With the trailer for the upcoming Watchmen movie, I decided I look into the graphic novel. I had heard of Watchmen back in the 80s when it was first published (1986), and I had heard it was good, but I just never saw it in a comic or book store.
After hearing about the movie, I looked Watchmen up on Wikipedia, and the information there made me very interested in reading it immediately. I found it pretty easily — a stack of them were displayed in the front of the local B&N.
Well, I have it now, and after reading the review blurbs on the back cover:
A masterwork representing the apex of artistry…
— Entertainment Weekly
The greatest piece of popular fiction ever produced.
— Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof
I’m excited to experience it. I’ve read the first dozen pages or so, and I’m hooked.
The graphic novel, as a literary art, is terribly under-appreciated by the mass public. It’s the middle ground between a book and a movie. Too many people think of them as “mere comic books” without ever realizing that many are nothing at all like the super hero genre they think of when they say “comic book.”
As for the experience of a graphic novel, you can read one faster than an equally detailed novel, and they usually have a much broader and deeper story than a movie. With the illustrations (the “graphic” part of the name), the reader can see immediately what everything looks like, just like in a movie. You don’t have to read through long passages of description like in a regular novel.
I have come to appreciate graphic novels even more as an entertainment medium in my later years, because I just don’t have all the free time I used to have. I can experience a full, deep, and detailed story in a fraction of the time it would take to read an equally detailed novel. And the stories are much more fulfilling than anything you can get out of a 60-, 90-, or even 120-minute movie.