Comic Book / Comics

Is a Comic a Real Book?

Comic books have been around for decades, but the question remains: is a comic a real book? This debate has been ongoing among book lovers, comic enthusiasts, and even educators. In this article, we’ll delve into the argument for both sides and try to answer this age-old question.

What is a Book?

Before we can determine whether a comic is a real book or not, let’s first define what we mean by the term “book.” According to Merriam-Webster, a book is “a set of written sheets of skin or paper or tablets of wood or ivory.” The definition doesn’t limit the content to just words but rather refers to any written material bound together.

Argument for Comics as Real Books

Many people argue that comics are indeed real books. They contain written material that tells stories and conveys messages just like traditional books. However, instead of paragraphs and chapters, comics use panels and speech bubbles to tell their stories.

Moreover, comics are art forms that require skillful writing and drawing. The visual elements in comics can be just as important in conveying meaning as the words themselves. In fact, some argue that comics are even more effective in conveying complex ideas than traditional books because they use both visual and verbal language.

Comics as Literature

In recent years, many educators have started incorporating graphic novels into their curriculum. They believe that comics are just as valuable as traditional literature and can help students develop critical thinking skills. Comic books cover a wide range of genres such as superhero adventures, biographies, historical fiction, and even non-fiction.

The Literary Merit of Comics

The literary merit of comics has also been recognized by organizations such as the Pulitzer Prize Board. In 1992, Maus by Art Spiegelman won the Pulitzer Prize for its powerful portrayal of the Holocaust. This recognition helped legitimize comics as a serious art form and put to rest any doubts about their literary merit.

Argument against Comics as Real Books

On the other hand, some people argue that comics are not real books because they rely heavily on visual elements. They argue that the use of pictures makes it easier for readers to understand the story, which diminishes the value of reading comprehension.

Additionally, some critics believe that comics are primarily aimed at children and young adults and lack the depth and complexity of traditional literature. They argue that comic books are nothing more than cheap entertainment and don’t deserve to be considered real books.

The Stigma Against Comics

The stigma against comics has been around since their inception. In the 1950s, comic books were banned in schools and libraries due to concerns about their impact on children. Even today, many people still view comics as lowbrow entertainment instead of a serious art form.


So, is a comic a real book? The answer is yes, but also no.

It ultimately depends on how you define a book. If you define it as any written material bound together, then comics certainly qualify. However, if you believe that books should rely solely on written words to convey meaning, then you may not consider comics as real books.

Regardless of your stance, it’s important to recognize that comics are an art form with its own unique set of storytelling rules. Whether we call them books or not doesn’t diminish their value or importance in our culture.