What I Look for in Graphic Novels! | #GraphicNovelWeek

hey guys it's misty from the book rat and it is day four I think of graphic novel week and we are immediately being joined by a gift hi Jojo you can't see him there we go there's the other one back there Jojo Otto on monday i had a viewer's choice and I kind of decided that I liked all the topics and sort of one take them all on plus i think the votes kind of ended up about equal so yesterday I talked about good graphic novels and comics for kids today I'm going to be talking about what I look for in a graphic novel and I know a lot of you wanted to see a video on sort of targeted recommendations read this if you like this and I do so want to do that but I don't want to just throw it together and have it be kind of slapdash so I'm not going to do it right now for this graphic novel week I'm just going to kind of take some time and mull it over and research it a bit and plan it a bit and hopefully get back to you on that one so that will happen but just not this week so sorry about that but I'm gonna do it I promise fingers crossed means you're lying right I shouldn't be doing that I'm gonna do it anyway as I said today I'm going to be talking about what I personally look for in a graphic novel what draws me in a lot of you have asked me that because you're maybe wanting to get into graphic novels and aren't sure how to go about it so these are kind of the things that I look for I'm sorry I'm looking a little washed out there's a bit of a lighting issue in the fact that I didn't want to lug my big camera and tripod down here while I'm house sitting so I'm using my phone but my phone doesn't pull in light as well and has to be propped on things and all the probable places in the house don't give me the best light so today I've wedged my phone against the door handle and I'm sitting right in front of big bay window so I'm getting a lot of light maybe too much light but it's better than too little i think so you probably didn't need to know all that let's get into what i like about graphic novels i've narrowed it down to kind of four key thing so the first one and a kind of obvious one that I think draws people into stories in general is the characters a lot of people have talked about this before you think you'd be plot people like sir themes or they like certain plots they like crime stories mysteries whatever and that's true you will be drawn to a story by that but what keeps you there and what really commits you to the story is the character so for me whether it's pros or a graphic novel its characters that either really charm me or are relatable or are very funny or just are intriguing so they don't have to be the good guys but they have to be good characters they have to be someone that I want to invest the time in hi Jojo he's rubbing all up against me so if there are any weird cuts in this it's probably because I stopped to play with the cat I'm just gonna warn you right now anyway I'm perfectly fine with reading a story about a villain I like a good antihero story but he's got to be or she's got to be intriguing it's got to be someone that really makes me want to keep turning pages whether those pages are full of words or full of art there are plenty of people who have a really good handle on this but characters that have really drawn me in are things like the really cutesy and sort of charmingly odd characters of been a key so there is a rock like a rock monster I guess in Z to the space girl that I fell in love with and then thought that it probably couldn't get any weirder than that but then later there was like just not even like a full-sized giant rock monster but a literal rock a black ball with eyes that I felt for so if you can make me connect to your characters like that that is damn good I think characters is one of the strengths of the castle waiting series by Linda medley to which is one of my favorite series just of all times I could read it over and over it's so good and it's retellings of fairy tales with kind of like side characters more of a focus I mean that's a plot that you can approach from a million different directions everyone's done fairy tales so it relies on the characters to draw you in you already know the stories you might be intrigued to see what the twist on the stories is going to be but it's the characters that are really going to keep you there but even on a kind of more simple and non fantastical level the characters of Cairo maury who wrote Emma and Shirley and a bride story these are all historical and realistic so they're not fantastical they're not crazy these characters are just so solid and so lovable and feel so real and I think that something she's really good at and that's something that will absolutely draw me in but obviously plot plays a big part in it too so that's the number two thing I'm less drawn to the sort of crash bang pow superhero comics I did read those when I was a kid but as I've gotten older I tend to find them a little cheesier maybe a little heavy-handed and I don't know something about him just feels a little more bogged down to me so I mean I I'm still I'm okay with a superhero but the sort of traditional thing you think of with superhero comics doesn't appeal to me as much as a plot that is more whimsical and more fantastical I tend to lean very heavily towards those I like a really good dose of quirky in everything in life so I don't think that's a surprise to anyone I'm fine with weird and experimental as long as it doesn't seem like it's weird or experimental just for weirds sake there needs to be a purpose to it but quirky and cute see that definitely draws me in and fantastical things that a graphic novel is well-suited to or a comic as well suited to so you can physically show these really interesting quirks and fantasy elements which of course you can get in books and I love fantasy books but there are opportunities and graphic novels to kind of push it even further you don't have to describe it you don't have to take the reader there with you and hope that they're going to understand what you're trying to say because they can actually see it there in front of them so I think that can be a real strength of comics and graphic novels but characters and plot I mean those are two things that every story is really gonna focus on those are the two things that are make it or break it for everything that you read that's not nonfiction and even sometimes not in fiction I mean it's got to have compelling characters even if the real it's got to have an interesting plot even if it really happened so those are kind of Givens but the key to a graphic novel and the real focal point for a graphic novel and the thing that sets it apart obviously is going to be the art in art ki it really is the make-it-or-break-it element I'm I tend to be drawn to more clean and open art styles I don't like things that are really busy and fussy I think that's one of the things that kind of pushes me away a bit from the superhero comics they can feel really cluttered to me and it just makes my mind feel chaotic again I think Ben hacky is really good at this having things that don't feel cluttered and detailed enough without overdoing it I just talked about roller girl by Victoria Jameson which the art for that was very clean and open and simple and I really enjoyed that you can have very detailed art that still doesn't feel cluttered k or amorion is another one again who her art is not simple I don't think anyone would look at these just insanely detailed and perfect Victorian cities that she draws in all of these details that she manages to fit into a panel and it's got to take her ages but it still and never overwhelms your brain it never feels it gets too much you can pour over those panels and they're lovely but it's still very clean it's still really well done so it's not necessarily about the amount of details the amount of lines that are in a little square it's how they're used and the kind of feel that they give i'm also really drawn to color palette now it doesn't have to be a specific color palette but it has to be one that works really well when someone's got a really good handle on color it just is my happy place you know obviously a light color I don't think that that's a surprise to anyone if you've seen my bookshelves you know that they're organized by color so color is something that's always been important to me and complementary colors strong color palette it doesn't matter it can be in any blues greens pinks purples oranges yellows it really honestly doesn't matter what the color is so long as it's used really well there are some artists who will use a sort of distinctive colour palette for them so like their sara varone you might have noticed when i was showing sweater weather in tuesday's video that large parts of the book it was all just one tone blue and then some other parts would work in pink but that was all you see in the entire book is just shades of blue and pink and that's kind of her distinctive style and it really works Anya's ghost by Vera brothel is another one where everything is done in a sort of smoky blue based gray and so that whole cool blue gray tone feels like a storytelling tool it feels like a very intentional choice that adds to the way the story feels because its ghostly and it's kind of cold and the color palette suits the story for a more expanded color palette so moving beyond having just those couple of colors but full spectrum of colors I think a book like the undertaking of the Li Chen by danica Novgorod off is so incredibly beautiful such a good use of color it's watercolor so I'm biased because I tend to love that and that's what I use but I think it's something even if you aren't into the story which is a really dark story it's something that you would pick up and everyone would think that is really beautiful even when a story doesn't appeal to me plot the characters whatever I might still pick up a graphic novel if the art is really knock out because that is I mean that's what a graphic novel really is all about it is art kind of case in point I've been meaning to go back and read this and give it another try but kabuki by David Mack I wasn't necessarily a huge fan of the story now this could be because I think I accidentally picked up the second book and hadn't read the first even though I wasn't necessarily in love with the story itself the art it's probably some of the best art I've seen in a graphic novel oh it was so gorgeous and that's something that I've been meaning to go back and read that series even though I didn't connect with the story as much just because I want to see more of that art so art is really the overriding factor in what helps me choose a graphic novel if it has good art if it draws me in I mean you can pick up a graphic novel and flip through it or comic and flip through it and know instantly if you connect to the art style that is probably the number one deciding factor of what I look for in graphic novels the last thing and this is kind of the hardest to pin down it's just interesting this I don't really know I mean what's interesting to one isn't necessarily interesting to another and how do you even begin to describe that but there are just some things that even though they might make a fine prose novel benefit from having the graphic novel medium so if you've ever read American born Chinese or the eternal smile by gene Luen yang both of those are they are told in three parts with three different styles and you can do that in writing but there's something about the visual aspect and seeing those different styles and then seeing how they come together or how they play off of each other having those be graphic novels instead of prose added a level to it i think or same with the Olympian series by George O'Connor I talked about this the other day in my review on Tuesday there are really simple things that George O'Connor does that are visually so effective and you could not do them in writing as simply and have them be as effective there are just some things that you can do to add visual interest and visual interest adds another layer to the story that though you might still enjoy it and you might get other things that you can get necessarily in a comic if it were a prose novel there are strengths that a comic and that art can bring to a story and that just adds that extra level and I mean there's no telling when a book has it or doesn't you just got to read it or flip through it and see but there's always just that little jinsuk qua that little bit of interestingness that you can't quite put your finger on but that will draw you in those are kind of the things that are make it or break it for me characters and plot those are obvious ones but aren't in interestingness I think those are kind of dependent on the comic and those are what really will make you connect listing some I think are good embodiments of what I've been talking about in the info so definitely check out the description box if you are looking for good examples of what I've talking about let me know in the comments what draws you into a graphic novel or what you're looking for when you pick up comics and sort of visual stories in general and if you've yet to read any comics of graphic novels we were so close to the end if you have yet to read any comics or graphic novels and you're not sure exactly what will draw you in don't just give one a try and if you don't like it you know call it a day and say they're not the medium for you go to your library or your bookstore flip through get recommendations from people look them up online I guarantee you you will find a style that suits you there's so much out there but that is all for today if you've missed any of graphic novel week or wanna see my thoughts on everything graphic novel and comic related the full playlist is here also linked below i'm looking forward to chatting with you guys in the comments but until next time i will see you guys again soon thanks for watching and happy reading there has been a wasp just creeping closer to me this entire video what you doing buddy thinking wasp thoughts doing wasp things you want to tell them about your favorite graphic novel that it's last of the sand walkers

6 thoughts on “What I Look for in Graphic Novels! | #GraphicNovelWeek

  1. When you said Art is Key! That was a mouth full of Truth for me, I am not a big comic reader but I watched the TV SHOW REVENGE and it was my favorite show so when it became a comic I really wanted it until I saw the artwork. It was Horrible! I could not read it at all. sorry to say. I will have to look into some of your recommend comics. Btw have you seen the previews to the new Jane Austen movie. it is about Lady Susan LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP It looks Wonderful. saw it and thought of you haha! have a great day. great video.

  2. I enjoyed watching this and learning about new graphic novels to read. I just started reading them last year so I don't know much. So far, it's the art that attracts me first. I like clean but detailed illustrations, clean line work, and great use of color. Scratchy lines usually turn me off. Of the graphic novels I've read so far, the illustrations in The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1 are my favorite. And I love the use of color in it. The story or characters hooks me next. It all depends. So far, I love the story in Saga and love the characters in Rat Queens. I need to read more so I can talk about more than just those all the time.

  3. Totally not related to graphic novels but, your hair looks fantastic!! What brand of dye do you use? Did you DIY or get it done at the salon?

  4. So glad you keep including Roller Girl! My 12 year old niece and I loved sharing it and talking about what can happen with friendships as we grow and change.

    We were able to meet Victoria Jamieson on Comic Book day at a local library last year. She was so nice, taking a lot of time to talk to my niece who wants to be an artist and loves graphic novels.

  5. Glad you mentioned Castle Waiting. I have seen it at my library, but have hesitated in borrowing it, because I just wasn't sure. Will give it a shot now. For me, the art is absolutely key. The art is what decides whether I pick up a graphic novel to even start with. And bad art can totally kill an amazing story and drag it down. So art, but also art/story combination. And that wasp at the end!! LOL!

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