I’m not afraid to admit it: I read comics!


Recently I came across an Alan Moore quote that I have never heard before (which, believe me is rare!). I can’t verify its authenticity, as I have only heard of it courtesy of artist PJ Holden, so it might not be 100% correct:

“Graphic Novels? That pompous phrase was thought up by some idiot in the marketing department of DC. I prefer to call them Big Expensive Comics.”

This made me laugh my head off! It is classic Alan Moore, he is never afraid to call a spade a spade, which is part of the reason we love him so much. It’s pretty much the way I lead my own life, and I have a lot of respect for that. Hearing this quote was quite a coincidence, as I had recently been thinking just how much I hate how the term ‘Graphic Novel’ is thrown around.

From a Marketing perspective I can sometimes see the point. For example, if a writer and artist release a 200 page illustrated non-prose story that has not been published in any sort of serialized format, then that can conceivably be called an Original Graphic Novel (OGN). Some good recent examples of this would be: God Save the Queen by Mike Carey, Nixon’s Pals by Joe Casey, and The Facts In The Case Of The Departure Of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman. If however, you take 6 issues of Batman, and bind them into a book, that is not a graphic novel, it is a trade paper back, or a hardcover. This includes miniseries too, even Alan Moore’s own Watchmen is not a graphic novel, even though I hear it called that all the damn time.

If only it had stopped at the graphic novel though. I was in a comic store a few weeks ago when a guy came in asking it they had the new Marvel graphics in stock, the shop owner looked confused momentarily, then directed the customer to the shelf where that week’s comics were kept. He later told me that he has started to get that all the time, people who don’t want to call them comics.

I am a big fan of Warren Ellis’ work. Lately he has been putting out a lot of creator owned material though Avatar Press, who seem to be a very good, upcoming company. His new series No Hero started last week with a #0 issue. I was disappointed to see the series described on the cover as “A serialized graphic novel”. Serialized graphic novel? So a miniseries? What is that about?

This has to stop. It is very simple, they are comics, don’t be ashamed to admit you read them! I am a highly educated individual, who works as an analytical chemist in a big environmental testing laboratory; however, I regularly come to work in comic shirts, and sit in the lunch room reading comics all the time. Sometimes people ask what I am reading and I’ll show them, and say that it is a comic, sometimes they will smirk, but you know what? Those people aren’t worth your time. There is no shame in comics, nowadays most people don’t even read anymore, they just lie on the couch and watch reality TV! The majority of people who do read are just picking up the latest no-name mystery or romance on the shelf at Walmart. So, be proud that you are reading such a versatile medium, that covers so many different subject areas, and often in new and refreshing ways.

This madness must stop now, before we start calling one-shots Graphic Novellas! Then I really will go mad

Actually, my wife has always called them big comics, as in “what big comic are you reading”. Maybe she has more in common with Alan Moore that I thought…


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2 Responses to “I’m not afraid to admit it: I read comics!”
  1. ChrissyK says:

    Alan Moore and I are so alike, we even have the same beard.

  2. Edward Kaye says:

    I did wonder why you waxed your chin so much ;P

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