Graphic Novels vs. Comic Books

Graphic Novels vs. Comic Books

As you can already tell, I read a lot of graphic novels. I do not, however, read comic books. When I show people the Graphic novel that I am reading, the normal reaction is “Why are you reading a comic book?” They are not the same thing at all. Graphic Novels have complex plots and characters as would a novel. Whereas a comic book is a periodical told over several issues spanning months or even years with action center plots. They are most definitely not the same thing. I will be discussing both in detail then providing you with some examples of the Graphic Novels in this blog entry!

Similarities between Graphic Novels and Comic Books

  • Use Illustrations to tell a story
  • Published
  • Panel style illustrations
  • Target audiences can be Children, YA, and Adults depending on the content

Difference between Graphic Novels and Comic Books:


Graphic Novels (GN)- Stories are longer and more complex; detailed plot, characters, backgrounds of characters, etc. (Reads like a book)

Comic Books (CB)- Stories are short (sometimes under 22 pages in length). Does not go into depth with characters but more action centered plots


GN- Story has a beginning, middle, and end- Typically wrapped up in one book

CB- Story is typically periodicals and told over several issues; to be continued to the next issue


GN- Published like a book

CB- Published monthly or serialized


GN- Books are bound like a book (glued); printed on better paper and color is more vivid

CB- Typically bound with “Saddle Stitching” with staples; printed on cheaper paper with brighter than life colors


GN- Fiction or non-fiction

CB- Fiction (Superheroes, sci-fi, or cartoons)

Examples of Comic Books:

  • Superman
  • X-Men
  • Spiderman
  • Batman
  • Avengers
  • Comic Magazines (Mad Magazine, Action Comics, etc).
  • Manga is a form of both comics and graphic novels (In this case, I am putting it in the comics section).
  • Peanuts

Serialized Comic Books but with complex characters and plots (sometimes even published monthly- borders comic books):

  • “The Walking Dead” series by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore
  • “Saga” series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • “The Watchmen” series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons & John Higgins
  • “Y: The Last Man” series by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra

Examples of Graphic Novels (these are merely examples and not the best of GN):


  • “Blankets” by Craig Thompson
    • Coming of age novel
  • “Ghost World” by Daniel Clowes
  • “American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang
  • “This One Summer” by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
    • Coming of age novel
  • “Waves” by Ingrid Chabbert and Carole Maurel
    • Deals with an abortion

Adaptions of Novels:

  • “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee; Fred Fordham
  • “The Lightening Thief”  by Rick Riordan; Robert Venditti and Attila Futaki
  • “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood; Renee Nault
  • “Jane” by Aline McKenna and Ramon K. Perez
    • Modern re-telling of “Jane Eyre”


  • “The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television” by Koren Shadmi
    • Biography
  • “Drowned City” by Don Brown
    • Hurricane Katrina before and after
  • “Thoreau at Walden” by John Porcellino
    • Biography
  • “They Called Us Enemy” by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott
    • Internment Camps WWII
  • “March” by Andrew Aydin and John Lewis
    • Civil Rights

Historical Fiction:

  • “Maus” by Art Spiegelman
    • WWII
  • “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi
    • Growing up in Iran
  • “White Bird” by R.J. Palacio
    • WWII
  • “My Friend, Dahmer” by Derf
    • Jeffery Dahmer in his teenage years

Reviewing Graphic Novels:

When I review a graphic novel, it is like a normal book review. The only difference is that I often mention the graphics. Sometimes the graphics and/or the placement of the panels play an important part of my review. I typically place the review on all platforms that I generally place any other novel.

Counting Towards Your Reading Goals:

Yes, I count every Graphic Novel towards my reading goals. I typically read each Graphic Novel as I would a regular novel. Sometimes Graphic Novels take me just as long to read. I like to admire the illustrations but also read the story as I would a typical novel. I knew there will always be people that will never consider this form to be a novel, but I will always count it towards mine!

Drop a comment with your favorite Graphic Novel or Comic Book on this post! Happy Reading, everyone! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

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