By Roland Mann
June 12, 2012
While academically nearly everyone gives Will Eisner credit for producing the first “Graphic Novel” as well as coining the term, I find it odd that none of them, Weiner included, mention the Marvel graphic novels, which—I suspect—was the real introduction to the format for most fans. In the same irritating fashion as the “literary” publishing world, it seems academics are quick to ignore the things that sell well and are popular with fans and instead focus on the things that struggle to operate in the black (if at all).
I don’t want to give you the impression I don’t think Eisner deserves this credit. He does! He was a pioneer and his work is studied by many professionals today (including me). I simply think that most fans were introduced to “graphic novels” not by Eisner, but by the Marvel line of graphic novels. Additionally, I think most non-traditional comic fans were introduced to graphic novels via Pulitzer Prize winning Maus, which probably did more for the format than any other single publication or event. Weiner also emphasizes the important of Maus.