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Prose Novels v Comics

Mladen

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Expanding on an off-topic conversation in the batman-anime-dvd thread:

Comic books and novels.

How do you yourselves judge the difference?

As somebody who used to read a lot of novels but now substantially less since i took up comics, I know its probably due more to availability of time than anything else. If I can get through a trade reading it carefully in one night (half an hour to two hours depending on the story and depth), I'm probably going to choose it over a novel which will take me several nights to get through. Thats not to say I don't love reading novels, but I wonder if my current preference for comics is more from laziness than anything else. Does anybody else feel the same way?

Is there another quality of comics or novels that makes one more entertaining? Do you yourselves find comics more 'fun'? Or is that just a result of the TYPE of comics you read (for most people, superheroes). There are many comics which just aren't MEANT to be a fun read (challenging, engaging, shocking, politically/socially subversive etc), so we can't just say, 'comics are more fun' since what we actually are talking about is the subject matter not the form. Also, not all novels require you to be entirely switched on either, there are very many novels which are a blast to read and will have you laughing or getting excited etc.

Does the immediacy of the comic book image (and the idea that you don't have to 'work' as much as when you'd say read a passage in a novel) make it 'easier'? Not as clever? Film is a ride, but comics still allow you complete control over what order and how you choose to progress through its pages as a prose novel. Its kind of dumb to argue if novels or comics are 'better', but I'd like to hear some thoughts over why the one is much more successful than the other, and why neither is as popular as film, which as a modern medium isn't much older than comics.
 
I've actually started reading more since getting back into comics...novels are more accepted because they're considered more "adult" and comics are still considered to be "for kids" by the general public (ie, dips**ts who have no clue what they're babbling about, but like to make themselves feel superior). And film is more popular because it's cheap, and easy. You go, turn off your brain for 2 hours, and thats it...most movies, at least the most popular ones, have no real content, they're just fluff.
 
Cool, you posted it. I think both sides have their strong suits.

On the one hand, novels require more from the reader, you have the imagine everything the writer describes. No matter how descriptive the writer is, some of it is in the readers mind.

Comics on the other hand, if done well, put more power in the creators hands. A good writer and artist working together come up with a combined vision, so you're not seeing what you imagine, you're actually seeing what the creator wanted you to see.

Also, as you said, Graphic novel are far easier to read, you can whip though a trade in half a hour to a few hours, depending on a few variables. so it's much more tempting to just read another comic then start a new novel. I try to balance them out, but...

As for what type, mine varied. I read some superhero, but a lot of the other comics I read are pretty far from superheros. That's one thing I dislike about comics, people always peg them that they have to be about superheroes. Comics are just another form of media. you can read prose novels about superheroes and comics about history. granted, comics started out as superheroes, but it's grown to be so much more.

and... that's my thoughts. I realise this is basically a long rambling. after I sleep I will come back and try to arrange my thoughts into something vaguely coherent.
 
, comics started out as superheroes,
thats actually a misconception, but superheroes had a large part to play in popularising comics in the 40s. but if you look at the general spread of comics in the 40s to the 60s superheroes were just one part of a broader picture.

The Joker said:
most movies, at least the most popular ones, have no real content, they're just fluff.
true, but you could say that about any medium. novels, music, and yes, comics.

Addendum said:
I enjoy both.
as it should be.
 
i find i like super-hero prose novels better than comics the spider-manor iron man novels for example
 
i find i like super-hero prose novels better than comics the spider-manor iron man novels for example

I didnt even know they made those! Are they written by comic writers or unknowns?

I've read the Batman No Man's Land novel by Greg Rucka, wasn't bad at all. havent read most of the No Man's Land comics so i can comment which is better.
 
I really put novels and comics in two different categories. I love both (though I love comics more), but they are different in my opinion. With comics, everything is pretty much presented to you. Setting, character design, etc. Novels require that one uses his or her own imagination to construct what is described in the book.

Now that does not, by any means, mean that I find that novels are a finer form of literature. It takes immense skill and talent to craft a great comic, more-so than a novel.

That is my opinion on this topic.
 
The problem is for western comics, we hardly see a normal story at all, about life in school, romance and etc.

And given that DC and Marvel are the biggest comic book company, I doubt people can view western comics as something more than comedy and superhero.

When was the last time you have read a comic that is purely on drama? About singer or a class?

Sure, some normal comic exist...but they are hard to find.

We can find tons of them in manga, and many can be accepted as part of the real world. And I am living in a enviroment where reading manga is considered normal ( but not western comics) .

Even for manga, like naruto and etc, it will sound corny at times, constantly talking about their new powers, attacks and etc.


For people that enjoy more mudane stuff, comics will seem lame for them.


Novels on the other hand, is a form of literature that has been around of thousands of years, the easiest way for people to tell a story.

Because with comic, you need to draw well, with novel, you can simply present your idea and story directly.


Furthermore, most comic series is more intensive to follow as compared to a series of novel. Well, you can blame it on marvel and DC, with their super-confusing storylines.

Several manga is just as bad, like One piece of naruto with no end in sight.

I have never really followed any comic book or manga story by looking at the comic books themselves.

I keep myself updated at times through wikipedia's summary.


But my point still stands though, you read a novel for real heavy reading. You can read a comic for well light reading...because simply filping through the pages and glancing at all the pictures will allow you to understand the general plot.

You simply cannot glance through a novel.


Just a side note, I am not a superhero fan ( other than batman...hell I don't even have a single issue of batman in my possession)...although I do enjoy watch superhero films as one film.
 
Sure, some normal comic exist...but they are hard to find.
[...]
But my point still stands though, you read a novel for real heavy reading. You can read a comic for well light reading...because simply filping through the pages and glancing at all the pictures will allow you to understand the general plot.

You simply cannot glance through a novel.

There are actually quite a few comics which have a more normal plot (and a LOT about relationships, growing up, etc), its just they're generally not recognised by the mainstream western comicbook reader. Try 'Epileptic', 'Blankets', 'Love and Rockets'. Even Dc's Minx imprint of books are treading into this territory with books like 'Regifters'. But I agree that most western comics are either incredibly outlandish or crime comics.

As for glancing through a comic, I find thats one of the chief advantages in comics. If in a store, you can pick one up (remove it from its bag if it has one), and have a flick through and get a pretty good idea if its something you'll enjoy or not. You can't tell what you'll get flicking through a novel. Thats why most unknown novels never do so well since people like to know what they're getting before they buy it.
 
what was the first super-hero prose novel you bought mine was the avengers battle the earth-wrecker by otto binder back in the 60's
 
I agree that both media are very different and I don't beleive one can say that one is better than the other. They are different types of entertainment, meant to deliver unique expiriences.

However, I think that as society continues to push towards a fast-paced "fast-food" lifestyle, media that are quicker to digest are becoming increasingly popular. Not necessarily because they are easier to read or less intelligent but because they can be consumed at a faster pace.

This probably explains the increase in film consumption. And while many films are not intellectually stimulating, they are entertainment, just like books and comics.

Personally, I think a good book is one of the best forms of media. And a bad book is just as bad as a bad movie and bad comic - you walk away feeling as though you've wasted your time and money. But if you spend hours reading a horrible novel vs. 30 minutes reading a bad comic, then it makes sense to read the comic.
 
When was the last time you have read a comic that is purely on drama? About singer or a class?

Sure, some normal comic exist...but they are hard to find.

thats not really true. There are usually a few on offer in Diamond, people just don't buy them and then complain that they don't exist. Then again, the type of people who don't really want to read superheroes aren't usually the ones who look through Diamond's catalogue. Comic stores take a risk ordering the independant books because their clientele is primary into only the two companies. These alternative books seem to do well in alternative bookshops though (ones which focus on art, design, pop culture etc).

Vindicator said:
This probably explains the increase in film consumption. And while many films are not intellectually stimulating, they are entertainment, just like books and comics.

If you find that sort of thing entertaining, mind you.

Vindicator said:
But if you spend hours reading a horrible novel vs. 30 minutes reading a bad comic, then it makes sense to read the comic.

most comics are more of a five minute read really. I think people want quick entertainment (the 30 minute tv show is ideal), but they feel a bit ripped off when its any shorter, which is maybe why trades seem to be picking up new readers while individual comics not so much. Nobody wants to pay a dollar a minute to read some guys punch each other for twenty pages. [edit: okay, SOME people do]
 
its what is commonly called a paperback novel
 

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