Monday, March 5, 2012
The Case For Graphic Novels....
And in a way, graphic novels have changed a lot in the last couple of years. Growing up, these parents didn't have the likes of Dave Roman, Dan Santat, Raina Telgemeier, Jarrett Krosoczka, Jenny Holm and Matt Holm. So I try to take a deep breath and put on a smile before persuading parents that there are many types of books, and maybe we could look at both kinds for their children.
In order to raise consciousness on the awesomeness of graphic novels, I started a Graphic Novel Book Club at the library. It seems to be most popular with eight year old boys, but I've always believed eight year old boys know more about awesomeness than other people anyways.
Either way, I thought I'd share some of our experiences in the club for all the graphic novels naysayers out there. I've read articles that say people like reading graphic novels because they're "easy" and it doesn't take as much effort to read them. I have to say I've been surprised at how much the kids in the book club analyze the books. While reading Dave Roman's Astronaut Academy, one of the boys pointed out a detail with Hakata Soy's crime fighting team assembling their space ships into a giant droid and how the pieces fit together. We spent fifteen minutes analyzing this one passage.
I've also heard naysayers complain that graphic novels, "aren't real art". I'm going to bring up another example from our meeting on Astronaut Academy. Dave Roman uses Renaissance art techniques in several of his panels, such as chiaroscuro (when one half of an object is blinded in light and the other in shadow for those people who aren't art nerds out there.) The kids looked at Renaissance paintings to compare how both used this lighting technique. One of the kids noticed that it makes the panel a lot more dramatic feeling than just the regular lighting.
Understanding Comics for more explanation,) helps the reader put themselves in the story more. Which leads to more critical thinking about, "What would I do in that situation?" When we discussed Dan Santat's Sidekicks, the kids made up their own superheroes and disguises like, Anonymous and Shape Shifter. Mind you this is after we had a twenty minute debate about whether a DNA transfer would chance your personality... the jury is still out on that one... what do you think? Comments?
Either way, I'm hoping some of these points will make those reluctant graphic novel readers, give this exciting format another chance. I think you'll find, you're missing a lot.