Comics and Graphic Novels: Counter Narratives to Cultural Products
Syeda Nadia Hasan
Abstract: Adapting either comic stories or graphic novels for the big screen with their spate of sequels has proved lucrative for the film industry. A myriad of images have sprung out of this current surge in comic or graphic characters and stories associated with popular demands for an alternative source of entertainment – one that has hitherto been undermined by the mainstream genres. This attraction towards comics and graphic novels has skyrocketed as a recent phenomenon, thanks to Hollywood’s commercialism. Paradoxically, too, the strength of burgeoning fandom is what boosts this industry to generate more profit while the industry itself remains morally equivocal in the way it responds to the committed viewers. But what panders to the endless promotion of entertainment has already been damaging to the core principles of this medium. In capitalist economy movies created based on comics or graphic novels become cultural products. Before reaching the consumers these are intercepted by the intermediary groups, namely the studio conglomerates. Thus the artists’/creators’ rights are violated and talents frequently go unacknowledged. What matters in the process of being so is the devaluation of comics or graphic novels as works of art or aesthetic creations. The premise of this paper is to investigate the nature of graphic novels and how they retain the transcendence of art as the primary function. The secondary role of the graphic novels is not to be ignored, given that numerous examples are available to validate their insightful probing of ideas. The paper will also seek to determine the factors that transform art into mere commodities.
Keywords: comics, graphic novels, superhero movies, media conglomerate, aesthetics
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Published in 2017