Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Comics and Graphic Novels

Comics vs Graphic Novels

Children Picture bookMany people regard comics (or comic books) and graphic novels as the same.  Both comics and graphic novels tell a story by using pictures, descriptions, and dialogue by employing either color or black-and-white illustration techniques. While they may be similar in this sense, they are very different from each other in many ways

Comics are materials with a paper cover.  The story in a comic book is presented in a serial and continuous format, usually using light comedy or adventure plot themes which may not necessarily have a specific time. In comics, only a small part of the story is published in each issue which leaves readers with plenty to anticipate for in the forthcoming issues which come out weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Comic books are usually sold in comic stores, newsstands, or the stands near the counters of bookstores, supermarkets, and convenient stores. As serials, comics are registered and assigned an International Standard Serial Number or ISSN.
On the other hand, a graphic novel is a published material that is often mislabeled as a comic book because, in truth, there appears to be no standard definition of a graphic novel. But while comic books come with a paper cover, graphic novels can be paperbound or hardbound. Moreover, unlike comic books, graphic novels contain a complete story which may or may not have sequels. Graphic novels have only one arc and come with a beginning, middle, and an end.

The plot of a graphic novel is usually mature and complex intended for young teens and adults. A graphic novel is lengthy, featuring a fluid and sustained storyline and many details in each issue.

A graphic novel’s content can be fiction or non-fiction, or short stories with common themes. The number of pages can go as high as the story demands, and more often than not graphic novels have more pages than a comic book. And since it comes in a book format, it is also more expensive to purchase.

Graphic novels are usually seen and sold in many bookstores. You may also find them in some libraries.  As a book, a graphic novel is given an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). In terms of sales, it is often in competition with traditional novels.


  1. Comics and graphic novels are often used interchangeably due to their similar characteristics as published materials.
  2. Comics and graphic novels differ on how they are published. Comics have a paper cover and are released in serial comic magazines. Meanwhile, graphic novels are single published materials often in book form and have softbound or hardbound editions.
  3. The story in comics is released in parts while graphic novels are released as a whole and stand-alone material.
  4. The storyline in comics can begin at any point of the story while the graphic novel follows the typical pattern of novels that involves a beginning, middle, and an ending.
  5. Comics often have a light comedy feel. In contrast, graphic novels offer mature themes aimed at a young or adult audience.
  6. As a serial, comic books have limited pages with cliffhangers while a graphic novel’s page number total is dependent on its story. The story in a graphic novel can unfold in one sitting.
  7. Comics are serials and are assigned an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) while graphic novels are considered books and are registered with an International  Standard Book Number (ISBN).
  8. Content is the big, vague factor in both comics and graphic novels. Some people think a graphic novel is a collection of previously released works which to an extent is true. However, a graphic novel can also contain nonfiction or fiction work with or without common themes.

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  1. never knew this

  2. Thank you!

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