A compelling medium to revisit classics

A compelling medium to revisit classics

Lately, office work has been keeping Shraddha Mishra, a 28-year-old manager working in a private firm, away from her reading habit.  There was a time when she used to read at least one novel a month.

For months she was trying to find time in her tight schedule to read the biography of Steve Jobs. A futile attempt till she came across a graphic novel on the Apple founder’s biography. She flipped the pages and saw colourful caricatures. Without a second thought she bought it.

“It was completely engaging. It was more fun than reading a simple 600 pages novel,” exclaims Shraddha, after finishing her book in two days. “The best part of the graphic novel makes the read interesting, especially if there’s anything related to history or biography. You get an idea about the life of the person and since it’s a colourful representation you manage to remember it for long,” she says.

But do graphic novels match up to original classics, biographies and history
in terms of content and information?

“Graphic novels, definitely, do justice to the original piece of work,” says Girija Jhunjunwala, owner of the Campfire publishing house. Since 2008, the company has been producing high–quality graphic novels on classics, heroic tales, mythology and biography.

“A graphic novel doesn’t kill the feel of a story. Instead they add a lot to it. By taking excerpts from the original stories and biographies, these graphic novels retain the uniqueness of the story in a concise form. Yes, there are certain biographies where you need to justify the life of a person. Therefore, like in the case of a novel on Mahatma Gandhi, we have scripted the content in 200 pages. So, it largely depends upon the subject,” says Girija.

More so, the medium had become quite popular in recounting history, particularly with the alternative perspectives. “Throw in the increasing popularity of comics and the graphic novel and you have a compelling medium that could renew an interest in history among children. Could reading an actual history book be a more thorough and engaging way to learn? Perhaps, but you might not find a more convincing way to teach children the many chapters of world history,” says Girija, who has recently launched a graphic novel on World War I.

According to her,  a lot of people who don’t get time to read books get instant gratification from a graphic novel. But many times people confuse it with comic books. For those who are in doubt, a comic book is properly a magazine with volume and issue numbers. A graphic novel is properly a single publication, although some comic publishers have produced a line of graphic novels.

A comic book may contain a single story, two stories, or as many as three or four stories between its pages, which may or may not all have the same characters. A graphic novel normally contains only a single story with the same cast of characters. Comic books have a fixed length, which ranges from 30 to 60 pages but graphic novels typically run longer, ranging anywhere from 60 to 500 pages.

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