Have You Considered the Class Implications of Comic Book Lingo?

By Communications Office RSS Tue, June 26, 2007

Douglas Wolk--author, blogger , and journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and Rolling Stone, among many other publications--has a new book coming out next week entitled Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean. In an excerpt from the book recently posted on Salon, Wolk considers the phrase "graphic novel" as misnomer, making reference to Alison Bechdel along the way.

"...[The] 'novel' part of 'graphic novel' blots out the idea of short fiction and nonfiction--it's odd to call, say, books of reportage in cartoon form by Joe Sacco and Ted Rall 'novels,' or to suggest that memoirs by Alison Bechdel and Harvey Pekar are fictional, or that a collection of short pieces by Ellen Forney or C. Tyler is actually an extended, unified story," Wolk writes, later stating, "The class implications of 'graphic novel' almost instantly led to the term's thorough debasement. As a ten-dollar phrase, it implies that the graphic novel is serious in a way that the lowly comic book isn't."

Read the entire excerpt here , and don't miss Alison Bechdel tonight at the Central Library's Montgomery Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. (This event is free; no tickets required.)

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