Whither Comic Books?

Maybe I should have titled this “whither graphic novels.”

Whether you call ’em comic books (my term growing up) or graphic novels (the current  term) you have to admit the word/picture story-telling combo has carved a very unique niche for itself. I have always looked at the comic book as a short story with pictures, where writing and art get equal billing.

Not everyone agrees with me. When I was growing up, my mother disapproved of comic books. She insisted that I read “real books” in addition to my comic favorites. (Although, she never objected to my reading Illustrated Classics, which were comic book versions of literary greats, e.g. Dumas’ The Three Musketeers.) My father read Sgt. Rock as a teen; I tended to go with Spider Man and the like before graduating to Rex Stout and Ellery Queen as an adult.

I wonder what Mom would say today if she knew that NYT best selling novelist Jodi Picoult also wrote a 12-part Wonder Woman comic book run? Or that novelist Greg Rucka also has written numerous comic series? I’ve read Picoult and Rucka- comics and novels both- and I’ll let you in on a little secret:  These folks could tell great stories in any medium.

That’s what writing is all about: telling great stories that leave the reader wanting more. A good writer should be able to tell a great story regardless of medium. Novels, comic books, films, TV advertisement or stand up comedy-  it’s all good if you can craft a message that resonates with your audience and gets them to feel, think or do something.


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