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The Value of Graphic Novels in Society

Updated on August 19, 2017

Graphic Novels in Public and Academic Libraries

Today, Graphic novels hold a great deal of value in literature today and in teaching and learning about literacy. The graphic novel is both a book and an art, that displays pictures in an emotional and relational format, so that the reader, whether young or old is exposed to a new unique way or method of reading. This is valuable to a young growing reader who is exploring new genres, and who might not be as skilled of a reader as they would like to be. Graphic novels really paint out or depict the plot or story-line, so it is much easier to follow and keep up with these books rather than a different type, such as one with only words.

The development of a collection of this genre, with the addition of this genre would be very wise for a library to invest in. This is because they will be able to attract more attention to their institution and from the public. Since graphic novels are being made or ingrained much more in popular culture today, a library would find adding these materials to be advantageous. Additionally, inspiring the youth to grow into life-long learners, should be one of the library’s main goals or missions. There should be a thoughtful approach to teaching and making these materials a part of the library system, seeing as graphic novels are not incredibly well known. While they might be becoming more popularized, this type of novel should be able to assist a reader in further understanding life topics, such as social and mental concepts. I think that a graphic novel really presents society, and the human relationship to the community. People will be able to relate to common themes, and share this relation to the book. This could even assist them in their everyday lives. I believe through collecting these kind of materials, a library will not only gain interest, but receive more of a response back from their patrons. They may be asked more questions about these books, but the interactions between the librarian and user will be instilled. The importance of having a place in the patron’s life, and providing them what they want and need, should be a constant goal of the library. Making sure that these needs are consistently met would be a main vision that should never be lost out of sight.

While the association with art and words stretches as far back as Egyptian hieroglyphics, Graphic Novels are a product of the 20th century. The newspaper popularized the comic strip, which began to show the rise of graphics being ingrained into culture. Society became familiarized with well known artists such as E.C. Segar and Frank King, to comic books such as Super Man, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The phenomenon of comic books really came into play in the nineteen-thirties and were a source of entertainment for the masses. Following World War II, the introduction of comics moved its way to the production of graphic novels. Not long after, the production of more science fiction books came about, along with other themes, like war and humor.

However, following this period of time the idea of censorship came about by the government for the graphic novel. No heavy gore scenes were allowed, as well as prohibiting scenes of sexuality, and suppressing excessive violence. By the late nineteen-sixties new ways of storytelling came about, which integrated comics and stories together, especially in Will Eisner’s short story which showed how these novels could have a literary effect. Best-selling graphic novels had made a breakthrough by 1986, and well known productions such as Watchmen were being sold to the audiences. Up until the nineteen-nineties, there had not been an incredible influx of graphic novels from other foreign countries. However, Japanese influence brought about the new genre of Manga to American soil.

The creation of movies based on comics has become progressively common in the entertainment industry, and the production of these is occurring more now than ever. In today’s 21stcentury, the idea of creative expression and freedom is written within the many themes of the graphic novel. These books display characters who go through similar mental and emotional battles, and offer a new outlook on life through their many stories. Throughout the years, the development of graphic novels have displayed major and crucial topics such as political issues within their pages. The genre has made it possible for others to discover more about diverse cultures, different backgrounds, and even provide a sense of community for many readers. It is not just a reflection of young culture, but young and old populations alike.

© 2017 Rachel Mariepage

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