Graphic Novel (2142 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay


The graphic novel is a self-contained narrative in the comics medium, published in a single volume. The term gained currency in the mid-1980s when mainstream comics began to become noted for sophisticated and critical storytelling, and when comics publishers aimed to partake in the cultural prestige of the novel. The graphic novel is a term tied to the English-language comics tradition and the entry is limited to this field.

The comics medium combines words and images in panel sequences, usually for a narrative purpose. It has developed its own medium-specific conventions with speech bubbles, speed lines and visual onomatopoeia. The comics medium occurs in publication formats such as the daily or weekly comic strip, the bi-weekly …

Citation: Kukkonen, Karin. "Graphic Novel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 March 2003; last revised 15 June 2010. [, accessed 29 March 2020.]

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here