The Graphic Novel – a Representation Medium of the Contemporary Society

The Graphic Novel – a Representation Medium of the Contemporary Society | Alice Andreea ILIESCU & Laszlo BENCZE

Abstract: The Graphic Novel obtained its cultural legitimization after a period of more than two Centuries when the Comic Strip had been unfairly considered as entertainment culture, vulgar and childish type of reading, or an environment for the propagation of illiteracy, violence and vices, with demoralizing and anti-educative effects. All these are implied within the meaning of the very term that made the Comic Strip famous: comics. Starting with the second half of the Twentieth Century many artists have written graphic novels where they have argued with complex socio-political problems, such as war and peace, democracy and totalitarianism, the concern for the environment, racism and intolerance, unemployment, the role of the individual in the society, depicting protests and social movements. In this article we render how the Graphic Novel, as a medium for the representation of the contemporary society, has contributed to the classification of the Comic Strip as the 9th Art. We shall analyse genres and topics addressed by artists, aiming at increasing the quality of discourse and narrative image in parallel with the cultural awareness of the public. We will also follow the process for the cultural legitimization of the Comic Strip from a criticised and censored reading to a respected one, with intellectual value, resulting in the inclusion of Comics in art galleries, museums and festivals mainly intended for adult audience.

Keywords: Comic strip, Graphic Novel, cultural legitimization, social-politics, the 9th art, narrative images.

DOI: 10.18662/lumenphs.2016.0401.04

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