Canada Reads, the nation's "Battle of the Books", has come in with a disappointing start for me. 4 of the 5 panelists voted Jeff Lemire's "Essex County" out after one round. Why? Because it is not a real novel - it has more pictures than words - you can read it in an hour. Graphic novels have the literary equivilance of a twitter news feed.
I agree that novels and graphic novels are different mediums, but Essex County was on the polls for a reason, and the Canadian public voted it onto the list of top 5 Canadian novels for a reason.
Sara Quin was the panelist who was defending Essex County, and I agree with her statement, "I'm disappointed, but not surprised".
I usually don't like ranting on my blog, but it has been my dream since childhood to become a comics creator. I'm struggling, like so many others with the same dream, to tell stories in a medium I love so that I can share it with the world. Well, at least the part of the world that will have it ;). I think that no matter how you choose to tell your story - whether it be film, poetry, painting, word of mouth, graphic novel or written novel - every medium should be respected if they have content of value.
If you're going to hold a competition with the subtitle "Battle of the Books", and there are both written and graphic novels in the running, the judges shouldn't be allowed to dismiss one over the other based on how many words the book contains if the words chosen are meaningful.
But this is just my opinion! Here is the livestream so that you can have your own: Canada Reads Feb 7 2011