Thursday, October 28, 2004

Grafiction, Graphic Novel, etc.

Grafiction, Graphic Novel, etc.

The term "graphic novel" to refer to book length comics has been around for many years now, and it's part of an effort to uplift comics as a medium in the eyes of the reading public. The latest term to come into play is "grafiction", a term that has been coined by a friend of mine, and SIGLO: Freedom is one of the very first comic book projects to to use the term to refer to it.

I think it is a good thing that there are comic book creators out there who do see the general perception of comics as a problem in getting comics recognition as a legitimate form of art, and it is something that is no longer just for kids.

And I'm really glad that there are many creators who do create material that are of a more sophisticated nature, and tackle more issues that are not normally associated with comics.

However, I am a little bit uncomfortable with using the term "grafiction" or "graphic novel" or any term that tries to uplift comics by changing the term by which comics is called. For better or for worse, the product that we create *is* comics or comic books. That is what the medium we all love to read and create is called. And people will know it to be comics for a long time to come. Probably for all time.

Imagine a scenario in which you are approached by someone and you are asked what work you do. You answer "I'm a grafictionist." or "I'm a graphic novelist". And you show them a sample of your work. More often than not, the reaction you will get are "But...but this is COMICS." or "Ah! Comics!" And I can tell you some of them will come away with the feeling that they have been a little bit deceived.

COMICS is what we do, for better or for worse. And we are already creating stories that uplift comics. I think it would be nice to try and uplift the term as well. Comics is a name that I think is worth fighting for, a term that is worth uplifting. It's a word that we have to be proud of using. Meanings of words change over time. The meaning of "comics" can change as well, specially if we create more stories and art that continue to push the envelope of what we can do in this medium. It may take a long time, but it is a road that I'm prepared to take.