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Are Comic Books Literature?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Trey of Diamonds, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. Trey of Diamonds

    Trey of Diamonds New Member

    Messages:
    7,996
    This has been a long lasting debate so I thought I'd see what folks here thought.

    THE BEAT » Blog Archive » Are comics literature?
    Graphic novel viewed as contemporary literature, professor says - Columbia Missourian
    San Francisco News - The Difference Between Comics and Literature - page 1 (weird but goes into the legal issues of calling comics literature, specifically paying taxes on them.)
    Hugo Awards add Graphic Novel Category - ComicMix news
     
  2. Storm

    Storm ThrUU the Looking Glass

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    What do you mean by "literature?"
     
  3. tomspug

    tomspug Absorbant

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    4,247
    I think it depends... They are a visual medium, yes, but sometimes they can be very story-driven and character-driven. I will say 'yes' for now. As far as quality of literature, it tends to fall somewhere above manga and below young adult literature.
     
  4. Trey of Diamonds

    Trey of Diamonds New Member

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    Well, that is part of the debate. Those who argue one way or the other often are debating different definitions of the term literature. So to answer the OP question you first have to define your own meaning of literature and then see if comic books fit into that definition.
     
  5. Delilah Roo

    Delilah Roo New Member

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    89
    Sure they can be,

    My critasism of comic books is that it seems like the charecters, especialy the villains are one sided. You, as the reader, have no motavation to see them as anything other than evil. No one is compleatly evil, and sometimes comic villians are not deep enough.

    (sometimes they are, I am sure anyone who is a real comic book reader will be able to pull out a thousand examples contradicting what I said.)

    Delilah
     
  6. J Bryson

    J Bryson New Member

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    2,282
    Well, maybe not a thousand, but I'm sure that I can come up with a few.

    Watchmen by Alan Moore is probably the most famous "shades of gray" example in the comic book medium, and I'd say deservedly so.

    Preacher by Garth Ennis makes no bones about a split between good and evil, but his ideas on who qualifies as such can be unexpected, and blasphemously enjoyable.

    The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller manages to imbue some of the most famous characters of all time with moral ambiguity.

    Miracleman by Alan Moore is one of the earliest deconstructions of the superhero genre that I can recall, and is a violent meditation on power, society, and responsibility.

    Of course, that's just in the superhero genre. Once you start getting into the works of Spiegelman, Pekar, R. Crumb et al, all bets are off.
     
    Quagmire likes this.
  7. doppelganger

    doppelganger Through the Looking Glass

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    15,851
    Of course they are. Anyone who says otherwise is just being a snotty, foppish twit. QED.
     
  8. rojse

    rojse RF Addict

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    7,991
    When Maus can win a Pulitzer Prize (and was an excellent graphic novel), then I say yes, regardless of how you wish to define "litereature".
     
  9. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

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    12,249
    Friend Trey of Diamonds,

    Wondering why we did not study *comics* in literature classes?

    Love & rgds
     
  10. Watchmen

    Watchmen Rorschach

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    3,932
    Yes - they are.
     
  11. rojse

    rojse RF Addict

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    7,991
    Because comic books aren't over a hundred years old and dusty. Imagine how many uptight English professors we could upset by including some of the best graphic novels as literature?
     
  12. J Bryson

    J Bryson New Member

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    2,282

    Several colleges do offer literature courses specifically devoted to comic books and graphic novels.
     
  13. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

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    12,249
    Friend rojse,

    Yes, that could be it besides need someone in the education system to approve comics also as literature, for the future generation to benefit from this vast source of knowledge.
    Love & rgds
     
  14. rojse

    rojse RF Addict

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    7,991
    What sort of knowledge can we derive from, say, a Jane Austen novel, an author whom has written several novels that have become literature?
     
  15. Watchmen

    Watchmen Rorschach

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    3,932
    Literature isn't defined by age and dust. There are plenty of English professors who teach modern literature and alternative mediums as literature.
     
  16. Storm

    Storm ThrUU the Looking Glass

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    Sandman won the World Fantasy Award, which so galled the pretentious that they changed the rules so that comics can no longer be nominated.
     
  17. Trey of Diamonds

    Trey of Diamonds New Member

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    7,996
    Stuffed shirts! They're like the S.O.B.s who wont let KISS and Alice Cooper into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The people should decide, not some self-important bastich.

    (Frubals to the first person to post where bastich comes from, yes it's a comic book reference. No googling please.)
     
  18. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    Religion:
    Beyond the Light
    Personally, I consider comic books to be more of an art form, rather than literary efforts. Not my cup of tea though. I do know that the comics I remember could hardly be classed as having literary merit.
     
  19. J Bryson

    J Bryson New Member

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    2,282
    I heard Lobo use it....
     
    Trey of Diamonds likes this.
  20. Trey of Diamonds

    Trey of Diamonds New Member

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    7,996
    Not only did he use it, he created it. Good call!
     
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