"Once upon a time...
When you and I were growing up, comic books were just developing and they weren't worth very much at the time in terms of quality or quantity. But as they have developed they are becoming something more of substance, something nearly literary. And THAT is why I am reading a comic book as a grown adult."
Which is a huge lie. A convenient lie, but a lie nonetheless. And honestly, I wrote this very book because I was just tired of lying.
One of the things that we did to make the comic book more "literary" was change its name to "graphic novel." I use those interchangeably, but I prefer "comic." It's because the term "comic" has a status problem in the literature world.
I know, I know, they will try to tell me that there is a difference--that graphic novels are much longer and full of a substantial narrative that spans 200 or 300 or more pages, and that it's a newer genre and so on. And you know, maybe it's true. Maybe comic book artists in the 60's and 70's just never had that ambition of setting out and creating 300 pages of work. These days, artists can churn them out and publishers will slap the "graphic novel" label on the cover and sell, sell, sell.
But let's be honest. A graphic novel is just another way to sell a comic book.
Do you think relationship between teaching graphic novels/comics in schools impacts the cultural "legitimacy" or further perpetuates the idea that they are meant for children?
"More and more I hear of teachers using graphic novels in their classrooms, but I've found that there are two ways that teachers are doing it. The first way is teaching the graphic novel as they would any other book in the classroom, to some purpose of critical analysis. This creates a kind of balance of sorts, especially as students begin to see the graphic novel as a valid source of literary critique.
The other way I see teachers use them is by saying "Oh, my struggling readers love graphic novels!" and so those students are the only ones who are exposed to it. Worse than that, those books are used as a sort of "stepping stone" to "real" books, if you get my drift.