Understanding the Growth and Popularity of Graphic Novels

Graphic novels have been all the rage in recent years, spurred by a seemingly unending onslaught of comic book hero movies and television shows that have captured the minds and imaginations of the young and old alike. These artistic variations on the traditional written storytelling form provide a fully illustrated picture for the reader, with colorful and detailed drawings that capture the complete scene.

The growth has been exponential over the last decade, with $870 million in combined sales in North America of all comics and graphic novels in 2013 according to Publishers Weekly. Included in this total was a $25 million gain in graphic novel sales from 2011 figures, totaling $415 million of all 2013 sales. Oregon Public Broadcasting takes that further, citing ICv2 figures that Canadian and U.S. sales in 2001 totaled just $75 million, representing a more than five-fold growth in sales in slightly more than a decade.  Truly, graphic novels have become an increasingly popular medium alongside comics and traditional novels.

Graphic NovelsUnlike comic books that you may be more familiar with, graphic novels are intended to be lengthier and more of a standalone story, while comics tend to be serialized. In a way, graphic novels are to movies as comic books are to television series episodes. The range of stories told through graphic novels has also expanded in recent years as well, with OPB noting politician biographies and even the 9/11 Commission Report being made into graphic novels in recent years.

In fact, graphic novels have become notable enough in the world of literature that new categories for graphic novels have been added to well-known awards, including the Hugo Awards. The annual awards, which have been a coveted prize for science fiction and fantasy writers since their inception in 1953, added a category for Best Graphic Story in 2009 to honor outstanding achievement and writing.

At Hunakai Studio of Fine Arts, we love graphic novels and comics as well, and work to foster the creative spark in students looking to build their talents and illustration skills to perhaps become the next award-winning graphic novelist. Our classes on Cartooning and Illustration, Drawing and Painting, Drawing Experiments and even Photoshop can help budding artists to develop their abilities in a variety of digital and traditional mediums.

For more information on upcoming classes or to register for one of our sessions, contact us today!