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Early Graphic Storytelling

This is Mike Strong, in Hays, for HPPR.
There is little new under the sun. That includes graphic novels.
In their present form graphic novels are book-length comic books. Most are drawn but some are combinations of photos and drawings.

This is Mike Strong, in Hays, for HPPR.

There is little new under the sun. That includes graphic novels.

In their present form graphic novels are book-length comic books. Most are drawn but some are combinations of photos and drawings.

My partner Nicole’s godfather in Mexico City, artist Jose G. Cruz, combined photos and drawing in the late 1940’s through 60’s. Images, as Marjane Satrapi observes, can be very efficient conveyors of information.

Long before most people were literate in society, artwork on walls, paintings, tiles and friezes as well as freestanding statues were full stories for the public to see and digest. Think of the stations of the cross.

Look at Degas’s paintings of ballet. Notice -- I said ballet, not ballet dancers. They are full scenes where you see the dancers, yes, but also all the surrounding life in a tableau, including shadowy males in top hats. If you know how to read the scene, if you are at all familiar with life in dance, you will be at home roaming through his paintings.

If you keep graphic novels in your head as you look at ancient wall art, you will recognize the same format in an earlier medium. Never mind that they are mostly art by the state. They are a story form and they carry any number of stories. And if they have writing with them, well, imagine the writing as cutlines.

This is Mike Strong, in Hays, for HPPR Radio Readers Book Club.

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Spring Read 2022: Graphic Novels—Worth a Thousand Words 2022 Spring ReadHPPR Radio Readers Book Club
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