A graphic novel is a mostly new phenomenon in the literary world. Graphic novels typically comprise an entire comic book series in one book.
Although the term ‘novel’ typically applies to longer works, graphic novels come in varying lengths and are distinguished from standard comic books which generally are periodicals. As with many genres, there are no hard guidelines for classifying graphic novels, and it is usually left to the market to choose what is and is not a graphic novel.
Some graphic novels have been adapted into films, with various levels of commercial success. One of the most well-known adaptations in recent years is ‘The Dark Knight Returns’, which was adapted from the renowned graphic novel of the same name, and is primarily held as responsible for helping to bring Batman back into popular culture, after a series of mediocre movies from the 1990s.
One of the other most popular graphic novels is ‘Watchmen’, a novel based on a series of dysfunctional ‘heroes’, who in reality are vigilantes, and how their lives have unfolded after their vigilante activities were outlawed, although the movie did not receive the same acclaim as the novel.