Graphic Novel

Comics have traditionally marked the gap between adult-sanctioned children’s literature and self-selected children’s reading. Though internationally popular and crucial to the literacy narratives of many, they have been doubly stigmatized, viewed as both a danger to children and yet the quintessence of childishness. However, in anglophone cultures, comics have at last rebounded as a children’s genre, spurred by enthusiasm for the graphic novel: the bulwark of comics’ recent claims to literariness, or at least legitimacy. The graphic novel ideal has recuperated comics in anglophone children’s literature circles (Abate and Tarbox 2017) even as it threatens to eclipse a good part of comics’ history. In short, the graphic novel has proven a great legitimizing force for comics—though at the same time a mystifying circumlocution for what is, after all, an old form.

This essay may be found on page 100 of the printed volume.

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