Graphic Novel vs Comic: Difference and Comparison

Graphic novel and comic are two of the terms which are familiar to us. Some people say graphic novels on behalf of comics and think it is fancy to say it.

The format features an illustration of Graphic novels and comics that are completely based on storytelling, but it does not mean they are the same.

Key Takeaways

  1. Graphic novels are longer, self-contained stories, while comics are serialized and published in shorter issues.
  2. Graphic novels explore complex themes and narratives, whereas comics focus on episodic storytelling and lighter content.
  3. Both graphic novels and comics utilize visual storytelling through artwork and text, but graphic novels are considered more literary.

Graphic Novel vs Comic 

The difference between graphic novels and the comic is that a graphic novel is a story in the form of a comic strip. On the other hand, a comic contains a sequence of comic strips. The graphic novel is a book that contains the whole story from the beginning to the end. In contrast, comic contains only some part of the story and arrives on the schedule weekly or monthly.  

Graphic Novel vs Comic

The graphic novel is not a genre but a format. It can be history, fiction, fantasy, non-fiction, or anything in between. It has stand-alone stories and more complex plots.

The comic is a magazine that tells a story with the help of sequences of drawings. The first comic was launched in 1933 in the United States.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGraphic NovelComic
InterpretationA story that is published as a book but presented in the format of the comic strip.A magazine that contains the sequence of comic strips.
SizeAny sizeStandard 6.5″ x 10″ size
LengthMore extendedShorter
Advertisements Does not includesIncludes
SoldBoth booksellers and comic shopsOnly in comic shops

What is a Graphic Novel? 

A graphic novel simply means a full-length story that contains comic content and is represented in a graphical or illustrated style. It has a combination of pictures and text equally to convey a narrative.

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The term ‘graphic novel’ was coined by Richard Kyle in 1964 in an essay that is based on the issue of Fanin Capa Alpha comics. In the late 1980s, this term became familiar to the public.

There are endless categories of graphic novels. Some of the three predominant categories are given below:  

  1. Manga: Japanese comics are referred to as manga. Manga is read from right to left and top to bottom. Example- Full Metal Alchemist.  
  2. Superhero Story: It is popular among comics. These are dominated by a few publishers, such as DC, Darkhorse, and Marvel. Example- Batman: Dark Knight Returns.  
  3. Personal narratives (“Perzines”)- These are autobiographical stories. The author’s personal opinions, observations, and experiences are highlighted in them. Example- The Quitter.  
  4. Non-fiction- They are quite similar to Perzines. Also, great social issues are touched up with the author’s personal experience. Example- Pedro and Me. 
graphic novel

What is a Comic? 

A comic is a publication that contains sequential juxtaposed panels to represent the individual scene in comic art. These panels are accompanied by written narrative and descriptive prose.

The United States and the United Kingdom were the first to popularise comics during the 1930s. Famous Funnies was the first modern comic book that was released in 1933 in the US.

Japan is the largest market for the comic. The United States and Canada are also comic book markets with a value of $1.09 billion (2016).

The main focus of the authors is on the orientation, panel positions, frame of the page, and size. Text (lines), characters, and balloons (speech bubbles) are three of the key elements of the comic.


Main Differences Between Graphic Novel and Comic 

  1. The main aim of graphic novels is to take its readers from the start of the journey till the end. On the other hand, comics are part of a larger whole and do not tell the whole story in a single comic.  
  2. When it comes to maturity rate, graphic novels are for adult readers due to their often-mature themes and are not appropriate for kids.
Difference Between Graphic Novel and Comic
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Last Updated : 21 August, 2023

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21 thoughts on “Graphic Novel vs Comic: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Interesting, I have always been a fan of graphic novels because of its complex narratives, but never saw the difference between the two. I’m glad I came across this article.


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