What Is a Comic?
A comic book is a series of words and pictures that are presented in a sequential manner to form a narrative. Sometimes the result will be funny and sometimes very serious. Comic books originated in the United States in the late 1800s. Everyday language, including slang and idiom, are part of the content. What has always been enjoyed about comics is the interplay between text and visual image.
A comic can be considered to be a form of historical text that comments on how both young people and adults identify with cultural and political issues. In other words, it provides more than just a form of entertainment for children. The interplay of image, narrative sequence, visual image, motion, art and interactivity reflect on what has happened in the world at the time it was created. Comics provide specific information about culture and history while they entertain.
The link below goes to a video presentation titled, "Alternate Literary Voices and Vehicles." This is a video presenting background information regarding the popularity of graphic novels and comics and includes portions of works by Art Spiegelman and John Gould.
What Is a Graphic Novel?
A graphic novel is a book written and illustrated in the style of a comic book. It includes "sequential art" that is used to tell a story. The characteristics listed here relate how the elements come together to work well for different levels of readers.
Graphic novels add a visual focus to the reading experience.
For weaker readers there are fewer words to decode.
Concise word choice and the use of sound effects added to the text enhance the story elements.
Skilled readers are drawn to the succinct language that provides an efficient communication level as themes and ideas are conveyed.
The creation process enhances the story as readers move from panel to panel to participate in the unfolding of the story.
Graphics used by the artist provide elements that result in interactivity with the action in the story.
The final result is a work that tells a story with the strong appeal of art as a positive enhancement.