Banner Image

Graphic Novels, Comic Books, and Cartoons: Home

Introduction to Graphic Novels, Comic Books, and Cartoons

The terms graphic novels, comic books, and cartoons cover a broad range of artistic storytelling that cannot be defined in a simple way. While it is the pairing of text and art that tells a story, it is neither just words or just pictures, but a unique medium of its own. There is not one agreed upon definition. Some feel graphic novels address serious topics and therefore are not comical, while others argue that the panel format of storytelling makes them cartoons. The genres depicted range from fiction, non-fiction, biography, action/adventure, mystery, horror, science fiction, fantasy and more. Additionally, the form in which they are presented varies from comic strips in newspapers, web comics, graphic novels, and the traditional modern paper comic of rougly 32 pages.      ©

Scott McCloud, an American cartoonist and comics expert, wrote in his seminal book Understanding Comics, "Our attempts to define comics are an on-going process which won't end anytime soon." 

Exploring comics can focus on the history, creation, creators, themes, fandoms or characters. This guide is meant as a starting point for this wide and ever-expanding field.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics. Northampton, MA, Kitchen Sink Press, 1993.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter