In recent years graphic novel has been the centre of the discourse about Comic, because the graphic novel proposes the independence of this language through adult themes, differing from comics for children and teenagers. But talking about the graphic novel was also an expedient to advertise, to sell and to put comics on the shelves of the libraries in a market in crisis. For this reason someone says that this sequential genre does not exist, that it is just an urban legend.
Actually we have not a single definition about the term graphic novel, but approximate ideas that lead to false attributions. In the expression graphic novel there are words that could explain his nature. According to my thinking, the graphic novel is a narrative genre of comic, as a novel is a narrative genre of literature.
Synthesizing studies that are too extensive, the novel is a story self-contained that revolves around a crisis. This crisis brings inevitably the character to change itself. So, there are elements that differentiate it from other narrative forms, among other. In fact, if we said that the novel is self-contained, we must exclude the serial narrative and if we said that the novel accepts the concepts of psychological growth, we must exclude stories with a character who lives externally and forever: Tex, Corto Maltese, Dylan Dog, Batman, Superman, Tintin, Blueberry, Astroboy, Black Jack, Sgt. Kirk, Alack Sinner. The character of the novel, on the other hand, acquires inner awareness. He could change because the crisis has touched his soul and he started to look at the outside world in a different ways. A different point of view of the world has given him the ability to choose; he chose whether to live or to die, whether to remain in the deepest crisis or whether to make a change of his being without possibility of return.
The graphic novel like a novel is therefore a unique, complete and one piece narration. It doesn’t matter if it is narrated weekly or monthly in a magazine, but it’s important that the story has a conclusion. One of the first graphic novels was serialized in the magazine Hora Cero Semanal in 1957: El Eternauta written by Hector Germàn Oesterheld. But to be honest a lot of graphic novels were serialized in magazines: in Italy La rivolta dei racchi written by Guido Buzzelli was published in 1967 in the Almanacco dei Comics by the Institute of Education at the University of Rome, in Japan Ode to Kirihito by Tezuka was serialized in Big Comic between 1970 and 1971, in USA too with Maus: a survivor tale, made by Art Spiegelman, or in France in 1978 Ici Meme by Forest and Tardi was read in (À SUIVRE) and La course du rat by Lauzier in the same year was read in Pilote.
Thus we can say that the graphic novel is not any sequential form for adults, but an independent and definite genre. Today the graphic novel is a sequential genre that it’s discovered alive and fruitful every day.
Published on february 2011
Andreani Nicola, Graphic Novel. Il fumetto spiegato a mio padre, Nicola Pesce Editore, Battipaglia 2014