As graphic novels present the readers the ideas with both visual and contents, writers usually make use of this characteristic for the purpose of leading readers to appreciate the work. However, writers sometimes do not balance this quality of comics but make one components more outstanding. Stories, telling different lives of working people, written by many writers using various styles, well display the balances of such quality. Graphics on occasion reflects realistic aspects of societies better than putting text in speech balloons. The frightening truth told in the story of Bill Talcott, an organizer, exemplifies the use of metaphors about the social structure during the Industrial Revolution which limited people’s thoughts and tied them into greed and selfishness. The writer outstandingly illustrates struggling lives of people with the sarcastic images explaining how the society went at the time rather than using dialog. Even if pictures are sometimes used to strike the readers, contents should come first. Some writers do not have to use a storm of ironic pictures but express stories straightforwardly. The writer expresses the society through the debauched life of Roberta Victor, a hooker who follows all hopeless routes. The story is well-organized and easy to read but portrays the appalling aspect of such a rotten society that includes even the judge and the wealthy executive. To convey ideas to readers, writers employ different styles of writing and characteristics of comics. Readers can find the right track to follow the writers’ thoughts promoted by both elements of a graphic novel.
Impressed by the name Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, the readers would expect to find a definition that describes the word “comics” in the first chapter. McCould starts by using the definition to rectify the understanding of the readers in order to attract them to change their perspectives on comics. With broaden definition, McCould shows that comics are not fables for children but a kind of art which represents people’s ideas and cultures as shown in the past. By tracing back to historical evidences, the author tries to create a clear definition of comics and generalize the meaning that covers some piece of art. Many work stated in this chapter shows a violent practice of people in the past such as The Tortures of Saint of Erasmus, William Hogarth’s A Harlot’s Progress, and Max Ernst’s A Week of Kindness. The work contains pictures that might compel the readers to raise a question why McCloud has to use such offensive images to define comics in which most people think about funny jokes or caricatures. Without finding these components that appear in regular comics, some readers think after finishing the first chapter that they see nothing entertaining here and might ask a question why McCloud puts gravity in the a book that even has the word “comics” in its name. Probably, the definition would be so broadened that “our attempts to define comics are an on-going process which won’t end anytime soon.”
Visual styles of graphic novels are the important factors which impress the readers and of course affect their attention which is related to how they understand story. Authors use visual styles to develop stories properly in order to direct to the themes of the stories. A theme of stories which show destructiveness and cruelty of a war tends to be lightened up by marvelous images. As shown in Pride of Baghdad, colorful graphics well described the unfavorable result of the war presented by many bloody pictures. While some graphic novels tell themes by using full-page-color panel, many do not need to have perfect visual images due to, again, their themes. Despite not being available in color, the spooky story from Death Note is expressed by its graphic weight and figures in contrast to the wonderful scenes in Pride of Baghdad. As well as the offensive themes from both graphic novels, a story created to be a fairy tale attracted the readers from its visual styles. The author wrote American Born Chinese with pretty pictures which look like a child fable in order to make the readers realize that the serious moral of the stories are following. In spite of the various visual styles from each story, they are all similar, having the same function to intensify the theme of the story. All these settings are created to make the readers absorb the content better for the sake of furthering their valuable experiences from reading graphic novels.
Excited with their freedom, the four lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo only to be killed by US military. The sad ending presented the cost of the Iraq war resulting from a longing for liberation. The death of these lions directly represented casualties in the fighting for an ideal future which draws inferences about collateral damage caused by military. The author depicted a bird as a symbol of such liberty and ended the story by having it landed on the “Lion of Babylon”. The turtle said in the middle of the story about the statue of lion which carries two meanings: a tank used by Saddam Hussein and a symbol of Babylon. Therefore, the message telling the readers is that freedom usually ends up at the use of military power which directed to the big question whether freedom can be given or only earned.
Nowadays, a regular novel and a graphic noel are growing in popularity as they both have successed in communicating to the readers. Due to innumerable copies and the variety of novels having been composed, some people safely believe that anything in regular novels can be translated to graphic novels. In American Born Chinese, the story of the Monkey King is extracted from the classic Chinese literature, Journey to the West. Also, it is unlikely that the character like Jin Wang never appear in any regular novels, so most of the gist can be adapted to a regular novel. The translation increases the value of a novel because when it comes in nothing but text, any details shaping scenes become more distinctive. The readers appreciate the importance of scenes as well as the content. However, as the two are not conveyed in the same manner because of the main difference: pictures, other people believe that this difference makes something in graphic novels untranslatable. If ABC comes in text, while the scenes are more highlighted, it makes the readers lose their focus on how these three stories are connected to each other. Pictures do a better job of impressing the readers which is more concise such as a yellow lighting on Jin’s Afro which presents his active thoughts. Pictures also lead to more surprising climax because the readers do not have to collect their thoughts to generate an impression, but the pictures just show it right away. This directs the readers to the right feeling of the story. Therefore, ABC may work as a regular novel, but it will lose the value of feeling.
The focus of American Born Chinese is not on the three tales themselves but the connection between them as the story starts off by telling one of the most classic Chinese literatures followed by a well-worn story of bullying. However, the last one, the tale of the Chinese stereotype, would be the most unexpected because how Chin-Kee connects to the other two stories would lead to a twist. Therefore, Chin-Kee is an intriguing character that the author leaves a lot of mysteries because until the page 84, his story has been least developed compared to the others. The author intends to put this stereotyped model at Chin-Kee because his Chinese clothing and his look show his personality. Throughout the easy-to-predict story, the last obvious piece of a focused puzzle is what Chin-Kee is going to do with the other two stories.