink unless it’s for fun. The name may be a bit gimmicky but seeing that Photoshop casts a huge shadow over the imagining software programs. I think Smith Micro naming it that was more targeting a very specific market and it’s taken them a little while to get there but when I exhibit at Comic cons as of late people know the name A few years back they would be like Manga what?
            I’ll check out some of those comic news places that you mentioned. I’m always looking for some new places.

            • joe

              If you have an opportunity read the reconstruction acts. The one readmitting Texas was very special, most people never read the acts or are aware of the terms for each state. There are provisions in effect once readmitted as a state, the moment it’s state constitution alters rights, it immediately loses it’s representation in Washington and that all federal offices are to be closed and moved out Texas. The act didn’t contain provisions to regain representation or to replace the federal offices. Most of the acts readmitted 5-7 states per act and named conditions for each state, if any. This one only readmitted two states.

              If you do read it, you should have 2 questions. When do the conditions expire? What would Texas be? Clues: Texas has a history of having the highest execution rate in the country, escape from NY, & escape from LA.

  • Piledriver

    Ugh… “graphic novel” is an odious term. I think it bothers me the most when folks who never read a comic outside their Sunday paper use it as a patronizing sort of politically correct descriptor.

    You nailed it when you said “I think first of all the label graphic novel is invented to create a new market and get more mature readers over the edge to read more comics.” That’s exactly what it was.

    Marvel invented the term back in 1982 to describe a new presentation format that they could market through bookstores — oversized, card and glue bound trade format, self-contained, they tried to appeal to readers who weren’t likely to browse the comic and magazine racks (though often retreading material from regular serials). DC followed suit in 1983, and upped the ante by generating all new material with more polished artwork.

    I’m not sure how successful the original Marvel and DC Graphic Novel lines were, but within a few years the ‘British Invasion’ was underway at DC, bringing pulpy, hard-edged writing to mainstream comics, and the term “graphic novel” was all the rage with pretentious fanboys arguing for the literary merit of Swamp Thing and Black Orchid. But notice that it wasn’t the people working on those books; all the writers most associated with the notion of the “graphic novel” as a descriptor for more literary comics (Moore, Gaiman, etc.) have publicly rejected the term.

    • Mario Post author

      Thank you very much for your informative comment, Piledriver!

      When I was at Midtown Comics and Forbidden Planet in New York last June I noticed that good old Spidy was sorted in the shelf labeled Graphic Novels. Though I think that “graphic novel” was supposed to describe the more literary comics as you already mentioned, this gesture of the very devoted staff of this comic book stores says enough.

      And in the end I think that many people who are new into this world and want dive into it end up with reading the mainstream comics as well. Just because there is so many wonderful material.

      • Piledriver

        Yes, but is Spidey less capable of being handled maturely than Rorschach (Watchmen), the Batman (The Dark Knight, Killing Joke, Arkham, etc.), or Daredevil (The Man Without Fear)? I don’t know. Really it seems very silly to me to have a shelf labeled “graphic novels” in the first place.

        I have been thinking on this a bit today, so apologies for the boring block of text that follows ;): first, I was wrong about Marvel inventing the term and I should be doubly ashamed because it seems my favourite artist might hold claim to that. No, not Will Eisner, though I do dig Will Eisner. I went and checked: the inside cover introduction to Richard Corben’s adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s Bloodstar (1976) clearly calls it: “a new, revolutionary concept — a graphic novel, which combines all the imagination and visual power of comic strip art with the richness of the traditional novel.” Not the deepest philosophical story — it’s pure pulp — but it is presented in hard-bound book format with fully painted art throughout (greyscale mixed media of ink, acrylic and oil pencil). The content is unabashedly violent and erotic, so it wasn’t aimed at the kids, though this kid did get his grubby mitts on it when it was serialized in Heavy Metal a few years later.

        Still, such one-shot uses as Bloodstar and Contract With God easily went under the radar of the mainstream comics readers, Eisner was not a mainstream commodity in the 70s, or even the 80s, any more than Richard Corben, and I had a heck of a time hunting down my copy of the original printing of Bloodstar only a few years later. So it had to be Marvel and then DC’s consistent use, along with their advertising power, that brought the term into vogue. I doubt any of them ever intended for it to become some sort of snobbish/elitist way of saying “the good comics,” though. Well, maybe Eisner did…

        Anyway, it occurred to me that the “graphic novel” classification is an exclusively American affectation. In other countries, mainstream comics have always had a wide variety of content, aimed at every kind of audience that could be found. But here in the US we had the Wertham trials and the monopolistic abuse of power that was the Comics Code Authority. It changed public perception of the format here, so that when market forces and creative talents finally push through that barrier (how telling that the biggest push seems to have come from a bunch of British guys), it spawned this strange binary view of the medium, as if there were some clear definition by which you could separate the wheat from the chaff.

        There isn’t any such definition. Even Spidey might get a run with an ambitious writer with one or two good ideas. The way the US comics industry is (sorry Joe, it’s the investments New York and California, not Comic Book Guy in Fort Worth that decides what will dominate the shelves), blowing his wad on Spidey might be said writer’s only hope of being seen.

        Another thing to consider is that the word “literary” is kind of like the word “sophisticated.” Although we’ve been trained to have a very positive response to these words, the actual definitions may not be so appealing:

        Type “define:sophistication” into Google (sans quotes) and go down the list. I’ll be surprised if you aren’t, at least a little bit.

        Now, if you do that with “define:literary” you get a lot of vague answers. It’s a bit of a craftsman’s word, so the real definition of what makes a piece of fiction literary isn’t quite obvious. I strongly suggest reading William Foster-Harris’s awesome book: “The Basic Formulas of Fiction” (1944, revised 1960) for a functional description of what he in that book referred to as “quality” stories (he would use the term ‘literary” in the later book: “The Basic Patterns of Plot” but the sharp edge of criticism he’d held for literary critics had also dulled by then, so the first book is less diffuse).

        My summation: literary stories are tales of failure. The hero suffers trying to reconcile a conflict (internal, and possibly external), and does not prevail in the end. He or she may not even learn anything from the experience, though the battle was fought valiantly, in the end the hero did exactly what should not have been done and tragedy was inevitable. That is the defining trait of a literary story.

        Not such a big deal if you boil it down to that. All the surrounding details can be done just as well or badly in a straight, pulpy adventure story, but you won’t have the (gimmicky) profundity of ultimate failure that makes the important critics swoon.

        Explains why these superhero universes have been such tragic places ever since Watchmen came along and enlightened everyone, eh?

    • Miguel Guerra

      I would have to disagree that the term originated with Marvel. It goes back to Wil Eisner and others before it was used before Marvel did 1982. It was a word that was being slowly evolving.
      Here’s what Wiki had to say

      In 1976, the term “graphic novel” appeared in print to describe three separate works. Bloodstar by Richard Corben (adapted from a story by Robert E. Howard) used the term to define itself on its dust jacket and introduction. George Metzger’s Beyond Time and Again, serialized in underground comics from 1967–72, was subtitled “A Graphic Novel” on the inside title page when collected as a 48-page, black-and-white, hardcover book published by Kyle & Wheary.
      The digest-sized Chandler: Red Tide (1976) by Jim Steranko, designed to be sold on newsstands, used the term “graphic novel” in its introduction and “a visual novel” on its cover, although Chandler is more commonly considered[citation needed] an illustrated novel than a work of comics.
      The following year, Terry Nantier, who had spent his teenage years living in Paris, returned to the United States and formed Flying Buttress Publications, later to incorporate as NBM Publishing (Nantier, Beall, Minoustchine), and published Racket Rumba, a 50-page spoof of the noir-detective genre, written and drawn by the single-name French artist Loro. Nantier followed this with Enki Bilal’s The Call of the Stars. The company marketed these works as “graphic albums”.[13]

      you can


      It was a term was created to get away from the stigma that our culture had branded to the word Comic, thanks to the comics code. I don’t see it as a marketing ploy but as a way by some creators to get around that stigma our culture attached to the medium. If you look at the term Comic the actual meaning of it something that should not be taken seriously. The word comic was sort of a throw away term anyway. It doesn’t matter either way to me as long as people are reading them and respecting that it is an medium. This how Eisner used the term which is an example of getting around the stigma of the word comic.

      His calling the book a “graphic novel”, Eisner said in that same address, came about on the spur of the moment:
      “ I called the president of Bantam Books in New York, who I knew had seen my work with The Spirit. Now, this was a very busy guy who didn’t have much time to speak to you. So I called him and said, ‘There’s something I want to show you, something I think is very interesting.’
      He said, ‘Yeah, well, what is it?’
      A little man in my head popped up and said, ‘For Christ’s sake, stupid, don’t tell him it’s a comic. He’ll hang up on you.’ So, I said, ‘It’s a graphic novel.’
      He said, ‘Wow! That sounds interesting. Come on up.’
      “Well, I did bring it up and he looked at it and looked at me through his reading glasses and said, ‘This is a comic book, bring it to a smaller publisher,’ which I did. . . . At the time, I thought I had invented the term, but I discovered later that some guy thought about it a few years before I used the term.[2]

      from Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Contract_with_God

      By the most part most people that I have spoken to that are non comic people see comics as different from Graphic novels, which to me is a very amusing thing. What I’ve noticed is that they associate comics with men in tights, and graphic novels as a different critter all together. I mean ask most people about comics they’ll say “superhero” but Superheroes is a genre not a medium. However it seems to me that Graphic novel has wide range in the general public’s mind. So it may have been a ploy but it was not to sell more Spiderman but to sell other genres. By the most part having written some 200 length Graphic novels or 22 pages comics there is a difference like difference between the term short story and novel. because you know one is automatically longer than the other. But that’s my opinion on how I view the word. Very technical. I know if one of my friends says to me I want you write a comic. I know he means 22 page book. If he wants me to write a Graphic novel I know I’m going to have to roll up my sleeves and write 150 plus pages.

      Lastly I think that many of us who have grown up with comics we have this overprotective nature of the medium. I think this pushes people away that might be curious about it. In some way we become sort of rigid and I think this why are medium hasn’t changed as much as say film. We hang on to dear life for what’s old even if it was a haphazard throw away word like comics. I think the frustration amongst many of us is that we refuse to see that things change. Who knows maybe in 20 years from now they’ll call it something different. I don’t see people fussing over the word Film or Movie the same we do. That’s my take.

      • Piledriver

        “Some guy,” huh? You know Rich worked with Eisner around that time. Did some awesome colouring work over Spirit reprints as well as cover art for the Spirit magazine at Warren along with Bill DuBay circa 1977 iirc. To say “some guy” like that just reaffirms what kind of attitude Mr. Eisner seemed to have…

        As I said above, probably Eisner did have haughty intentions for the term, though I know for a fact that Richard Corben is too humble to set himself above others that way.

        • Miguel Guerra

          Well that’s fine and I was answering your line of thought about it being some marketing term forged by Marvel before your second reply popped through as I was posting mine. Either way there was a stigma at the time with the word comics. There still is. As far as I’m concerned there’s a difference from creating a sole book beginning, middle, and end that’s intended that way from a collected book of monthlies. Because by the most part you have with the monthlies to take into account ads and such with a straight graphic novel you don’t have that worry. No need for the 22 page cliffhanger and such devices. So I think from a writing stand point it’s different.

          As far as people running with terms, words, titles, works that others that worked for them being used, well this industry is a chock full those examples. I mean the whole industry is practically built on that. I think Richard is aware of how this industry works and wouldn’t bother because then it would be a whole other can of worms he probably doesn’t/didn’t want to deal with. It also cuts both ways in, perhaps in tight spot Eisner might have said it to sell his book. We don’t know. However if Eisner was anything like what you’re hinting at I think he would have been a house name. Besides I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories of unattributed credits from inking, writing, pencilling, to coloring you name it. Don’t even get me started on Trademarks and cease and desist letters for titles using the letter X. I really believe the copyright stories like the one Kirby family is going through now are the ones that we should feel truly passionate about, because as we argue about who came up with a term, if the term is good or not, or that possibly Eisner might have ripped Richard off for that term. Someone’s catalog of creations are being ripped off and unlike Eisner who didn’t make any money from the term Graphic novel, the others are making a ton of money from others works.

          However, right now the latest fuss that’s being generated is over what is digital comics. Everyone seems like they’re in a panic all over again like they did over Graphic Novels. The worry is that it’s a new format and worst yet it’s electronic. I’m sure some traditionalist heads will explode especially if they begin selling more than traditional print books. I also bet it’ll be hotly debated here at some point.

          • Piledriver

            When you actually get an assignment from a non-vanity studio for an oversized “graphic novel” be sure to brag about it. Up until the big indie crash in 2001 that sent most of us freelancers who weren’t work-for-hire regulars looking for other work, I recall it being a major battle just to get a three issue serial commitment from an indie publisher for a creator-owned project even before that. And work-for-hire means just that — you get put on the regular schedule to crank out the regular serial product.

            Of course, back then, if you were an individual or an independent team capable of doing complete production on a reasonably regular schedule, there was the option of going to a publisher like Calibur, which was borderline vanity publishing with minimal financial and advertising support. With them you could even hold out for oversized volumes like you’re talking about… if you could afford to not only gamble everything on the sales from one month instead of three or four and eat the lack of income all that time during production (don’t forget the four months between submitting your listing to Diamond and actually shipping your orders, plus a possible extra delay waiting for the publisher to sort out your royalties). A few did really with that system over the years… none that I recall started out with the phone-books, though.

            On the other hand, the work-for-hire page rates at the Big Two (the spandex people) were up to ten times what I was making for complete pages script to ink, or art only work-for-hire. Plus, folks working for the Big two got contracts for long stretches of guaranteed work, while the indies could barely promise a single-issue’s work at a time.

            I really don’t know how much better it is now. There are some new companies around — considering their angle and reputedly low production quality (in terms of printing), they may be buying heavier volumes. If so it still may mean a longer delay before you see any money for your work.

            Of course, it’s a whole different story for the big-name guys. They did their stints at work-for-hire ages ago and got lucky finding a grateful enough audience to buy them the privilege of job security and a steady income while working on extended personal projects. Must be nice.

            No worries about digital. Digital looks good. There are some pitfalls but any publisher who can handle advertising and provide good enough security to prevent piracy is practically raking in free money with almost zero production cost above what he pays the creators (barring internet companies start capping bandwidth or something).

            Defining digital comics? Meh. Conventional page layout will be king simply because the Big Two (not to mention Archie) are going to have 40+ years of back issues out there setting the standard — with leverage enough in WB and Disney to influence the shape of those iPads if necessary. So I certainly wouldn’t go banking on the avant-garde webcomic ideas Scott McCloud’s been peddling just yet. Besides, by sticking to the conventions you’ll be able to throw up the same work on a print-on-demand service and maybe see a few extra dollars along.

            Oh, and from what I hear from indie folks who’ve already jumped in — digital on iTunes is already doing far better turnover than print at that level. So no hot debates here.

          • Piledriver

            Bringing up the Kirby situation reminds me of Frazetta. His hardball with Warren made him a hero, but sadly didn’t change the industry quickly enough. When it comes to Warren, Richard Corben got the short end of the stick in all sorts of ways. I haven’t checked up on events in a long time, but it would be another blemish on Warren/Harris if the current high-end reprints of classic Warren anthologies are being done without resolving that situation.

            I actually didn’t mean to imply plagiarism. Just simple lack of professional courtesy dismissing a professional colleague as ‘some guy.’ Mr. Corben’s not the sort to get butt-hurt over something like that and it might not even have been his decision to put that on the slipcover. Who knows, maybe the phrase was going around generally; it was a pretty loose studio from what I’ve heard. Just an odd way of saying it when the conflict is so close to home, you know?

            • Miguel Guerra

              Very true, I understand. I guess there’s the what marketing we’re sold and then reality, and when you’re in a studio full of guys yapping as they work who really knows who said what or what was the topic of conversation and that I know as well. Believe me I understand, both first hand but also from others that have told me that they’ve experienced some of that. I’ll have to look up what’s going on with the whole Warren thing seeing Frazetta has passed and that’s usually prime time for “fast ones” to get pulled by companies. I wish more fans knew about this stuff as it’s happening not 40 years later. Then again it would require reporting and actual journalism. So I guess I might be asking for too much.

  • Miguel Guerra

    Actually I have a few friends that have gotten phone book sized books published with Top shelf. One was recently nominated for the Eisner. Also there are many more book publishers like Random house, Scholastic and others in the game and their looking beyond diamond to use different distributors but not to comic stores but to book stores and libraries. Also Marvel got rid of Diamond books as it’s distributor for it’s graphic novels. It’s also true about Diamond on distribution of such books. It seems they don’t want to encourage it at all.

    As far as the big two well they’re the big two so let’s leave it at that and yes there are plenty more new ones.

    On the digital comics side I got the latest scoop for a friend of mine that owns one of the digital comic companies and was at the panel at NYCC this week and can you say yes we can make a non issue into an issue. Oh, and the avant garde ideas were flying like crazy. So I’m telling you because at some point when the con is over we’ll be hearing all about this debate at some point. As far as what will be the final format that is up in the air because it could just be that we’re going to see something different come from this. Who knows at that point if some unexpected company jumps into the fray.

  • Joe

    I would have preferred graphic novel been given a different name, when they first started. If someone isn’t familiar with comics, the term graphic novel can conjure up something completely different, Hugh Hefner’s Little Annie Fannie, Bob Guccione’s Wicked Wanda, or worse. Considering underground comics in the 60 and 70’s, the first time I heard of it, I thought Larry Flynt got into the comic business. This wouldn’t take take that much of an imagination, considering adult media is rated or described as graphic and explicit. If my memory serves me right, I believe that novels with explicit content were referred to in the U.S. during the 50’s as graphic novels also.

    • Piledriver

      Apparently it did originate in the undergrounds. Even Eisner was “ground level” at the time, peddling the Spirit to the likes of James Warren and Dennis Kitchen.

      For me the emphasis doesn’t resound on “graphic” so much as “novel” (my preferred cue for signifying adult content is spelling the word “comics” with an ‘x’ ;)). Using the “Graphic Novel” label reads as putting on airs; trying to hobnob with intellectuals while doing nothing functionally different than the rest of us lowly cartoonists.

      Eisner doing just that isn’t too much of a surprise. I’ve yet to meet anyone from the comic-strip end of the pool who wasn’t a snob looking down his nose at comic-book artists, and Eisner had miles more room to talk than most of them. Most who use the label in that superior sense are not in the league of Will Eisner, though.

      • Miguel Guerra

        I agree in some aspect but I really don’t see it that way. I mean a romance novel is not to the same as a detective novel or a classic. They’re different. If they did that in the book industry and viewed the word novel in the same way we fret about we wouldn’t have sci fi novels, because they’re usually looked down on, they would just be called Sci fi books.
        Also if novel was reserved as a term alone for the greats then we’d have few novelist because Twain, Dickens , Cervantes, and many more greats would be the only ones to walk away with that label as it was higher art form reserved for them. Obviously that’s not the case there are plenty of not so great novelists who write a variety of genres that are not deep in thought and not very intellectual at all. So I don’t see the issue. When I think Novel I think duration and page count. For example Maus is something much better handled and read as full length books, the same with Nat Turner. Monthlies for these would not make sense. I think at this point we’re excluding ourselves. In end we’re only making the transition that many the Pulp mags did years ago to the paperback. As far as snobbery and people they’ll find anything to make themselves feel superior.

        • Piledriver

          Ahh, “graphic novel” is not a genre. I think it would be great if there were diversity enough for comic-books to be sorted by genre in American or European shops. It’s just not… yet, anyway.

          There actually is a distinct classification for prose novels that have PROVEN their superiority (the works of Tolstoy, Dickens, Twain, Kafka, Shakespear, etc.). It is: the “Classics.”

          Any egotistical author who would label his or her work a “Classic” in it’s first printing would be pretty universally panned for the audacity.

          In prose, “novel” has indeed been a definition of length, not quality or content. And now that dialogue-heavy prose has lead to heaver tomes, we’ve added “novella” as a subclass, purely as a descriptor of page-counts. However, that’s never been the common use, or understanding, of the term “graphic novel.” Notice Mario’s surprise to see a Spider-Man trade alongside Maus, or the description of an interviewer insisting that Frank Miller “writes graphic novels, not comic-books.”

          I think it is a stretch to hand someone a body of sequential art — comics — and call it a novel just because of it’s binding. We have widely-understood terms to describe the different length bindings, after all: from ‘perfect bound’ to ‘digest’ (tankuban) to ‘trade paperback’ to ‘hardcover.’ The specificity of those is superior, linguistically, for the purpose of describing such physical qualities, if not especially glamorous.

      • Miguel Guerra

        I agree in some aspect but I really don’t see it that way. I mean a romance novel is not to the same as a detective novel or a classic. They’re different. If they did that in the book industry and viewed the word novel in the same way we fret about we wouldn’t have sci fi novels, because they’re usually looked down on, they would just be called Sci fi books.
        Also if novel was reserved as a term alone for the greats then we’d have few novelist because Twain, Dickens , Cervantes, and many more greats would be the only ones to walk away with that label as it was higher art form reserved for them. Obviously that’s not the case there are plenty of not so great novelists who write a variety of genres that are not deep in thought and not very intellectual at all. So I don’t see the issue. When I think Novel I think duration and page count. For example Maus is something much better handled and read as full length books, the same with Nat Turner. Monthlies for these would not make sense. I think at this point we’re excluding ourselves. In end we’re only making the transition that many the Pulp mags did years ago to the paperback. As far as snobbery and people they’ll find anything to make themselves feel superior.

        • joe

          Look what they did to sell mustard to these “elites.” Some idiot in a Rolls Royce pulls next to another and rolls down their window to ask if they can borrow some.

        • joe

          In the 50’s the only difference between the romance novel and a graphic novel was the graphic novel was a romance novel minus the romance. I like to think of it as either Chaucer rewritten in modern English, or D.H. Lawrence written for the common man.

          • Miguel Guerra

            What I was getting at was simple just that the word novel shouldn’t be associated with high brow. I never said it was a genre either. The big thing is that the medium needed to do was to get away from the stigma of comic. Let’s be honest the medium up until now was for pre/teenage boys. I mean comic stores could have been easily renamed woman repellant up until a decade ago.
            The common man you speak off would never have said that they even bought comics a while ago but the word graphic novel does allow them the freedom to openly say they do and makes them feel free to read them in public. The same common man in high school who would beat up on those who did read comics. So let’s get real.

            On the other hand having dealt with printers and having books in diamond and other distributors I have my very own experience of the full production scope that shouldn’t be dismissed. So I can safely safely say in particularly with having dealt with printers when you say graphic novel they know it’s going be much longer book whereas if you say comic automatically they will think saddle stitched no more 48 pages. So my view is very technical, and even from writing 200 plus books myself I know the writing involved is different like that of training for sprinting versus a marathon. Both are running but they have different lengths and things you must focus on. If you want to fuss over the word go ahead.

            Piledriver you say that things went downhill in 2001 well it’s 2010 and that’s nearly a decade ago, and in a few months it will be a whole decade. Sure you may feel graphic novel is too snobby but life goes on. the world isn’t going to stop. I know you feel like the cartoon strip guys look down on you but time to thicken up your skin. Try sitting there and having someone tell you that you can’t draw white faces because you’re black and yet you have to sit there and swallow it. Trust there are bigger fish to fry. Now you may think there are less talented people out there who shouldn’t be getting the props they are awarded well that in a way smells of elitism on your part. It also smells to me that any one that does their own thing is doing Vanity publishing which tells me you hold onto certain views of what it is. I guess TMNT was vanity or did it stop being once it made it to the main stream no. You could say Marvel in it’s early inception was vanity publishing.

            So if some have aspirations of trying to reach for the high bar then that’s a good thing. We shouldn’t be crying foul because few will never achieve what Eisner did but some might but those who don’t even try will for sure never achieve it. I know quite well that it was the same attitude you’re displaying that many artists had that laughed Eisner about when he suggested back in the 40’s you could do more with medium. So spare me.

            Self defeatism, and the concern of the common mans children, is what allowed this medium to get sidelined for so many years. So now that we have a chance to get free and do something more with it, we cry foul? And cry I want my cage back. Why because of a word? A word that got the medium out to people who might not have looked at it before. We can continue to live in that little cage as to what the medium is and scoff at the fact that we could try something bigger and aspire to more. God forbid that we strive and believe in something and be proud of what we do. Because in my view you’re just saying to me they should remain funny books. You’re pretty much supporting that stigma that kept it suppressed.

            You know first it was the it was marketing term logic and then well just outright you just said you don’t like it. So perhaps I wasn’t completely right but I certainly wasn’t too way off the mark that it wasn’t Marvel or marketing gimmick. From this discussion it has shown that the history is a lot more complicated than what you original flat out thought. To that I say you’re entitled to your opinion but while you’re wallowing on the word others are producing and trying to reach for something and trying to make it acceptable. If people of all ages and genders are reading it and enjoying it then who cares. But if we go back to a word that’s going to cage it into a little itty bitty box then I say HELL NO!

            • Piledriver

              Actually the first thing I said here on the topic was that it is an odious word. Nor am I alone in this position.

              I’ve worked in comics and that’s the very reason it’s bothersome. It insults what I’ve done, and probably will do again, by insinuating that it is inferior (when in fact many of the kids who love to label their junk as “graphic novel” barely grasp the rules of page layout, perhaps because it is a vogue term among people who don’t respect comic-books enough to study them).

              No kids got beat up for reading comics in high-school when I was there. I do distinctly recall having a seven year old once tell me that comics were “for babies,” though. The people who perpetuate the term “graphic novel” PERPETUATE that asinine stigma!

              Guys like Robert Crumb or Harvey Pekar didn’t need to put on airs to appeal to an adult audience. People who make the sacrifices to work in comic-books are generally proud of what they do (those who draw superheroes and funny animals just the same), not so ashamed they feel the need to present themselves differently to be acceptable. And counter to your citations about Maus not working in serial form, Speigelman didn’t have a problem publishing it in multiple volumes originally, and he’d worked in serial format comics for over a decade before that.

              • Piledriver

                Something else: for all those people picking up comics in the bookstores now and the popularity of imported manga with girls, the market for comics is still only a fraction of what it was during the peak CCA years. Itty bitty box? It’s in your head. Not mine.

              • Piledriver

                I should stop conceding the elitist’s heroes as having special merit, while I’m at it. Maus, for all it’s sentimentalism, is not such a great comic; an artist looking to work in the medium could learn little from it. I’m not a Robert Crumb fan, either — his style is interesting but he’s an overrated drug-addled pervert.

                You could learn more from Wendi Pini than either of them, but her popular indie success wasn’t respectable among the elites because of the genre she chose and it’s ultimate mainstream appeal. Corben is dismissed as well, for similar reasons, even though he was published in the same books (and his work usually sold them).

                All part of the same elitism.

              • joe

                Piledriver don’t forget The Furry Freak Brothers, Trots and Bonnie, and Cheech Wizard besides Crumb’s Mr. Natural. These were carried in the National Lampoon. After a 5 year hiatus from comics, I saw a copy of National Lampoon in a 7-11 for the first time. For a 17 yr old it was amazing and entertaining how fast a parent got unglued over a comic, especially in the discussion that followed when the “it has social and moral redeeming value otherwise it can’t be sold” argument card was played.

                Only 2 issues in my room got thrown out, and discussions stopped. For about 3 issues afterwards, I left it open to one of the strips, placed small paper markers inside of select pages to fall out if the page were opened. Either they figured that out by the 3rd issue or gave up, realizing it wasn’t warping my mind and effecting my grades and rank in my graduating class.

                Several months ago, I got a book from one of the large chains that covered alternative comic history from the 60’s through the 80’s. Shopping only in 7-11’s was a sheltered life, I had no idea what there was out there. Most underground comics were sold through the alternative stores which were not a healthy place to go considering the police observation and raids then. What Crumb marketed through the “alternative” stores and mail order was aimed at a particular group, but had marginal drug use himself compared to his market.

                Crumb’s works were more about himself, in particular, fetishes. Probably racism would have been raised if the underground comics had been accepted in mainstream America then, considering a Crumb comic was depicting a store selling “canned negroe hearts” and human consumption of it throughout the issue. I’d wager that Crumb was more fetish and racial than druggie.

                Even National Lampoon delved into this with their article on pet food, specifically Doggie Wogs. But on the other hand the good humor magazine didn’t target any one group, they attacked everyone, even an ad about Ted Kenedy and Volkswagen, Irinda Ghandi, the pope, and the pepsi v. coke challenge; nothing was sacred. On a closing note if the original edition of Little Nemo were made after the 50’s it would probably been hit with racism too, the same with Disney and other cartoons from the 30’s and 40’s. Ripping Hitler and Germany was popular then too, but this past year Draw Mohammed Day thanks to SouthPark wasn’t.

            • joe

              Sorry about the confusion, if you live through almost 6 decades, terms change too many times to keep track of. For example computer meant the Eniac, then IBM 360, then PDP 11, then Vax 11/70, then Prime, then the Altair, RCA Cosmic Elf, 8080, 6502, then the Trash 80 mod I and Rotten Apple (the II and IIe – we’re talking pre-Mac), then the IBM PC and the MacIntosh (and Mac Plus), and finally what’s out in the current market. World economy meant the Marshall Plan and Galbraith-Keynesian economic theory was still valid. Today it means limited US exports, jobs outsourced overseas, and the older economic theory no longer works (supply/demand worked when the economy was national but when it became global it no longer applied because foreign economies had to be included in the national economy – “what if” became “what if the what if”, a simple theory became too complex)

              What was called a graphic novel through the 70’s appears to be called now erotic literature. I meant “DH Lawrence for the common man” as a parody of Larry Flynt’s masthead, where he compared Playboy and Penthouse to Hustler (and referred to it as a magazine for the working man.)

              Until the last 5 years, the last time I had read anything comic-wise was my early teens (in elementary and junior high we never heard of cliff notes but there were the Golden Classics comics), unless you count comix, National Lampoon, and Heavy Metal in the 70’s and looked over what my kids wanted.

              15 years ago my son just turned a teen and asked me to take him so he could get a graphic novel, nothing comic-related up to that point, the other parent would go ballistic over comics (14 years before that when she sent me out to the grocery store, she got rid of mine – no longer in print, and elephant bells I had saved – Levi no longer made them. That’s a story in itself.) I’ll say for discussion sake that I would accept that it was a sequential art publication. The next question was “will the store sell that to you?” answered yes. Follow that with a series of questions about depicted clothing and social behavior answered with yes. Then I made a call to the store. First question was about it being like a comic, answered yes with something about it being called Manga. Then asked about content, got the same answer. Last question do they sell to teens, answer yes.

              Fast mental image formed was graphic novel used to mean adult ribald literature now in comic form (someone in Japan rediscovered the Golden Classics comics), with same subject matter being sold to teens. A trip to the store was enlightening to what happened from about 35 years ago. This wouldn’t have occurred if someone was about 15-20 years younger, the only thing they would have associated with graphic novel was what it means today, not the archaic use.

              • Piledriver

                Gotta be careful about manga if you actually censor the kiddos. More explicit and disturbing stuff can be found there today than anything published out of San Francisco in the 60s & 70s. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to a Google images search for ???? (ero-guro) with the filtering off should clarify.

                Of course, you won’t have a problem with the comic shops. They all fear being the next Planet Comics (see the CBLDF website for an account of the comic shop owner treated like some kind of pedophile sex-fiend for not hiding all the Heavy Metal magazines and such behind the counter). But now that comics are going digital, there’s no stopping the flood of guro, shotacon, lolicon, yaoi, yuri, and other explicit classes of manga. Fact is the ‘scanslation’ scene has been going strong for over a decade on the ‘net, and kids are pretty well tuned in to it already.

                The world hasn’t gotten any less perverse in the last forty years, I’m afraid. All the old head shop stuff is going around again, too, as it’s cheap and easy to remarket old comix and magazines digitally. ;)

              • Piledriver

                Oh, aye. I collected a lot of the old undergrounds throughout the 80s.

                The perversity in them usually had a vibe of retaliation against censorship more than honest expression of perversity (like a lot of what’s out there these days). The page you referred to was in his very first self-published comic (Zap! #1) and I got that it was supposed to be shocking (he didn’t use the word ‘negroe’ either, if I remember correctly). When I first came across that I wondered if perhaps in context of the time it was printed it parodied something that was actually still circulating (I always tried to understand things). Crumb’s samboes remain some of the most dehumanizing I have seen — it is hard to imagine the mindset required to draw those, whatever the intent. Later Mr. Natural stories continued the “shock value” approach, of course — the pedophilia bits with big baby come to mind.

                When the Crumb movie came along, he actually disavowed satirical intent, saying that it all came straight from the id with no intent at all. Was it another attempt to shock? Or just the plain truth?

                I don’t have too much against Robert Crumb, and I do support his freedom from censorship. I also figure he inspired others into self-publishing on a shoestring back in the 70s and 80s. I just don’t think his work has the depth often attributed.

            • Piledriver

              “Try sitting there and having someone tell you that you can’t draw white faces because you’re black and yet you have to sit there and swallow it.”

              I’m assuming this was said to you? I have to wonder: was it true?

              I know that most artists seem to have difficulty accurately portraying people outside their own ethnicity, probably just because people grow up in ghettoes and never get the practice.

              I’m personally an American mutt (mixed brown and white lineage), and grew up in a community that was pretty well integrated (a hick community with blurred lines… imagine!), so to a degree I am able to cover different racial features from memory. But I’m not immune to the same effect. Ask me to draw without references a Samoan, or a Korean, or Chinese person… I will probably have difficulty not drawing a character who looks more Native American.

  • joe

    Piledriver, about the Manga problem at first it was an eye opener and took several days to comprehend. Yaoi and yuri were the first to pop up. Besides “Fun with Dick and Jane, there’s also “Fun with Dick and Johnny” and “Fun with Jane and Suzie.” Combine that with if you don’t know whether it’s read left to right or right to left, and leave it to a kid to try to pull the wool over their parent’s eyes (we’ve done it ourselves or tried to) that makes the job more difficult. Don’t forget besides Japanese, there’s also Chinese and Korean comics. As a side note Tokyo Pop released Hentalia Axis. It seems that this caused a rift between Japan and Korea. Run a search for Hentalia and look for videos. Korean legislators are emotionally charged and claiming that Japan has slandered Korea because of stereotyping Koreans and Japan responded in kind, resulting in Korean videos blocked in Japan. When I said emotionally charged, if you seen footage of legislators in either India or Asia getting personally involved in a debate, you get an idea how serious it was taken.
    The Planet-Manga incident was new to me, There was a manga case about 5 months ago in Tennessee that sounded similar. By the way was the Planet forbidden or was it the Forbidden Planet?

    A lot has to do with either parents that want all the benefits and none of the responsibility of a parent, or from either intimidation or laziness want the government to do their job. There used to be a time where parents were able to use reasonable discipline but are afraid to. Discipline looses it’s effectiveness the more distant the time the behavior occurs and discipline occurs, i.e. child engages in overly aggressive behavior in the mall and the parent waits up to several hours before they get home. the parent won’t discipline then but waits because of fear of being reported. So the child can’t associate it with their conduct. I’ve seen routinely when the parent attempts to, the child responds saying I’ll report you to my teacher.

    Ero-guro images, oy vey. Thank God Frank Zappa is not recent, one of his songs was titled “Weasels rip my flesh.” imagination isn’t needed on that one. If Frank Zappa is rediscovered for ero-guro, the only question is whether by teeth and claw, or by razor.

    Strips the National Lampoon ran in the 70’s were offensive because of bathroom humor. Trots and Bonnie: costume party, going as a tampon, and Cheech Wizard: paraplegic or quadriplegic get well gift – unicycle without the seat and a tube of superglue. The same formula worked with SouthPark, other than a few adults having an issue with profannity, it’s pretty much accepted. A lot of the issues with Manga looks like it more lifestyle related without some type of age restriction. Although if a comic was being done as a satire with an age restriction, I wouldn’t group it with lifestyles. For example a banker or someone in a finance profession has the reputation of money being the center of the universe to them. When they count receipts at the close of business they have an uncontrolled base emotional reaction that is definitely adult rated. At all other times it’s as if they have a spinal cord injury or a switch is set to off that prevents it, no matter what or the discomfort it gives them. One method I saw used had the opening and closing scene, with a symbolic representation in the middle. This was used during the 60’s under the ACMP seal and with it’s blessing. It’s easier to draw and more effective. Besides if someone was wanting more detailed explicit content, why should they bother with comics when video or photographs are better suited for those needs.

    With regards to the part about the last 40 years, the plus side is the DSM and the International Classification of Diseases have both increased the number of mental disorders since they first came out. Rather than the world becoming more perverse, there’s just more sick puppies that’s been diagnosed out there.

    • Piledriver

      Apparently ero-guro (sorry, looks like the kanji won’t print here) in one form or another has been around in Japan for a very long time. I remember being legitimately shocked by Urotsukidoji when it was brought over around 1990… little did most of us know how extreme things really were.

      Here’s a link to the page on Planet Comics: http://cbldf.org/about-us/case-files/planet-comics

      That’s a fairly old story now. I’m familiar with it because this was the shop I visited regularly in the 1980s (yeah, I’m one of those bubbas from a hick State you mentioned ;)), and Mr. Hunter always encouraged my aspirations as an artist.

      That tidbit about the DSM & ICD is interesting. I’m more familiar with the APA, which seems to be going the other direction: advising that anything that doesn’t personally bother you isn’t a problem.

      But, speaking of fetishes or mental disorders, there is (of course) a kink some people have for drawn images and it seems there are a lot claiming to be that (some use that to argue that the lolicon & shotacon manga isn’t about pedophilia). I forgot what that was called but with the DSM/ICD/APA on my mind I am wondering now if it is classified as a paraphilia by any of them…

      • joe

        Piledriver I’m not certain about the accuracy of APA’s advise that anything that doesn’t personally bother you isn’t a problem. The goatse man was a link people included for use as a prank. Apparently he wasn’t bothered, but definitely appears to have multiple problems or issues. Even though the DSM and ICD are extensive in size, this is one thing that they are not literally able to cover.

        The argument about drawn images not being pedophilia was made in a old court case, they weren’t photographs. The cartoonist depicted a minor and got convicted because the drawing had the characteristics of a minor and caused the reader to believe they were.

    • Miguel Guerra

      You really do have a lot of time on your hands and a lot to say. That’s cool. This isn’t about Manga and perversion and parental control that can be a separate discussion. As far as Manga not being labeled comics we can only blame ourselves here for that because they didn’t want to do that. At first it was just called Japanese comics or comics from Japan. The industry dismissed them but what was interesting was when the consul games system, in particular Playstation, got popular it wasn’t long after that Manga started to get popular. Much of the industry segregated their sales numbers to a manga list and did not have them mixed in with the mainstream titles. Then something funny happen their numbers started to swell so large that suddenly you had companies trying to say their works were American Manga. In many ways were are own worst enemy. This was beyond me it was all comic sequential art. As far as the stuff we receive here its 1% of a 3 billion dollar industry(used to be 6 billion) In fact many Japanese artists and creators a bit dismayed as to what the perception of the Manga due to what sold here. If you’re talking of variety that market is king. Now I know you might be a post war generation person yourself so there’s a certain anti Japanese sentiment and that’s fair enough. You’re creature of your time and as much as I am myself so we see things from the experiences we’ve both had at different times and places. Strangely enough I had the opportunity last night to meet an american artist through my agent who happens to travel to Japan often and works from time to time with creators over there. Flat out he said they take it seriously. If a child says they want to draw comics/manga(their word) the parent will begin looking for schools for them.

      About them discovering golden age comics suddenly now as though we didn’t have military bases there is very dismissive of them and of history. If anything they more likely saw the comics at the same time you did, trust me begin an product of the bases the only way I could get my american comics in Europe was through the military bases. Setting that aside I think they gelled with the format due fact that they all ready had a rich history of pictures and words that’s probably older than our own country. Not to mention that the language is visual.

      As far as Wendy Pini and Corben I think they’re fantastic and I don’t think Spielgman takes anything away from them. I think Maus was a very rich emotional story because it was personal and in a way it allowed many to see that the medium could used to do that. You take issue with his draftsmanship to that’s an another issue. I mean being the child of a parent who lived through the Spanish civil war as a child I relate to it.

      I grew up consuming a fair share of different comics and at an early age I was immersed in European some Japanese and American. I love the medium. I love European comics and one my current favorites is from a fellow Madrileño Juan Canales. Just to name one. A good chunk of my teens and early twenties was dedicated to Heavy Metal I love the mag and my dream was to be in the magazine. A dream I’ve accomplished several times now.

      Ok on the issue of being told black people can’t draw white faces, yes flat out I’ve been told that and it was by a fellow artist. His reasoning was because when we look int the mirror all we see is our faces. I don’t know about you but the amount of time I spend in the mirror on a given day is minuscule. Here’s what I took from it aside from the very racial statement he said he a fronted me with. Simply to me it boiled down to it was just another way of trying to shake my confidence and let me tell you the 90’s was chock full of guys wanting to be a the next Super star. There are many artists that are very wonderful people but they’re are plenty that will say things to kneecap you to break your confidence. Especially if they feel you’re going to be competition. It’s simple. One only needs to look at the friendly but competitive relationship of Picasso and Matisse which is comedic.

      As far as my own racial background it’s very similar to your own I’m mixed. I must say I’ve been fortunate that I got to grow up see many different places and have lived from large cities, to medium, to small ones. I’ve gotten to live in nice neighbors and bad ones and above all I’ve been exposed to different cultures and peoples. By the way I’m not the one using a username other than my own real name. Straight up you see my my name it’s right there and I would take your arguments more seriously if you did the same. I hope that if you are an artist that you get back into the game. You seem to have an opinion on it and I think it would be best if you did it and showed us what you think the medium should be. The more merrier.

      • Piledriver

        I wound up on Mario’s blog because I am considering jumping back in, at least part-time as a hobby to test the waters of the digital market, and I was looking into this Manga Studio software that he’s been so helpful explaining. Although I still have some worries, I went ahead and ordered it on the basis of what I’ve seen of the vector inking tool. If I can work digital start to finish instead of going through all the steps enlarging breakdowns, transferring, inking, and then scanning, I think it would improve production speed quite a bit. I have Photoshop already, but the brush tools there seem too temperamental when trying to work fast on high resolution images. You can get great lines with vector, tweaking and stroking, but that is anything but a time-saver.

        As you noticed, it’s been almost a decade since I’ve done cartooning work so I’m behind the times in a lot of ways. Even my grousing about the Graphic Novel label is the echo of an argument probably lost over a decade ago.

        While it is unsettling to see so much interest in yaoi and lolicon and guro material now, I generally dig manga.

        When I was studying the comic-book medium, manga was very helpful, because all of the manga artists had a solid education on the subject and followed pretty strict orthodoxy of page breakdowns & composition. I still have a collection of untranslated manga that I can’t read (not even the kid stuff with the phonetic notations) because they are such good examples. In the US, you know that’s not often the case. So many American cartoonists just make pretty page designs, and if the reading order isn’t clear…. well, just throw in an arrow there. Even people who know the form well may be wild rule-breakers (Frank Miller comes to mind).

        The idea of “American manga” is kind of silly. Odd on a number of levels, but I suppose I got used to it. When I was working with Antarctic they were all about cashing in on ‘manga’ and ‘hentai’ styles, so I got to see a few of the better artists adopting the style and giving it their own spin. Now I find it less painful to read a Fred Perry or Adam Warren comic than one of the many CLAMP or CLAMP-influenced manga that are coming over. Then there are the guys in Udon… downright inspiring.

        Not sure what you were referring to with “About them discovering golden age comics suddenly now as though we didn’t have military bases there…”. I think it would be very interesting to learn howWestern comics were first deconstructed and adopted in Japan.

        Looking in the mirror…? I guess some do more than others. How sad it would be to have that as your only reference. However, that might be a step up for some of the guys who draw by formula so strictly that their faces don’t look like any real human being (common with superheroes in the 90s when young artists were emulating Jim Lee). The whole topic of why we have certain shortcomings and not others is pretty broad territory — in general it’s valid to say that, without references, we can only draw what we know. I agree, though, that telling someone they ‘can’t’ do something is not a helpful observation.

        Not that I’m a nice guy ;). I’m no kneecapper, though — I like seeing people grow and improve.

        No telling if this post will show up, or where it will if it does — this thread has gone wonky on me.

        • joe

          Piledriver Smith Micro released both Manga Studio v 4 and Anime Studio v 5 within a short time of each other. No changes with MS but AS v 7 was released a short time ago. That says a lot in itself, that a lot of thought was given to v4 before it was released. The 3D feature of MS reminded me of what a few in 2D animation are doing to reduce time, adjust setting to get a 2D effect in lightwave, or either poser or dazstudio to render frames.

          If you look at some university blogs that do podcasts, keep in mind these supposed to be graduate students and faculty in a sequential art department of an institution of higher learning; they admit they are divided into 2 camps, Manga v. DC and Marvel related. It amounts to nothing more than “I like western and Manga is crap. No western is crap, I like manga” Even with a masters degree, you hear the same arguments 2 teenagers make, but with an educated vocabulary. After spending $300,000, I are edumated. It’s almost like looking at the Mac v. PC commercials.

          There’s a book about how western comics are deconstructed and adopted in Japan. BatManga got released about 6 months ago.

          • Piledriver

            That sounds like the book I added to my Amazon “maybe later” list awhile back, about adaptations of the Adam West television program. Sure to be interesting reading, but I think the original deconstruction/adaptation of the form goes back a bit farther. Osamu Tezuka gets so much hype I’m tempted to accept that it was a one-man revolution, but knowing how such legends are here… that’s probably not the case.

            Here, the system seems to have been refined through the work of a number of studios as guys were hammering out how to organizes comic-strips (bars) into a cohesive page, finding just how much the strips could be merged without losing coherent direction. While I’m old enough to recognize silver/bronze-age guys like Neal Adams and Alex Niño as the first to dabble in compound compositions (where the page has a unified composition like a single work of art in terms of relative values and shapes, while still keeping the panel-to-panel directional cues). That, along with improved printing technology, lead to the current trend of full-bleed comics with suppressed gutters. Earlier evolution, though… not only am I too young to have any personal experience of what was on the racks, but I think I may have been mislead a bit by overzealous fans of Eisner and Kirby. With scans of golden age comics appearing on the internet in recent years, I’m just beginning to see the timeline of progress.

            Manga clearly picked up the standard conventions prior to the silver/bronze age developments I mentioned. The only mangaka I’ve seen dabble in this kind of page-first composition is Masamune Shirow, with his work on GitS 2.0 (the results being a bit of mess — if a very pretty mess).

            I tried to respond earlier to the thing about Planet Comics, and some other things, but kept losing my post to the ether (and this post is trying to do the same…). Here is a link to the CBLDF case:


            It is old news, but very familiar to me. Planet Comics was the comic shop I frequented as a teen. The shop owner was always supportive of my artistic aspirations and really had a passion for comic-books, pointing me to lots of cool things outside the mainstream. It’s terrible how he was treated — as if he were some kind of pedophile!

            Yeah, I’m a bubba from Oklahoma. ;)

      • joe

        Miguel if you missed an opportunity to bait the guy that made “black people can’t draw white faces” argument, I’d be disappointed, in fact that’s an opportunity too good to be true and too rare to be ignored. A large enough staff with a variety of opinions is essential for this to work. First I would have sounded him out if he was working on a publication that had a diverse population, because that would require about 20 face artists. I’m average height, so based on that argument I couldn’t draw midgets or nose bleeders. At this point you’ll know every argument he would make.

        The bait happens when he draws females, each morning after imagine seeing a desk with a small variety of non offensive inexpensive “gifts.” There’s only a limited number of possibilities that could explain a male seeing a female face in the mirror: He has no Y chromosomes and is a genetic female (imposter, undergoing hormone therapy to correct a deficiency and the therapy hasn’t kicked in yet, or surgery); He has a Y chromosome and is a genetic male (he may like Bette Midler movies, or undergoing hormone therapy to correct a deficiency and the diagnosis was either incorrect or intentional); or he’s a dye in the wool SouthPark addict that just watched the metrosexual episode.

        Having a lot to say came from parents that moved to Texas from the North when I was 9 in the late 50’s. The locals still were reliving the civil war 100 years after it ended and kids were more than happy to start a fight with a damn yankee or carpet bagger. The solution was simple. First convince them I was a Texan by choice, easy to do when interrelated redneck kids are dumb. Second, verbally destroy the ringleaders after getting them to admit they were born there by asking them what’s their excuse, also easy – see redneck intelligent quotient above

        • Piledriver

          That sounds like the book I added to my Amazon “maybe later” list awhile back, about adaptations of the Adam West television program. Sure to be interesting reading, but I think the original deconstruction/adaptation of the form goes back a bit farther. Osamu Tezuka gets so much hype I’m tempted to accept that it was a one-man revolution, but knowing how such legends are here… that’s probably not the case.

          Here, the system seems to have been refined through the work of a number of studios as guys were hammering out how to organizes comic-strips (bars) into a cohesive page, finding just how much the strips could be merged without losing coherent direction. While I’m old enough to recognize silver/bronze-age guys like Neal Adams and Alex Niño as the first to dabble in compound compositions (where the page has a unified composition like a single work of art in terms of relative values and shapes, while still keeping the panel-to-panel directional cues). That, along with improved printing technology, lead to the current trend of full-bleed comics with suppressed gutters. Earlier evolution, though… not only am I too young to have any personal experience of what was on the racks, but I think I may have been mislead a bit by overzealous fans of Eisner and Kirby. With scans of golden age comics appearing on the internet in recent years, I’m just beginning to see the timeline of progress.

          Manga clearly picked up the standard conventions prior to the silver/bronze age developments I mentioned. The only mangaka I’ve seen dabble in this kind of page-first composition is Masamune Shirow, with his work on GitS 2.0 (the results being a bit of mess — if a very pretty mess).

          I tried to respond earlier to the thing about Planet Comics, and some other things, but kept losing my post to the ether (and here we go again…). The CBLDF case can be read about at:


          It is old news, but very familiar to me. Planet Comics was the comic shop I frequented as a teen. The shop owner was always supportive of my artistic aspirations and really had a passion for comic-books, pointing me to lots of cool things outside the mainstream. It’s terrible how he was treated — as if he were some kind of pedophile!

          Yeah, I’m a bubba from Oklahoma. ;)

  • Miguel Guerra

    LOL! Yeah the thread has gone kind of crazy that’s what happens when you let us artist types in, things tend to go in a non linear way in split second. Mario, sorry we took thread into a different direction.

    Pile driver,
    Yes Manga Studio is great program there’s a learning curve but that’s with any program or thing you’re trying. I was a tester on that program and since I started inking I never looked back. There’s some really cool things about the program like perspective tools which make drafting that much easier. There’s a tutorial where Dave Gibbons gives an overview of it. I don’t know if Smith Micro has it up still but it’s worth watching. I know Brian Bolland has made the switch to digital years ago. Not that anyone mentioned it.

    I’m very happy that Mario has tips on t because It’s helped even myself.

    The Japanese instructional books are killer, hardly any fat and right to the point, which what one needs. I remember long time ago when I’d buy them in Japanese because you couldn’t get them in english and I just pour over them trying figure out what they were doing. Of course they were so self explanatory you hardly need those words.

    As far as the university scene you’re right they’d argue anything from star wars vs star trek, Thing vs. Hulk and now Manga vs.Western comics.
    As far as the manga I consume it’s much more different than the top 10 stuff.

    I really respect guys like Takehiko Inoue particularly his Vagabond series. Lone Wolf and Cub is my favorite, the story is just phenomenal and just down right intoxicating. Actual anything written by Kazuo Koike is always going to be entertaining. He has a neat way of entertaining you and informing you of odd stuff like what the Mafia acronym originally meant or how you can tell the time of day by the dilation of cats eyes. Plus he’s not afraid of touching very dark subjects. There’s others from Dark Horse like Berserk the art is sort of insane and the story pushes the edge on taboo subjects. I love anything Tezuka. Astro boy was good but Ode to Hirohito is very engaging. There’s alo Akira which the books themselves are much richer than the anime, although to me the anime was good. Ghost in the shell, basically anything Masamune Shirow is always going to have some really interesting concepts about possibilities of the future. Those are just to name a few. I can’t really name a Tokyo pop book I might have picked up in along time. It’s sad to see titles like Satsuma Gishiden. the inking on that book and the story was great. I tend to like the intense stuff and I don’t mean due to sexuality but I mean more of what motivates the character or what has made them be them.
    Their approach is very interesting more like animation key frames than an illustrated book. I think that’s why their fight scenes are seem different than ours and very fluid. Of course when done well. What’s not really talked about over on this side is the heavy influence of European comics on them as well. There are many artist that are influenced by Heavy Metal’s legends like Moebius and Enki Bilal to name a few. Some of those artist works have made it over here artists like Katsuya Terada. So there’s plenty. I really like the Udon books grew up on Street fighter. Hmm, that Bat manga looks interesting I’ll have to check it out when I can.

    I’m totally with you I like to see people grow and unfortunately there are those who don’t and who feel like something is taken from them when others o grow.

    Yeah, be disappointed with me because I was with myself, but I was much much younger and I had done a good chunk of living in Canada at the time. Believe me politeness is a Huge Canuck thing. It took living close to 10 years in NYC to give make be more agressive and getting sharper at using my words. I guess in short I did a lot of growing up in this city. Also the north east is very subtle about their discrimination something so blunt very rarely surfaces and if it does it’s because someone is cruising for a fistful of knuckles. I wish I would of thought of the whole woman thing because you’re right according to him we shouldn’t be able to draw women. They should all look like man women. The irony is a few weeks later we met an African American guy from Detroit who could draw in that Travis Charest style. Life has it’s sense of humor.

    • Piledriver

      Nonlinear…. that’s me, for sure. Having some technical issues with posting, as well, though.

      Your tastes in manga don’t seem so far outside the mainstream, if maybe a little dated. I don’t care much for a lot of current manga, either, in the wake of Akira Toriyama & CLAMP. Especially the CLAMP influence.

      Probably the most recent series I’ve picked up was Agnes Kamen, by Minoru Hiramatsu. I almost passed it up, since the art was inked with a pen in a modern style similar to Keisuke Itagaki (Grappler Baki), but I’ve got a thing for Pro Wrestling manga (seems like a perfect subject for manga to me, though you don’t see it often anymore). I’m afraid there’s no scanslation, much less published translation for this one.

      I mostly dig the older manga, from the days of inking with a brush (of course I dig Kazuo Koike and Sanpei Shirato the mostest). I won’t make a list, as I’ve fairly broad tastes — including most of the titles you listed. Mostly old shounen and seinen stuff, though I can appreciate some pre-CLAMP shoujo as well.

    • Piledriver

      Oh, on digital process: I’ve been grabbing up a lot of things to get myself up to date — one was: “The DC Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics by Freddie E Williams II (foreword by Bolland).

      No mentions of Manga Studio, but for Photoshop it put my mind to rest about the applicability of Photoshop for producing high-resolution line art from scratch, as well as providing a lot of tips on improving efficiency.

      One of the things mentioned was a slap-myself-in-the-forehead idea that I wish I’d thought of ages ago: a template layer for perspective guidelines in Photoshop! Maybe obsolete when working with 3D models from Sketchup or Manga Studio, but sometimes I’m sure it’s faster to just draw something than build a 3D model. You can download that free from his website at:


      Also, if you dig the Udon stuff, their latest artbook that came out a couple of weeks ago has lots of information on their various artsts’ working methods.

      Vent – Volume 1

  • Miguel Guerra

    Yeah, I figured you liked wrestling with the username like Pile Driver. LOL! As far as the Manga I consume that was just some. The ones I’m currently enjoying are Death note, Full metal alchemist, Pluto, 20th Century boys, Gantz and Claymore. I just didn’t want to run a whole list. I really dig the older stuff too and I wish they’d bring over both Cobra and Fist of the North Star, but you can’t get everything. As far as CLAMP. I really have to admit my ignorance, I know of them but I haven’t picked up any of their stuff so I can’t judge one way or the other. I tend to really like what Viz has to offer though. I did manage to pick AX which is a sample of many of the underground stuff from Japan and published by Top Shelf. Also I have the Manga Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi which I’m hoping to make sometime to read.

    Masamune Shirow is great to me. Long time ago when I first got Intron Depot I remember wanting to experiment with my work more. I wanted to break free. He might not hit it out of the ball park every time, then again who does, but he tries to think forward and it’s a joy to see that.

    As far as the Dc guide to making digital comics yes I read it and he briefly mentions that he knows of other colleagues that use Manga Studio. He just prefers to use Photoshop. I’ve tried stuff out with Photoshop it can effective but a bit labored. The Perspective tools in Manga Studio are my view better seeing that you can manipulate to how you need them and quickly well draw the lines without having to stroke them. But you’d have to try them out for yourself to see if it’s something that gels with your process. I also find that the line from Manga Studio comes out crisper than Photoshop and plus the black ink is a very rich.

    That Criminal case involving Planet comics, well what can I say it’s sort of sad. I mean big banks can rip off Billions lose them and then have tax payers bail them out, but draw some skin or steal a candy bar and the full weight of society and the law comes down on you like a ton of bricks. Let alone if you’re some hotel heiress and you have porn tape “leaked out” you’re a sudden celebrity, but actually draw it and well get ready for trouble. Sort of backwards, isn’t it?

    Well I think we’re only starting to understand about certain disorders because were able to study things now society rather tuck away under the carpet. All the information we see every day is like a mirror that we’re gazing into. Most of which we have no clue what it means because we’re overwhelmed by it. I think these things were always there but it’s different to know at what magnitude. If you ever read or have read the History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault he has an inserting way of tying certain things back to repression of societies and the rising of certain disorders. He delves into how confession came about it’s very interesting. I don’t how his work still holds because so many things change so quickly.

  • Miguel Guerra

    Hey Guys,
    To be honest I need to educate myself more on the case and circumstances in further detail. You’re right Joe about what you see doesn’t bother is not necessarily right, but it’s a tough call. If it was a prank then no one is left laughing. We’ve have made huge strides in this world for children but there’s still more to go. I remember doing some research on Celtic lore and myth and now I can’t even so much as hear the name Crom without thinking about brutal child sacrifice. So you can imagine what it’s like watching Conan and literally shaking my head at how things get sanitized or rearranged, which is good in some cases. Worst yet if you look at the worship of the Corn god of the Aztec that was pretty messed up stuff. Killing some one is bad enough but what they did to them Was awful. I’m talking about the sun god sacrifice now with cutting of the heart this is a different ritual. It was tough to get past that that part of the research in world myth and lore without having to really feel disturbed. You get religion in the mix and some odds things can happen. The interesting thing is that this at one point it was acceptable practice around the world. Some places took as far as eating their children after killing them. Thank goodness we moved on. Kids always get the short end of the stick because they are defenseless but on the other hand some people can try excuse things on other things that have no relation to their own disturbed minds. think how many serial killers talked to Jesus/God were not necessarily banning the bible over them. For example they tried to blame the Matrix fo the columbine shootings. Personally I’m glad I live in the time period we do. It’s messed up but it has been times way more messed up than ours. Not that long ago children had to work horrid conditions in factories, boats you name it and well some still do and we should do something to help change that.
    Of course it’s a tough balance between freedom of speech and what’s acceptable and things will always challenge what we thinks is acceptable. Seriously surprised Videogames and the fashion industry don’t get pulled in more into court for some of the stuff they do, then again if you have a good lobbyist you’re sitting pretty in the sun.
    Makes one wonder though with the recent discovery that people with ADHD have actual missing information from their DNA that causes them to have that disorder. Scary, if it turns out to be the same case for other disorders. However the good thing is better treatments will devised to repair what went wrong. Let’s just say this thread has official gone of the cliff.

    • Piledriver

      Over the cliff and still going…

      “I also find that the line from Manga Studio comes out crisper than Photoshop and plus the black ink is a very rich.” <– looking at Mario using the vector pen is what convinced me to order Manga Studio. I'm a brush inker in conventional media, so I'm used to a fast flowing tapered line. Photoshop can't keep up with my hand when the dynamics of a brush are that complex, and stroking vector lines is a whole other hassle…

      I have a lot of questions still, but hopefully the software manual will cover them (any book suggestions would be great, though).

      On my interest in pro wrestling manga, it's as much a fascination with the handling of tight action in comics as anything. I've got a fair collection of Hong Kong kung fu comics and boxing/martial arts/mma related manga… but pro wrestling is special, because the audience is too familiar with the mechanics to accept cheap tricks and fakery in depicting the action (unless it's Kinnikuman having a superpowered wrestling match with a giant sneaker or a giant cellular phone… ;)). Boxing fans are savvy, too, but it's less challenging to depict a striking situation than a grappling situation. It was more studying the work of Richard Corben and Kevin Eastman that turned me on to this material, than studying Hulk Hogan and the Honky Tonk Man… though I also appreciate the exaggerated theatrics of pro wrestling.

      The modern Japanese wrestling scene has a more mature sort of drama to it as well. Agnes Kamen is actually a seinen manga that spends a lot of pages illustrating the business side of 'puroresu' as well as dramatizing how the various venues differ (many seinen manga have that educational quality that you mentioned in Kazuo Koike's work).

      When Marv Wolfman said "by the time you've read comics for a year or two, you've seen almost every possible variation of a fight scene" he couldn't have been more mistaken.

      As for CLAMP: they're very popular, to the point that it seems every shoujo or seinen (and a lot of shounen) manga/anime in the last ten or fifteen years is emulating their style of emaciated and shaggy-haired bishounen emo-kids… *shudder* I can't stand it. It's a lot like the Jim Lee clone phenomenon here (thank goodness that is finally fading away).

      Same with Akira Toriyama. I actually like his style a lot, as far as it is uniquely his thing. It's the stylistic influence on later artists that has not been so good.

      I agree with you guys on the questionable nature of the APAs policies. So far as I knew, they represented a common standard in psychiatry, but I've long taken issue with them constantly changing their definitions based on votes instead of evidence. That's the way of politics, not science or medicine, and yet we allow these people to prescribe drugs and treatments (or not) based on those standards.

      Also, disturbing that you can say 'goatse' and not have to explain… *double shudder*

      • Miguel Guerra

        Hey Pile Driver,
        I think the manual you get with the software is a Pdf. I know it sucks. As far as good books a friend of mine on tweeter wrote one but it was for the previous version and literally the following week of it’s release Smith Micro released the latest version Manga studio making much of what he had in it obsolete. Of course it hurt the sales. So You have to look around to see what you can find for now on online. Or just tinker with it. That’s why I’m happy with Mario’s posts on the subject.
        On the pro wrestling side thing and being influenced I hear you I draw a lot from martial arts not the ballet kind but the more rugged kind and your right grappling is a painful thing to draw. Once you get a hang of it it’s a ton of fun.
        I hear you on the clone thing. I have aversion to that and like you especially after the whole Jim Lee thing. Not that I don’t like him but he’s him. I guess so many people are willing surpress their personalities to make a buck. Add to that you always hear some editor say who will be the next Jim Lee which can read as clone him. I like looking at that work once everything cools down and the hype is quieted down and just seeing it for what it is and judging it that way. it’s hard for young artists to find their style. I think the industry really needs to encourage it. Will we see that? who knows? Especially when dollar signs are more important to them than art.
        You’re right Dragon ball has it’s own thing going on. I’ll have to try see that from the beginning one day.
        On the goatse thing I totally hear you on that maybe it’s gotta be an inside gag! you know they sit there straight faced and as son as they leave the room their laughing at the world.

  • joe

    Miguel gone off the cliff? This thread is interesting, diverse, and educational. And has the most reader participation compared to the other threads.

    The goatse man is definitely no prank, some linked because of the reaction their “victims” would get, probably 5 full minutes of wtf (and the sender probably wish they could watch the expression of the recipent)

    Mosaic law has a prohibition of preparing meat with dairy products, including cheeseburgers, related to killing and eating children. In this case it was to prevent the practice of boiling a calf in it’s mother’s milk. Sounds like this was a worldwide reoccurring theme throughout history. Blaming the Matrix for Columbine, I remember when it was Drangons and Dungeons.

    I think the Donkey syndrome, a genetic disorder, is the cause of most of the disorders occurring now. 5 minutes of Jerry Springer can substantiate this. If they did DNA testing on the guests (I’m not talking about Drugs ‘n Alcohol testing, but it would show positive too), they would find a jackass somewhere in their lineage. Humor aside now, besides disorders we now have a growing population. If the government offered $10-20,000 to be voluntarily sterilized, the ones that would jump at the opportunity would think of it as a quick way to get money – they don’t think of consequences and the future. The same ones seen daily in family court for paternity cases and collection of child support. No one else would seriously consider taking the offer.

    Most of the children follow in these parent’s footsteps, and will not make a significant contribution to society. The outcome wouldn’t be bad, drug use and expenditures in both criminal justice and family courts would be cut, less crowded schools, and existing resources could be shifted from social programs to genetic research.

    • Miguel Guerra

      Nothing wrong with going off the cliff as long as you have a parachute. LOL! No really it’s been a great thread. Just anyone who might look at the length at first glance might think wow they’re really hammering at each other on the subject. Until they read how it flowed in and out of one subject like wrestling, child sacrifice, manga not all in that order. I think linear mind would have a head ache. LOL!

      About the goatse I know it’s not a prank I was kidding. In my first art job in my teens was an assistant tombstone artist. We tended to have the professional face but then the day to day side we’d joke about some dark stuff. I think that’s how your mind copes with intense situations. I’ve found this to be true with friends I’ve had in other fields like nurses, ambulance attendants, etc. It’d be hard to get through the day if you didn’t have your humor that to fall back on.

      Hey I heard on you on all those other points. True in some cases and over all sad. On that note I’m signing off this thread and taking the usb plug out of the back of my neck and going to spend some time in the real world like it was before the internt came around.
      Great chatting with you guys.

  • Mario Post author

    Sure this thread is very educational guys! I’m a little bit overwhelmed by all what you guys have written.

    Yesterday I told a friend about this and said that I have to catch up reading it in the weekend because otherwise I wouldn’t know what’s going on on my own blog. I really appreciate your commitment and chatting like this here.

    Again, thank you guys and sorry that I stayed on the sideline for a couple of days.

    • Piledriver

      I am afraid a number of my posts above wound up out of order, with responses coming before the posts they were responding to — so no surprise if you get lost. My fault… I think. But then, my being such an argumentative cuss also kept things moving…

      Maybe if you post more on potentially controversial subjects we can take over your blog even more. ;)

      • Mario Post author

        I’ll try to post more potentially controversial stuff if this suits your needs ;-)
        There is by the way the possibility to write guest posts. Send me a message via the contact form and I will give you my direct e-mail address so we can talk about the details.
        Of course this invitation is also for Joe and Miguel.

        • joe

          More controversial, hmmm. Posting or linking the goatse dude, asking for reader input of “Is it art, porn, or shock; and what was the reason for their answer.” I bet the thread would hit over 10,000 responses. Just kidding but it would cause enough traffic to crash a server. Goatse dude has problems and probably craving attention because of a gaping hole in his life. Although is this how politicians see taxpayers.

          Scrap my first idea, post or link the goatse dude, asking for reader input of “Is this how government views tax payers and name the politician and president that most likely did. Unfortunately again the chance of enough traffic to crash a server. Why can’t life be as simple? Like had Ted Kennedy drove a volkswagen he would have been president.

          • Mario Post author

            Hi Joe,

            Honestly I don’t know who the goatse dude is even though I googled the term. Alas, I can’t use my alibi that I live in the Netherlands.
            As I said earlier I have to read all your comments in the weekend, maybe I learn who this guy is by doing so.

            When I moved the blog to the new provider in July I bought 3 times the bandwidth I had before.
            Last month I even had to more than double this again. It’s a good sign of course.

            • Piledriver

              Do not research that. It is GREAT AWESOME WONDERFUL to learn that someone has avoided that bad internet prank up to now. Please do not spoil that. You really do not want to know.

              • Mario Post author

                On one hand you make me more curious on the other hand I don’t want to waste my time with prank.
                I think I can live without knowing everything :-)

  • Steve Davies


    That was a really worthwhile read.

    Occasionally people do ask me whether they should refer to what I do as a comic or a graphic novel. I guess they ask because they don’t want to offend me by using the “wrong” term. I tell them I really don’t mind, and use comic/manga/graphic novel interchangeably because I don’t want to exclude anyone over what is for me mere terminology. The term I use most frequently is “story” – because that’s the part that’s most important to me.

    On the term “novel”, it was originally used because the form was “new”. Though it has continued to be something that periodically renews itself and does seem to be able to pull in different forms of story-telling. I was also thinking about Dickens – now considered one of the “great novelists” – he originally wrote all his books as serialisations in magazines, and were only later bundled together in books. In some ways I could see Dickens as a comic-book writer if they had been a popular medium in his day – his use of characters that verge on the caricature, the starkly-drawn moral universe, the periodic cliff-hangers.

    For myself, I had returned to being a comics fan when my son started to become interested when he was about 8 or 9. I started to see that it was a medium I could use to say some things about bad behaviour around the office without getting too scary and personal about it. Being in an office, everybody had computers and email and were used to being sent presentations, so that decided the medium for me. I used what was to hand – Paint did a rough and ready job of pictures, and Powerpoint had basic speech balloons and turned pages for you. I do the whole thing in episodes of about 20 frames each month, because that’s as much as I can fit around the day-job and family life. It’s also good discipline, otherwise I feel I could just drift…

    So, two years later I feel I’ve paid my dues, and I’ve begun to use Manga Studio Debut, which has opened up a whole new range of possibilities. And it’s so good to use I could cry.

  • Nikki Yung

    Wow. I read this article and all of the comments. I must say, great information! I agree that the definition of a graphic novel is a bit fuzzy.

    About the DC/Marvel-type style vs manga style, I find that the DC/Marvel drawing style seems to include more dark-looking drawings and very wordy or lengthy speech bubbles, whereas manga seems to include more clean lines and concise dialogue (so the reading pace of the manga will match the pace of the story).

    Thanks Mario for posting this. And thanks to all of the people who discussed it. :)

  • Mario Post author

    @Steve @Nikki
    Thank you very much for your 2 cents on this topic.
    I think the whole discussion here is more worthwhile than the original post.
    All you guys have so much interesting points of views and so much to say.