The validity of Graphic Novels in schools

SpidermanPow! Zonk! Learn! Graphic Novels are still viewed with suspicion in some circles, but the sheer visual nature of graphic novels in a world increasingly dominated by visual media is exactly the reason they should be taken very seriously as a tool to encourage reading.

The Graphic novel has been around for many years and in some cultures it is the most read of all the genres. Japanese Manga, for example, comes in a huge variety of forms, sport Manga, Business Manga, fashion Manga to name but three. For children growing up in the sixties and seventies comic books were everywhere but generally frowned on as a tool to educate.

The deeply patriotic ‘pocket war comics’ of the 50’s and 60’s wouldn’t suit a modern palette and, although the American Super Hero comics had their own moral code set up in 1954, to modern tastes they are still questionable in places. Comic art is now recognised for what it is and art and comic art originals are much sought after by collectors. Successful titles often have lavish silver screen adaptations, ‘V’, ‘Batman’, ‘Superman’, ‘X Men’ ‘Ghost Town’ have all proved to have a life outside the page.

The modern Comic and Graphic novel market is sophisticated and wide-ranging, this has led to the use of comics in schools becoming much more common. Importantly for our purpose we are increasingly seeing the value of the genre being treated more seriously. Comics and Graphic Novels are no longer considered a second class medium but an effective tool to encourage reading.

Here at Bright Books, we stock comic book versions of Shakespeare’s works, Bewoulf, Ancient Greek mythology, Asterix as well as a healthy smattering of super heroes. Of course being Bright Books we also have foreign language Graphic Novels in stock. As someone who grew up reading Beano and Topper, Pocket War and Mad Magazine – I’m a convert. Comics and Graphic Novels encourage children to read and in the final analysis that’s the most important thing of all.

Photo used courtesy of Thomas Duchnicki

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