Can (and should) Writers Learn From Graphic Novels?

I’ve vaguely intimated this elsewhere–I draw, too. I discovered webcomics a couple of years ago, learned I didn’t have to be ashamed of reading graphic novels (only comics…just kidding! I never read American comics anyway), and now I’m trying to start my own thing. Because a great way to get ideas is to read other things, I’ve been burning through the Flight anthologies.

They’re gorgeous. No one can deny how awesome and creative the art styles and methods of dealing with the concept of ‘sequential art’ are, and there’s a huge variation within each anthology, making it suited to most, if not all, tastes. (At the very least I recommend the first two or three. Unless you obsessively analyze images, you’ll get through them quickly.)

But….

One of the quotes on the back says it best: the strength of this series is visual. There are quite a few stories whose plots leave something to be desired or simply don’t make all that much sense, mainly because the story has been sacrificed for the sake of Art (no, seriously, it deserves the capitalization here).

 

The question is, is an emphasis on engaging the senses something writers should be emphasizing more nowadays? Sure, you can’t stuff drawings in, but you sure as hell can add a few more descriptive paragraphs. For all we reject the almost overwrought aestheticism of 19th century writers, there’s something to be learnt there. Those novels are deeper than anything solely focused on plot elements and action.

 

Also, as a short storyist, I wonder if it’s appropriate to create an anthology from unrelated stories, or if there should be some kind of common thread.

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