Graphic Novels are
Comic Books Too!

In my quest to understand graphic novels, I took a trip down to my local comic book store. One of the employees there was gracious enough to spend some time with me discussing the benefits and drawbacks to comic book graphic novels. It seems that these days, these extended paperback books have become quite popular. He estimated that they account for possibly half of their total sales. There were sure rows and rows and even racks of these popular books.

One of the marketing methods comic book creators (Marvel, DC, etc) have moved to is packaging 6 comic book issues at a time into one book. As soon as the 6th issue, in a given run, is released the graphic novel comes out with all 6 issues bundled together.

Now this appears to be a good idea for the end item consumer (that’s you & me), as this gives us a series of issues in one neatly packaged product. These books typically cost around 20 dollars, which are a shade cheaper than purchasing each issue separately. But, according to some, this can be a draw back to the comic book shops. Many individuals, instead of purchasing the separate issues, will wait until the graphic novel comes out. This can hurt sales for the shop and if they are running on a tight budget, could seriously affect their whole operation.

Now it was proposed by the employee I was talking to, that if the comic book publishers would wait for 6 months or more to release the novel, this could become a win-win situation for the shop as well as the publisher. It would increase individual issue sales as well as having what is called in the marketing world, the backend novel sale. Personally, I am not sure if this is the ultimate solution. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. You can use my “contact me” link over in the main menu and let me know.

With the popularity of graphic novels these days, I was curious as to the collection value. Apparently, at this point in time, there is no increase in value of these novels as there is in the comic book issues themselves. For entertainment value, they appear to be great. Who knows, maybe one day they will start to increase in value as time goes on and become an investment vehicle as well.

Graphic Novel Examples

In my quest for knowledge of “Graphic Novels”, I am now the proud owner of three of them. They were recommended to me by the folks down at my local comic book shop. I will attempt to describe them for those somewhat unfamiliar with graphic novels, as I was.

Batman and Spawn
Spawn Batman.

This smallish novel was written by Frank Miller and Todd MaFarlane and was produced by Image Comics. It is 54 pages in length and is one continuous story line. It was put out in 1994.The graphics and color are excellent. And the paper it is printed on is of superior quality. It appears though, that it is not much different from a standard comic book other that a few more pages and bound more like a book rather than stapled like your typical comic. Its issue price is $3.95 US, again which is typical of comic books.

Xmen Graphic Novel
Ultimate X-men, The Tomorrow People.

Now this one is getting a little meatier. It was written by Mark Miller and published by Marvel Comics. It is approximately 143 pages in length. It consists of 6 individual issues of Ultimate X-men volume 1, numbers 1 – 6. These issues were printed in 2000 and 2001, with the Graphic-Novel released in July of 2001. Again, the graphics, color and paper are of excellent quality and typical of modern day comics. The panel layout looks just like a comic book. Its issue price is $14.95, which is more than reasonable it seems to me.

Essential – The Incredible Hulk, Vol 2.

Now we have a novel. This one is quite jammed packed. It is written by Stan Lee, Herb Trimpe, Marie Severin and friends. And of course, Marvel Comics published it. It is approximately 540 pages long. And it is filled with 27 separate issues, making it quite a lengthy read. The content consists of Tales to Astonish, issues 92 – 101 and Incredible Hulk, issues 102 – 117 with Annual number 1 thrown in for good measure. The combined issues were originally printed in 1967 through 1969, with the Graphic Novel coming out in 2001. The issue price was $14.95.

Now although the front and back covers consist of good color, graphics and paper quality, the interior pages are typical pulp, reminiscent of yesteryear. Kind of brings back some of my youthful collecting days.

I haven’t attempted to give any kind of review on the content itself. I leave that up to your discretion, should you decide to acquire these particular graphic novels. Here is one excellent site to browse through for other graphic novels. If you want to see more and also have some great info about Graphic Novels, then feel free to sign up for my newsletter “Comics Galore” in the form below. And I will publish anything you may want to send me.

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