Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Future of the Graphic novel

On Sunday morning there was a great session dedicated to a discussion of Comics and literature for children in general. The panel was made up of Traci Tod from VIZ, Randal C. Jarell with Oni Press, Ted Naifeh (Polly and the Pirates, Courtney Crumrin) Alyson Matthews (contra Costa Public Library). The discussion opened with Graphic novels and there place in modern literary culture. I listened intently because as they discussed this emerging phenomenon in literature, I realized where my work fit in. Finally! They discussed the difficulty of convincing parents and teachers of their validity as worthwhile literature.
Mr. Jarell brought out the fear that many have, "our attention span is becoming that of a fruit fly..."  and while that my be true, it simply reflects the changes in the way we take in information.
Its not necessarily a degradation in our culture, simply a change in the way we take in and utilize  information. Ms Tod did mention that Graphic novels were starting to see a fair amount of acceptance with in the larger community and that G.Ns. were becoming a sort of bridge between picture books for younger children to works of Prose as they grew older.
Ms Matthews saw them as a Hybrid of the two. picture books and prose, adding that as a Librarian, she hoped to see there eventual acceptance in to what is considered to be worthy literature. Giving the example of BONE  as an example of what is evolving as the Graphic novel. As a mater of fact the whole panel seemed to site bone as the first true, worthy of notice example of a good graphic novel, setting the mark for what might come later. 
     I am so out of it. I keep being reminded of just how far behind I am in my knowledge of the currant literary market. I Had No Idea that Manga was read right to left. The panel brought out how popular it has become, but felt that Manga was somewhat culturally biased. I reflects it's Japanese origins so distinctly, that they felt it was a phenomenon, a bobble the will soon burst because of this limiting nature of Manga. They, however, did not see the rise of the graphic novel as a phenomenon, as a bobble the will burst. They saw it rather as an evolution of what is considered literature, and that much still lies ahead for what this genre has to offer. Getting me all excited. I have found direction in the structure of Ouwangalaymah! and I hope to work to that end.   

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