Writing: Graphic Novel vs. Novel

After finishing the dialogue for my graphic novel, Hollow, (YAY!) I started to think about how different it is to write for a comic book then it is to write for a regular story. I found it amazing how different comics can look based solely on amount and type of dialogue. For example, some of the original X-man comics had a TON of writing in them, and most of the dialogue ended with exclamation points, even if they were simple sentences. The other extreme would be Marvel’s “Nuff Said” theme which involved several issues from Spiderman to X-Men where there was NO dialogue to challenge the artists to tell the story through visual means only.

So as I worked on changing a short story to the graphic novel medium in Hollow, I was amazed at the amount of options I had as a writer, because the artwork used can tell so much on its own.

When reading comics/graphic novels, do you find you prefer more dialogue or less? Sound effects or not? More narrative or let the art speak for itself?

PS- More artwork coming from Hollow next week as we prepare for its release on October 1st! Cover will be coming next month!!


  1. I once listened to an interview with Stan Lee when he was writing fifty to sixty comic books a month. He’d give the artists a general direction then fill in the dialog a couple days before the deadline. The artists’ work didn’t always tell enough of the story so much of his dialog was exposition. Looking back, the dialog never felt quite right.

    In my unqualified opinion, the dialog needs to follow the intensity of the scene. More dialog and narrative during slower parts, sparse dialog during high action scenes. Similar to full novels, but of course graphic novels get the cool sounds effects. SNINGT!!!

    Can’t wait to see more of the art next week.

  2. Anonymous

    i like a balance of dialogue and graphics, where one not only complements the other, but completes the other. i think that when they richly meld, they make not only the story fluid and fluent, but round out the experience of the story in the whole.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.