To be honest I’m not as big of a fan of Comic books or Graphic novels as I am manga, but its not a dramatic difference. It’s also rather common for fans of one to become fans of the other. The mediums are similar but not quite the same. The difference may have more to do with how the stories are presented and not the quality of storytelling or Art.
So What’s the difference?
Comics generally tell a story through a series of monthly issues. The number of issues are usually determined by the length of the story. Speaking of length the average comic features about 20 – 25 pages per issue. They’re printed on glossy magazine like paper and almost always feature color. They tend to cost any where from $1.50 to $3.50 (although I’m certain that there are exceptions). I personally don’t think the quality of story is hindered by comics being only 20 – 25 pages and being released on a monthly. The wait can be hard for an avid fan but I’d image that the payoff is worth it.
Unlike comics Graphic novels tell stories in a single book (like traditional books). However, Graphic novels can have sequels and be part of a series. The average length can be about 65 – 150 pages. They tend to be printed and bounded more like books and can feature hardcovers. Some times stories featured colored art but usually they’re in black and white. A graphic novel can cost $15 – $20 dollars give or take. Story wise graphic novels on average may have more mature content and often have more complicated stories and sophisticated characters.
Manga (Japanese Comics)
You could make an argument that manga in many ways is combination of both comics and graphic novels (if only in presentation). Manga is serialised in chapters instead of issues. Most chapters are released weekly, instead of monthly (comics) or at once (graphic novels). Most manga are released in weekly’s like Shonen Jump and Weekly Young Jump. The number of pages are on average between 15 – 19 and are almost always black and white. The cost of purchasing manga is generally between comics and graphic novels. Weekly’s can cost about $3 (USD) but a monthly shonen can cost $29.99 for a yearly subscription. Buying manga individually can run you anywhere from $7 – $10. Stories are usually created and drawn by the same person and can reach over 500 chapters if the story demands it.
Criteria for judging good comics and Graphic novels.
If your read my second post then my criteria is basically the same.
Experience with Graphic novels and comics.
My experience with comics and Graphic novels is relatively small compared to my experience with anime/manga.
The New 52 reboot has given me and other newer comic fans a chance to start at the beginning ( or at least feel like it). So far I like:
- American Vampire
- Fear Itself ( Core Mini – series)
- Avengers vs X-Men 00 – 12 ( Core Mini – series)
- X-Men Phoenix Endsong
- Old Man Logan
- Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force
- The Cape
- Superman: Peace on Earth
- Kingdom Come
- All Star Superman
- Y: The Last Man
- V for Vendetta
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns