I have an observation that I find continually reaffirms itself. If you study man-made concoction long enough, you will find something to change. It was an unwritten rule from my agency, and design firm days that you should never leave a presentation image up for more than 5 minutes or somebody will find something wrong with it. With a few rare exceptions, that is a good rule of thumb. Unfortunately, when you are working on a project that takes a year to complete you find yourself looking back at past decisions that will ultimately have to be incorporated into a finished work some time in the future. There is no guarantee that a year from now I will like what I see. Already, despite the fact that I labored long and hard over my eight character designs—posting nothing without lengthy inspection and scrutiny— there are changes I know I will have to make. And then, there’s that title. I’ve decided to tweak that, too.
Graphic novel. If you set up a Google Alert for the term, (in quotes) you will get a fair amount of daily chatter. The kinds of books that crop up are more likely to be titles like Habibi, or Blankets, Watchmen, Maus, a Kickstarter project, and that sort of thing. You don’t seem to get a lot of discussion, these days, on whether or not the term is a good one or not. Most people in the biz and in the library system have accepted the graphic novel as probably a longer form than a standard “serial” comic, and whether or not it is a compilation of several “serial” comics under one story arc into a single, bound novel, it probably steers toward older readers with story lines that are not conventional comic book themes. Since many graphic novels are one-off, stand-alone works, this can be another differentiating feature. I emphasize the work probably because there are always exceptions. With that being said, there is still a certain pretentiousness that accompanies the term through no fault of its own. Some people will use the term because it helps define the book as of the aforementioned types. Others will use the term in an attempt to ascribe some sort of weightiness or affectation of greater worthiness over comic book fare. Alas, there is nothing you can do about that. When I use the term it is to let people know that this is a long form comic.
With all that said, at this point, sticking”The Graphic Novel” into the title of my book now strikes me as dumb, so I’m taking it out. The new title (which I’m still considering a working title) is simply, LIGHTSTREAM Moment of Truth. You can call it a graphic novel if you want and I will still refer to it that way. You can call it sequential art storytelling. You can call it an illustrated novel. You can call it whatever you want, but in the final analysis it’s a story. It’s a book.
I’ve made this subtle change on most of the postings (except for the concept art on my web site, I hope to get to that this week). Changes, changes, changes.