Graphic Novels; Good or Bad?


Nowadays, with books like 50 Shades of Grey, many readers ask “are books too graphic for some readers?” Some say yes and others simply say no. Many can argue that it is not good for a book to be that graphic, and how a teenager were to react if they pick it up and start reading. On the other hand, people say it’s what makes the book good, and a seller. Author Hillary Chute agrees to the fact that books aren’t books anymore and neither are comics with all the graphic writing there is in them. She talks about Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus and describes how that novel is graphic. Chute the describes what Maus is about. It is about the author’s father’s experience in Auschwitz as a Jew in the holocaust. We can see where the graphic scenes might lead too since it is taking place during the holocaust. She also talks about how graphic novels are now gaining acceptance in the academy and press, since book two of Maus was published and won a “special” Pulitzer Prize. She mentions about how popular the graphic novel is compared to others. The book was a bestseller and has been translated into many languages.


Chute suggested that comics nowadays may be ideal to portray traumatic events and extreme circumstances. Like Maus talks about the author’s father as a Jew in a concentration cap during WWII. Chute says that these comics like these helps the author, artists and narrators express their meanings in a way that cant be described in other forms. According to Chute, these narrative techniques contradicts. She thinks that visual literacy is replacing a verbal literacy. Meaning that pictures are replacing texts since she also thinks pictures show more feelings and emotions than texts themselves do. She quoted, from a times magazine story that these graphic narratives or graphic novels are a growing importance. She says “Comics may be what novels used to be, an accessible, vernacular form with mass appeal” Are these graphic novels really necessary? Should they be allowed to be sold in bookstores where anyone, including a young teenager, can go up to them and start reading? Is Chute right on her opinions about these graphic novels?  


4 thoughts on “Graphic Novels; Good or Bad?

  1. I have also had the same concerns about if graphic works are appropriate and whether or not it is acceptable if fallen into the hands of a young adolescent. The effects it could have on a young mind might possibly change the way they perceive that certain subject in the future. If a child reads a graphic or advanced comic/novel, then they could be intrigued to copy what has been done in the writing and think that it is alright. Reading literacy like this could be dangerous but it may also introduce a reader to something they enjoy or follow a character through the story line. These pieces in moderation are okay, as long as a guardian explains that most of what is written in these types of stories is fiction.

  2. I do not think books can get too graphic because if they do get too graphic it was published so mature adults can read the book and not immature children to read. With a little nudity and profanity it makes the book better in my opinion. Especially with profanity, adding a couple of cuss words make the book better because it feels like you see someone yelling at another person or someone is cussing at you. Surprisingly, a lot of people enjoy a little profanity in their books because it makes in more of an interesting story than just a plain boring book. This also goes for nudity in for an example like in a comic book; it’s probably in the comic to make sense of the scene of the comic. I believe it does not hurt to have a little bit of graphical nudity in a comic or profanity in a novel.

  3. In one of today’s popular bookstores half of the books available could be described as “too graphic.” What one person views as graphic, someone else could think nothing of the situation. It all depends on personal preference really. There shouldn’t be any regulations on writing in books, because it’s a form of freedom of speech. With most of the books ever banned for being too “graphic,” those same books are being read freely today. We live in a society where we hear graphic stuff on the radio, see graphic scenes on the television or internet, that it should be no surprise books would be added to the list. Authors now a days realize reading isn’t as popular as it used to be so they need that edge to make people want to pick it up. Interesting topics like sex or drugs are what “makes the book good, and a seller.” Obviously that was the case for the very popular book, 50 Shades of Grey. The argument against a teenager picking up a book like that and reading it is ridiculous, because it’d be just as easy for a teenager to go to a pornographic website and it be much more graphic compared to the words written in the book. All in all, if a book is “too” graphic for you, then don’t read it! However if it’s not, then pick it up and keep reading.

  4. I believe books can never be too graphic. To criticize the content of a book would be like limiting what an author can say or write. The author has a set or targeted audience and the content on their books and novels is up to the author, and if the content of a book is too graphic for a specific reader then that reader probably was not the targeted audience. I think the true controversy is created when children get their hands on these books. I’m sure it also has to do with the popularity of the book. Fifty Shades of Grey became very popular and it reached many households. I can see the book laying on a counter or table around the house and a child could pick it up and maybe read some pages. In that scenario, the parent would be to blame for letting that kind of content be reachable to their children. It is not the author’s responsibility to control whose hands their books fall onto but the audience who buy and those who distribute the books. Authors should never have a limit in their creativity.

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