Comic or Graphic Novel? A Brief Primer on Terms

“It’s a marketing term. . . . The problem is that ‘graphic novel’ just came to mean ‘expensive comic book.’ Because ‘graphic novels’ were getting some attention, [publishers would] stick six issues of whatever worthless piece of crap they happened to be publishing lately under a glossy cover and call it The She-Hulk Graphic Novel, you know?”

–Alan Moore, creator of Watchmen and other acclaimed long-form comics, in a 2000 interview on

A lot of people ask me what the difference is between a comic and a graphic novel. In simple terms, a graphic novel is a comic with more “literary” goals than most serial comics. In the same interview cited above, Moore also lists “density, structure, size, scale, [and] seriousness of theme” as some of the qualities that might lead someone to classify a comic as a graphic novel instead. Continue reading “Comic or Graphic Novel? A Brief Primer on Terms”

“The Leg,” by Van Jensen and Jose Pimienta

National Hispanic Heritage month just ended, so although I’m a bit slow on the uptake, here’s a new addition to my archives, a review originally posted by the Elkhart Truth on December 1, 2015.

Warning: Beware the bad puns.

Thanks to Better World Books, 215 S. Main St. in Goshen,  for providing me with books to review. You can find all of the books I review at the store.

Author Van Jensen and illustrator Jose Pimienta  had some trouble finding a publisher for their graphic novel “The Leg.” Part of the problem was the story’s hero: as their Kickstarter video pitched it, the protagonist is “the strangest hero comics has ever seen.” Continue reading ““The Leg,” by Van Jensen and Jose Pimienta”

Review: Poppies of Iraq, by Brigitte Findakly and Lewis Trondheim

Poppies of Iraq, by Brigitte Findakly and Lewis Trondheim, Drawn and Quarterly, September 2017, list $21.95 (adult, maybe teen)

NOTE: Drawn and Quarterly sent me this book free for review.

It takes a few pages to settle into Poppies of Iraq, Brigitte Findakly’s memoir of her home country Iraq. The narrative is disorienting, seemingly jumbled at first. As Findakly recently told an interviewer for Comic Book Resources, “I wanted to share my memories in a way that felt like the reader was seated next to me, having a conversation with me. . . . I allowed myself to digress, especially when the current events in Iraq would capture my attention while I was writing the book.” Continue reading “Review: Poppies of Iraq, by Brigitte Findakly and Lewis Trondheim”