Reception of Graphic Novels versus Manuscripts

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The artistry of graphic novels and of manuscripts is very similar, not only does the written script text tantalize the reader, but the illustrations act as significant appeals as well. The correspondence between the visual and the scripted within these text technologies greatly influences the reception thereof. Specific—and quite popular—examples of the two technologies that I will reference are Watchmen, and the Ellesmere Chaucer, respectively. In order to understand the reception of these texts completely though, it is necessary first to recognize some background information regarding their respective histories.

The popularity of comics in the United States began to rise in the late 19th century, most notably with Richard F. Outcault's "The Yellow Kid", which was a single-panel comic that gained incredible fame—and eventually likely lent its name to yellow journalism. Newspapers in the US at the time were just beginning colored printing, and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World was the US's most well known newspaper with colored printing, as well as being the most notable newspaper to contain comic strips, which would appear in the Sunday paper of each week. Not long after the initial popularity of "The Yellow Kid," William Randolph Hearst's newly acquired New York Journal "poached" Outcault from the World's staff (Quimby).

Within a few years, comics appeared in numerous newspapers as publishers recognized their ability to help increase sales and, by the 1930s, the first collections of comics in book form were published. The creation and publication of Superman lead to an increased popularity of the medium, though the mass opinion of comic books for decades was that they were intended for children and teenagers (Weiner). Thou...

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Dutschke, C. W. et al. "Guide To Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library." UC Berkley. 2003. Web. 3 April 2012.

Grossman, Lev and Richard Lacayo. "All-TIME 100 Novels." Time Entertainment. Time., 16 Oct. 2005. Web. 3 April 2012.

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Trigg, Stephanie. Congenial Souls: Reading Chaucer from Medieval to Postmodern. University of Minnesota Press, 2002. Web.

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