So, it seemed as though there was a general agreement on examining how graphic novels meet the requirements of literature, or the “Literary Components.” (hereon referred to as LCs) Lists differ, but I think a solid place to start would be evaluating the books based on Temple’s list of LC’s. For the audience, here’s an example of what this will look like:
Character- Strong visual elements (nonverbal communication, facial expression, etc.), combined with a focus on dialogue build strong characters in graphic novels. For individual graphic novels, we’ll list what elements are highlighted in the character(s) and how. An example of two maybe?
Plot- Conflict and Motivation are built just as strongly in the graphic novels narratives as in any piece of prose. In our reviews, we will include major plot points and where their motivation comes from. We’ll decide whether the panels are omniscient or generally following one character throughout the story. I think we’ll find plot works exactly the same way as it does elsewhere.
Setting- Setting can be built a lot more strongly, by using direct illustration, as well as historical detail (as Darlene pointed out). We’ll outline the setting, which could vary from space to the Old West, to the Old West in space! We might include which elements of the novel build setting (detail, backdrop, period dialogue?).
Style- Different artists, writers, and publishers have very different styles, from Silver Age comic books heavily narrated, flawed characters to the 4th wall-breaking, heavily reference-based, and unreliable narration of Scott Pilgrim. We’ll list one or two style elements here, whether it’s manga-style illustration, use of a certain kind of panel (full-page v. quick action cuts) or narration techniques.
Theme- Themes can again vary just as widely here as in any piece of literature. Once we decide what the themes are, we’ll relate them to you (the audience) and include what the intended audience is (maybe it’s you).
Viewpoint- Graphic novels tend to have a more…informal… viewpoint than some classic prose. Is the novel first-person? Are the main characters children, or adults? Who is the intended audience? We’ll answer these questions to determine the viewpoint.
With these guidelines, maybe we’ll discover some really interesting trends between our pieces. It shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes or so to post a rough list in this format. Comment on suggestions for additions, subtractions, etc!