Short Graphic Novels

Batman-The-Killing-JokeWelcome to my blog which collects short graphic novels. They go by different names such as a Oneshot, Prestige Format (DC), or simply a graphic novel – but what I’m collecting on this blog are comics that closely resemble the 1988 Batman The Killing Joke.

The Killing Joke is a comic that is roughly the length of two comics, square-bound, and presented as a self-contained story.

The Franco-Belgium tradition of Bande dessinée often present hard bound albums in a similar way and if I can find good translated examples, I will include them here as well, however the main focus will be to highlight as many American comics in this format as possible.

What are Short Graphic Novels?

Short graphic novels are not anthologies. They are single stories. Page counts from the first two dozen or so range from 39-64 of sequential art. Stories with 39 or 40 pages of art will often have back matter, concept art, of splash pages to fill in the “print signature” (48 or 64 pages are the most efficient in this page range). Graphic novels that have more than 64 pages I consider to be long form as they have 3 or more single issue worth of comics.

Why Short Graphic Novels?

Short graphic novels to me are like short films, novellas, or short stories. They are not like feature films, novels, or any other long form narrative – and this is something I look for both as a reader and an artist.

As a reader, I usually skip floppy stapled comics and I suppose I could be called a “trade waiter”. I would rather buy a trade paperback that I can put on the bookshelf than have a magazine in a pile somewhere because I’m not a hardcore comics collector, just someone who reads narrative fiction and happens to like art as well.

As an artist, short graphic novels represent something else. They are a form of expression that isn’t so short that they are a single issue comic, but not so long that you may loose interest and never finish making it. At 48 pages, an artist could realistically create one in a year drawing one page a week. Once completed it can be printed exactly like any other paperback and although slim in appearance, it could be sold for a reasonable amount and considered a significant volume.

So that’s what appeals to me about the format. What’s interesting is that when you search for 48 page graphic novels, very few results come up and that is why this blog was created. Over time find as many as I can and post them here so anyone who has a similar interest can find great examples of short graphic novels.


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