In which I pointlessly note an uninteresting oddity.

Having spent my entire reading life tussling with others over the comics page (pages, actually: In the Chicago Tribune, there were always two, and one split and shared them in my home, or one lost a limb) — and believe me when I say, dear reader, that if I haven’t finished the comics yet, I will snatch them from my own children’s hands — I came to a rather surprising realization yesterday:

I love the comics, but don’t really enjoy graphic novels — YET: I love novels, but don’t really enjoy short stories.

Isn’t the short story to the novel what the comic strip is to the graphic novel? My problem with short stories is that I don’t have enough time to immerse myself in the experience, to get to know the characters, to get lost in the machinery of someone else’s imagination. Why is that not an issue with the comics?

Just to add to the weirdness, I will happily settle down with a collection of comic strips in book form and read page after page — but seek out an actual novel in graphic form? Never.


I now return you to your regularly scheduled Rest Of The Internet, where I’m sure interesting things are being said, somewhere.



  1. I blame society.

  2. cofax

     /  September 5, 2012

    Go find a copy of Digger by Ursula Vernon. It just won the Hugo for graphic novels. It’s about a wombat, who is awesome, and an elephant-headed god, and a shadow child, and a nameless hyena tattoo artist who will break your heart. It’s really marvelous: funny, exciting, moving. Brilliant stuff. And it’s also online for free, here.

    I guarantee: it’ll make you think differently about graphic novels.

  3. Darth Thulhu

     /  September 5, 2012

    A great deal of the issue is that graphic novels are largely dominated by one single subgenre. If you ask us to recommend good novels, we could fill your inbox with thousands of worthies culled from thousands of years and thousands of cultures. If you ask us to recommend good graphic novels that aren’t superhero fiction, we are limited to probably fifty or so standouts in the past fifty or so years from fifty or so mostly western cultures.

    But among that fifty, I would recommend Maus, Persepolis, and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (which is more a short series of novels with a few one-off stories as standalones).

  4. mom

     /  September 5, 2012

    all of the above cloned directly from your own mother.

  5. CitizenE

     /  September 6, 2012

    Gosh Emily, you should read MAUS. It came out with a hypertext CD Rom version that I believe has been adapted to some sort of electronic and digital device, though I cannot track that down. It is important and transfixing.

    • Well, I did read Maus. How uncultured do you think I am? And I did find it powerful. So, you know: Exception, rule. That sort of thing.