Comics and Novelization : A Literary History of Bandes Dessinées book cover
1st Edition

Comics and Novelization
A Literary History of Bandes Dessinées

  • Available for pre-order on April 14, 2023. Item will ship after May 5, 2023
ISBN 9781032436647
May 5, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
256 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book opens a novel perspective on comics and literature interactions. It claims that the two artistic media have always maintained a mutual emulation, for as long as they have coexisted in media culture. To demonstrate this, the present research does not focus on literary adaptations in comics form, but rather on a literary corpus that remains virtually unexplored: comics-related novels. The purpose of this volume is to inventory French comics-related novels and to study them. Within the limits of the French-speaking world, this book pieces together a literary history of bande dessinée through its novels, from the 19th to 21th centuries. Whereas the comic strip – including the aptly named "graphic novel" – has sometimes been regarded as the disciple of an unsurpassable literary model, do these under-studied adaptations in novel form not rather indicate a mutual relationship, or even an emulation, between the two media?

Table of Contents

Introduction. Comics-related novels

Comics and literature

A novel perspective on comics and adaptations

Comics novelization and the visual turn of literary writing

Two adaptation processes generating comics-related novels

Towards a literary history of bande dessinée

Chapter 1. Textual margins of early comics

How to verbalize a picture story?

Close reading: Voyages and Adventures of Dr Festus

Captions rewritten as a bridge over redrawn illustrations

Big Little Books and the French book market: a missed rendezvous

From captioned picture stories to serials-under-images

Mickey et Minnie, a precursor to the modern French junior novelization

Chapter 2. Enunciative issues of comics verbalizations

The literary adventures of Tintin

An issue of enunciative responsibility

Literary initiations to a visual universe

Close reading: The Adventures of Tintin

When comics fans write literary panels

From ekphrasis to fanfiction

Chapter 3. Why self-novelize a comic strip?

The illusion of a deeper reading experience

Comics artists and literary illustration

A logic of supplement

Close reading: Acknowledgment of Murders, Ric Hochet’s First Case

From graphic to literary novels

A logic of substitution

Chapter 4. The comics heroes’ childhood told to children

How to relate the past of comics heroes

The literary prequels of French comics characters

Multiple childhoods of a Belgian-Japanese comics heroine

Close reading: The Froth of Dawn, the First Adventure of Yoko Tsuno

Comics-related French junior novelizations

When a comics character writes his own autobiography

Conclusion. Reading novels as comics novelizations

Comics on the threshold of literary texts

Comics as a frame for multimodal storytelling

Comics in the factory of literary writing

Reading novels as comics scripts


Comics-related fiction

Other primary sources

Secondary criticism


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Benoît Glaude is a researcher at UGent and a visiting lecturer at UCLouvain, Belgium. He has published several books about French-speaking comics, including his PhD on comics dialogues (La Bande dialoguée, Presses universitaires François-Rabelais, 2019), as well as a volume on novelization in children’s literature (Les Novellisations pour la jeunesse, coedited with Laurent Déom, Academia, 2020).


"The relationship between comics and literature is not a one-way traffic: literature is not only adapted in graphic novel format, it also owns a lot to the world of comics, appropriating its forms and themes in many ways. Relying on an strong theoretical framework and robust case studies, Benoît Glaude’s trail-blazing study discloses this less known but vital dimension of intermedial connections in modern transmedia culture."

-Jan Baetens, KULeuven, Belgium.

"The meticulous research and clever thinking shown in this new work represents some of the most influential scholarship in the last decade. Benoît Glaude is a scholar of the highest order and his nuanced treatment is rigorous and powerful."

-Hugo Frey, University of Chichester, UK.

"Up until now, novelizations had attracted little academic interest. Benoît Glaude’s compelling study shows the interest of looking into this little-known corpus of texts adapting comics into literature. Nourished by fascinating case studies, his book considerably renews our approach to transmedia cultures and opens up a field of primary importance in our understanding of the history of the ninth art."

-Sylvain Lesage, Université de Lille, France.

"This remarkable work of scholarship brings a new perspective and sharp analytical insights to the study of transmedia adaptation, while providing a master class in the close reading of some famous comics alongside the fascinating and little-known novels that they have engendered."

-Ann Miller, University of Leicester, UK.