A brief History of the Graphic Novel

Rafal Banasiak, Theodor Wyeld

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The main visual device used in a comic book or graphic novel is a sequential array of images. As a visual communicative device, the sequential array of images has a long history. We see it in prehistoric cave art, the wall art of ancient Egyptian tombs, comic strips in newspapers, and most recently the digitally promulgated graphic novel, among other instances. As a visual narrative it is both impactful and highly recognisable. This is because it reduces the amount of information needed to communicate a succinct message using abstract iconography. This iconography evolved over the millennia until it formed its own lexicon and lingua franca within its media genre. Most recently, its conventions can now be relied on to communicate complex stories using digital media and the internet. This paper reviews the literature on the origins of the comic book art form, its current state and possible future directions. It provides an argument for the efficiency and enjoyment of this art form as a method for communicating information visually.//////document is a 'live' template and already defines the components of your paper title, text, heads, etc. in its style sheet.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformation Visualisation - Biomedical Visualization, Visualisation on Built and Rural Environments and Geometric Modelling and Imaging, IV 2018
EditorsJoao Moura Pires, Nuno Miguel Soares Datia, Giuseppe Polese, Marco Temperini, Filippo Sciarrone, Michele Risi, Gilles Venturini, Tania Di Mascio, Rocco Zaccagnino, Vincenzo Deufemia, Delfina Malandrino, Paloma Diaz, Antonio Fernandez Anta, Ebad Banissi, Theodor G. Wyeld, Muhammad Sarfraz, Fatma Bouali, Mark W. McK. Bannatyne, Fragkiskos Papadopoulo, Ugo Erra, Veronica Rossano, Anna Ursyn, Alfredo Cuzzocrea, Rita Francese
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5386-7202-0
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2018
Event2018 22nd International Conference on Information Visualisation: Biomedical visualisation, visualisation on built and rural environments & geometric modelling and imaging - Fisciano, Italy
Duration: 10 Jul 201813 Jul 2018
Conference number: 22nd
https://doi.org/10.1109/IV45327.2018 (Conference link)

Publication series

NameInformation Visualisation - Biomedical Visualization, Visualisation on Built and Rural Environments and Geometric Modelling and Imaging, IV 2018


Conference2018 22nd International Conference on Information Visualisation
Abbreviated titleIV 2018
Internet address


  • Comic
  • Graphic novel
  • Sequential art
  • Cognitive load
  • Iconography
  • Conventions
  • Visual narrative


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