It's Called a Comic Book, Not Graphic Novel

Since when did "comic book" become such a bad word? Nowadays it's popping up more and more. The opening credits of The Walking Dead on AMC read, "Based upon the graphic novel series by..." The Walking Dead comes out as a monthly comic book series. As in single issue. It's a comic book, sure it's an long ongoing story, but they aren't graphic novels. A graphic novel in the purest definition is a front to back story in which told in a single volume most usually self-contained, and not a collected edition of numerous single issues, even if they are apart of an ongoing story. If it were just released as volumes and never single issues, ding ding! Graphic novel.

The film version of Watchmen, again you see right on the movie poster, "Based on the acclaimed Graphic Novel." Watchmen was originally released as a limited mini series in single issues. Is it so shameful to refer to something as a (gasp) comic book? Is there any sort of sophistication to the word? How differently would a conversation go if you choose the word "graphic novel" in place of comic book?

The simple answer should be, who cares? Read what you like. Call it whatever you'd like. As a proud comic reader for years and years, It just irks the hell out of me when someone says they read graphic novels or hearing them referred to as such when they aren't. It's a lame buzzword used by mainstream media and movie studios but you'll hear it quite a bit in real life. It's the "cool" thing to call them. Fables is a comic book series, not a graphic novel series. Preacher is a comic book series, Y: The Last Man is a comic book series. Sandman is a comic book series. A Contract With God? Graphic novel. Maus? Yep, you guessed it. Graphic novel.

Maybe I'm just full of that stereotypical nerd rage, maybe I am just over-protective of the things I love. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation. Just let this be known, it doesn't make you sound cooler when you tell people you read "graphic novels." Let's get that straight, you read comics. Everyone knows people who read comics are total losers!

Follow my incoherent ramblings about comics and other rad stuff at @davescheidt.