Helping New Graphic Novel Readers Understand Comics

To promote the upcoming release of Troublemaker Book 2, due out next month and following up the best-selling original Troublemaker graphic novel, Dark Horse put together this ad showing fans of Janet Evanovich’s prose work how to read comics. (Click for a bigger, readable version.)

I like the way it emphasizes the importance of the images, but I’m not sure a prose writer’s first graphic work really puts the same focus on the pictures as the text. My cynical side wonders if the message “Try spending as much time looking at the images within each panel as you do reading the text and dialogue” is aimed at addressing complaints from readers who think they’re not getting as much value from a “picture book”. What do you think? Is this helpful? Necessary?

4 Responses to “Helping New Graphic Novel Readers Understand Comics”

  1. Caroline Says:

    Oh, I think answering the ‘this goes way too fast for the money it cost’ is exactly the point. And I think there’s some value in this (I wish there was more writing aimed at beginning GN readers to help them realize it’s an acquired skill) but condescending stuff like ‘Don’t be surprised they are not talking about what happens in the pictures!’ is not the answer. Of course, I understand that these are pretty lousy books in the first place. ..

  2. JRB Says:

    If you look at Amazon reviews for pretty much any popular author adapted into a comic/manga for the first time (Troublemaker being a prime example), there’s a lot (lot!) of readers who complain about the books being a quick read, or not having enough words, or having silent pages (the cheats!), etc. (Not to mention the zillions of “OMG it’s a comic book! I wouldn’t have bought it if I knew it was going to be a child’s comic book!” people.) Personally, I get a kick out of those reviews, but I could see how a publisher would not want that…

  3. Johanna Says:

    Oh, Caroline, I don’t know, I enjoyed reading the first one. It was escapism, of course, but I’m a big fan of Joelle Jones’ art.

  4. Angelica Brenner Says:

    As someone (slowly but surely) getting her mother into the comics-reading game, yes, a lot of beginners do have trouble understanding the importance of examining the images along with the words. Anything to help reinforce the concept that “less text doesn’t mean less story” is a good move, especially for those skeptical about the medium.

    One thing I do wonder – where is this ad going to show up? Looks like a magazine ad. Entertainment Weekly?




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