Not everyone is happy about Gene Yang’s National Book Award nomination. Tony Long, copy chief at Wired, writes:
I have not read this particular “novel” but I’m familiar with the genre so I’m going to go out on a limb here. First, I’ll bet for what it is, it’s pretty good. Probably damned good. But it’s a comic book. And comic books should not be nominated for National Book Awards, in any category. That should be reserved for books that are, well, all words.
This is not about denigrating the comic book, or graphic novel, or whatever you want to call it. This is not to say that illustrated stories don’t constitute an art form or that you can’t get tremendous satisfaction from them. This is simply to say that, as literature, the comic book does not deserve equal status with real novels, or short stories. It’s apples and oranges.
While his argument seems to be more about the difference in form rather than anything to do with content, his choice of words — “the comic book does not deserve equal status with real novels” — isn’t doing anything to endear me to his stance.
Per Random House …
Novel: a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes.
So are graphics novels (hey, there’s that word again) a subset of the above definition, or something else entirely?