A graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using the comics form. The term is employed in a broad manner, encompassing non-fiction works and thematically linked short stories as well as fictional stories across a number of genres. Graphic novels are typically bound in longer and more durable formats than familiar comic magazines, using the same materials and methods as printed books, and are generally sold in bookstores and specialty comic book shops rather than at newsstands.
Cover art for the 1987 U.S. (right) and U.K. (left) collected editions of Watchmen, published by DC Comics and Titan Books
The evolving term graphic novel is not strictly defined, and is sometimes used, controversially, to imply subjective distinctions in artistic quality between graphic novels and other kinds of comics. It suggests a complete story that has a beginning, middle and end, as opposed to an ongoing series. It can also imply a story that is outside the genres commonly associated with comic books, or that deals with more mature themes. It is sometimes applied to works that fit this description even though they are serialized in traditional comic book format. The term is sometimes used to disassociate works from the juvenile or humorous connotations of the terms comics and comic book, implying that the work is more serious, mature, or literary than traditional comics.
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