When I first started book blogging in 2015, reading a story in comic form never even crossed my mind as a thing to do. This is probably going to sound horribly judgmental or maybe just ignorant, but when I thought of comics, I thought of superheroes and Sunday newspapers, and that was about it. That was all I knew of.
But then I started hearing the term graphic novel, which somehow sounded a lot more appealing (maybe because it had the word novel in it), and hearing about ones like Saga and Sex Criminals, books that used comics as the medium but were about all sorts of things that sounded interesting to me and were compiled together into volumes and had a whole long story, just like regular books.
I read my first graphic novel, Saga Vol. 1, in November 2015. Actually, I sat and read straight into Vol. 2 and halfway into Vol. 3 all in one sitting. After eventually completing all the Saga volumes that were out, I checked out the selection on Hoopla and ended up reading the entire iZombie series in a day. Then I started Sex Criminals. Then I tried some other random GNs from Hoopla and NetGalley. More recently, I’ve also gotten into webcomics and have a whole bunch I really want to read.
So I think it’s safe to say that I have, in fact, discovered a love for graphic novels and comics. Now I will explain why, and maybe, if you’re not a comic fan already, I’ll convert you into one too ;-)
I Like Art & Pretty Pictures
I’ve always liked art. I used to be more artistic myself, but, even though I don’t do much art myself anymore, I’ve always liked to look at it, to admire it, to enjoy it. And I just like looking at pretty things in general. Don’t we all? So I like to look at pretty pictures! You don’t get those most of the time in normal novels.
Graphic Novels Take Less Concentration & Provide Better Distraction
Some of my chronic illness symptoms are cognitive, including brain fog and difficulty concentrating. So sometimes it’s incredibly hard for me to concentrate on regular novels. It’s also harder to concentrate when I’m not feeling well. Graphic novels are perfect for all those times because they’re just easier to focus on, probably because they have less words. And somehow having pictures to look at is a better distraction for me during those times.
Graphic Novels are Usually Quick Reads
And sometimes a quick read is exactly what you want/need. They’re good palate cleansers, refreshers between regular books, or slump-fixers.
Seeing Characters Makes Me Feel More Connected
This doesn’t necessarily always hold true, but sometimes it’s easier for me to connect to or feel for characters in graphic novels because I’m actually able to see them. This is also one of the reason I like book covers with artwork of the characters—sometimes I’ll already feel a connection or feel emotion from/between the characters before I even start reading. It’s weird because the reason I prefer books over movies is because I can’t get into characters’ minds in movies and therefore never feel as connected or invested, but then there are times when actually seeing a person’s body language or facial expressions makes me more emotional. And I think that’s also what happens for me sometimes in graphic novels.
It’s Like Having Automatic Fan Art
I don’t read a lot of series that are popular enough to have fan art, which is disappointing, but with graphic novels, I don’t have to be sad about that because every page is like fan art! Except even better in a way since it’s completely canon and exactly the way the characters are supposed to look!
Graphic Novels Can Also Just Be Good, Period
Obviously, much like regular books, not every single graphic novel or comic will be good or right for you. But I worried when I first started reading them that I wouldn’t be able to connect with characters without seeing inside their heads, or that I’d be confused, or that the characters wouldn’t be developed, or that the plot would be lacking, etc. I felt like something would be missing without all the description and thoughts and writing. And I do admit that, if I had to choose to only read one or the other for the rest of my life, I’d choose regular books. However, I’ve discovered that graphic novels can absolutely be just as amazing and engaging and developed and emotional as regular books (I swear I actually shed tears while reading one last year, and those of you who know me know that I rarely ever cry over books). They can have amazing characters and amazing stories, and those that do are worth reading for that reason alone!
Some of My Favorite Graphic Novels
*Covers are Amazon affiliate links (except for Hotblood). You can support this site by using them :-)*