The Tea Tree Gully Public Library boasts a collection of more than 2400 graphic novels. The collection is very popular, but to many people the term ‘Graphic Novel’ is something of a mystery. Just what are Graphic Novels? Are they a new phenomena? Where did they come from?
Graphic Novels have been around for quite a long time, with so called ‘prototype’ graphic novels appearing as early as the 1920s! Launched in the 1940s, the magazine Classic Illustrated contained public domain novels re-produced in comic book form. The book ‘Blackmark’, published in 1970 by Gil Kane and Archie Goodwin is considered to be the first true Graphic Novel, though that term would not appear until 1976. The story ran 119 pages and was told using art and word balloons, making the book a novel but told in a graphical format.
Since that time both DC and Marvel now make a habit of collecting their larger story arcs and classic issues into what used to be called ‘Trade Paperbacks’. These days, graphic adaptions of films and computer games are fairly standard as part of the larger promotional efforts as are graphic adaptions of popular print novels.
Why are they so popular? I think that it may be a case of people being more aware of their existence, not just through public library collections, but through regular bookshops and department stores as well. The influx of Japanese animation (Anime) and it’s accompanying print form (Manga) may also have contributed. At Tea Tree Gully, approximately half of our graphic novel collection is Manga format.
Why not check some out for yourself? If you are a big fan, check out our new Facebook page Talking Graphic Novels, Manga and Anime at TTG Library!