Are Graphic Novels and Comics More Dangerous than Prose Novels?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s lead story looks at how graphic novelists are pushing boundaries and challenging taboos in the Middle East. In one case, that of Magdy El Shafee’s groundbreaking Metro, the Egyptian courts objected to its depiction of corruption and criminality, fined the author and publisher, and had the book pulled from store shelves.

Surely, this is not an isolated case, as censorship is rife throughout the Middle East. However, as demonstrated in the past, such as the violent protests that followed the publication of the controversial Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad (a topic addressed by novelist Sherry Jones here last year), graphic art has at least as much power to rile people up as do novels (The Satanic Verses, The Jewel of Medina). I wonder, though, in the long run since comics and graphic novels are visual and often deliberately pitched at a broader and frequently younger demographic, if they have the potential to be more provocative — or in the eyes of some governments, dangerous — than prose novels?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.