Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Book is Better

This week, we're mixing it up and reviewing, essentially, the same story but in two different formats (graphic novel and book form.)  There are a lot of books that are being converted to their graphic novel counterparts (Twilight & the Anita Blake series, just to name a few.)  So which is better?

I'm here to make a case for the books.

1. Graphic novels are a lot of work.

Yes, they're pretty and they're interesting and aesthetically appealing, but graphic novels take a lot of effort.  Often, you have to pay close attention to what's happening in the frame because it's going to give you a clue as to what is going on in the story.  If you miss that one frame, it could throw the whole story off.  And then, of course, there are wordless comics which require you to "read" all of the pictures.

This is not to say that books AREN'T an investment, because obviously they are, but for two totally different formats, they take a surprisingly equal amount of time to read.

2. It's hard to get lost in the story.

This ties in with the pictures telling part of the story.  You need to pay attention to the photos, but you have to stop reading the narrative to do that.  So the dialogue and story often get interrupted for long periods of time while you look at all the pictures.  It makes it hard to become completely consumed by the narrative.  It makes it hard to just get lost in the words.

In books, it's easy to drown in the words and the language and the story.  And, at no point, do I need to look at a picture to understand what's going on with my story.  If they DO include pictures (and I'm talking adult books), they're usually just scenes in picture form (like in old copies of little women.)

3. eGraphic Novels aren't really a thing.

Ok, if you have a Kindle Fire or an iPad, I suppose this applies a little less to you, but the normal black and white Kindles and Nooks (which a large majority of us have) don't support the graphic novel format.  You can get books galore, but if you want to read the latest Sandman, you can't exactly download it to your eReader (plus, the reviews say it's a TERRIBLE format to read it in).  Which makes any sort of graphic novel/comic book collection expensive.  You have to buy the paper copy, which can get costly.

(As an example, Sandman is running at $14/copy right now.  That's twice as much money as a book.  And it has an eCopy (at $11), but I would think it would have to be downloaded to a fire, since it's in color and the paperwhite Kindle is, well, not.)

Speaking from experience  GN are also hard to read on a tablet.  The colors tend to be a little off, you have to zoom to read words, so you can't even see the page all at one time.

eBooks are just like books, minus the fact that there is no actually paper involved.  You turn a page, and all the text is there.  They're formatted correctly and they're usually pretty darn cheap.

4. Graphic Novels don't leave a lot to the imagination

When you're reading a book, you get great descriptor words.  You get great imagery and I, personally, think it's a sign of a good writer who can use just words to make you see their vision.  Also, the book allows you to be really interpretive.  It gives you a lot more leeway in how you think the world looks and just makes the book that much... better.  It really becomes yours.

Graphic novels don't really give you that option.  Since everything is drawn and shown to you, you don't really get to make it your own like you would a book.  Everything is right there in front of you, showing you exactly what it should look like, leaving your personal imagination a bit at the door.

Stick around, because on Thursday, Alex is going to make a case for the GN.  Which do you prefer?


  1. I have read very few graphic novels, so I have to go with books. But I think it also depends on the story. I don't think turning a book into a graphic novel is a great idea, but turning a graphic novel into a book may be good, if the author is able to flesh out the story and dialogue. I think graphic novels make much better movies though. Most of the time, too many things are cut out of movie versions of books. Some are good though. That's a whole other discussion.

    1. I just have a REALLY hard time getting into graphic novels. And that's not to say that all graphic novels are terrible, but I just haven't found one yet that I LOVE and would recommend to everyone.

      (Even Sandman. I LIKED it, but I didn't love it.)