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The pros and cons of reading a graphic novel (from a novice graphic novel reader)

Book cover of Watchmen by Alan Moore.

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I don’t really read graphic novels. I have heard of them, know lots of people who love them, but for some reason or another, they have never really made there way to my bookshelf. I love to read books. I enjoy the act of reading, which is something I cannot get from audio books and to some extent graphic novels. This probably explains why graphic novels have never really been a huge part of my reading lists. However, fate would have it (very dramatic of me, I know) that I would be reading my second graphic novel. Whilst I am not going to say that I am an expert of the genre, I do think there is a lot that can be learned from first impressions. Here are some of my first impressions:


The action is all there for you, on the page. It makes reading and taking in information a lot quicker. It can be exciting to see the story move along so fast.


At times, I feel like my imagination has been disabled. Books give me descriptions that I can use to create characters and places in my mind. Graphic novels don’t really give me this opportunity.


In a graphic novel, you not only get to read the words on the page, but also the characters faces and body language. I wonder what this would do for helping foster empathy with characters? Especially when you can see them drawn on the page.


Graphic novels can feel clunky. I guess it just takes time to get used to the way the comic is set out. Colours and outlines of speech bubbles denote who is speaking – narrator, character, etc.. They can also denote if something is happening in the future or the past. Getting used to these codes is not always a simple straightforward task, so it does require some commitment.


It is nice to look at something vibrant and colourful (I know not all graphic novels are in colour…).


I am a creature of habit, and sometimes I miss my black and white words.


I can’t say this for all graphic novels, but in my experience they can often be better than the movie (like most books!).


When reading graphic novels for the first time, it can feel like you don’t get all the ‘inside’ jokes. There truly is a world of graphic novels that refers to other works and authors and artists.

Are you a fan of graphic novels? What is your most or least favourite thing about graphic novels? As always, remember to share the reading love.

Get your copy of Watchman to start your graphic novel journey here.

10 thoughts on “The pros and cons of reading a graphic novel (from a novice graphic novel reader)

  1. I love graphic novels and their cousins, comics (especially webcomics). I think, in terms of pros, I love that the art can be used to include details and tones that wouldn’t work pacing-wise in a text only story.

    I also think there’s often more I get out of re-reading a graphic novel than a standard book – there are details I didn’t notice and pieces of the art I hadn’t taken the time to appreciate the first time round. Sure this is true in a standard novel as well, but it feels different and somehow a deeper part of the work.

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