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The term graphic novel spread at the end of the last century (Source: morebyless/Flickr)

Graphic novels: the literary genre in fashion

Graphic story fans are in luck. In recent years the bookshelves of stores and stalls have filled with works which could well be the older brother of the traditional comics. These are the graphic novels, a genre made popular at the end of the past century which is now triumphing in our country and around half the world thanks to its different subjects and focuses.


From adventures reinvented with the zombies or robots of television successes to vindictive biographies, reports or essays, we make a selection of the most modern and representative titles of graphic novels.

Cómic y novela gráfica no es lo mismo (Fuente: Jessica Abel/Wikimedia)
Comic is not the same as graphic novel (Source: Jessica Abel/Wikimedia)

First of all, although the terms comic and graphic novel are often used indistinctly, the experts assure us that there are differences between them. For example, graphic novels are generally complete works and a little longer than comics. They also usually deal with different subjects and are aimed mainly at adults. According to the Spanish story writer Paco Roca, graphic novels have “many more pages, a different narrative and a better cover of different subjects and graphic focuses”.

Una viñeta de The Walking Dead (Fuente: Whplibrary)
A comic strip of The Walking Dead (Source: Whplibrary)

The most televised walking dead

Behind the famous The Walking Dead there is a whole world of comics and graphic novels. Since 2003, the American Robert Kirkman has been publishing a series that has yet to see its end. In the past October, the sixth season of the graphic novel published by Planeta Cómic was launched in Spanish. It is currently amongst the most widely sold and is expected to be a resounding success at Christmas.

Interior de la adaptación a novela gráfica de El diario de Ana Frank publicada el pasado octubre (Fuente: Megustaleer
Interior of the graphic novel adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank published in October (Source: Megustaleer)

The Diary of Anne Frank, in pictures

Also recently published in Spanish and in the form of a graphic novel is The Diary of Anne Frank, adapted by Ari Folman and David Polonsky. Now the story of a young thirteen-year-old who experienced the Nazi horror and barbarism while she hid from the Gestapo in an attic in the Holland of her birth, has also passed over to this successful genre. A new chance to see this spine-chilling story first-hand.


Varias historietas de la antología española sobre novela gráfica Panorama (Fuente: Astiberri)
Several short stories of the Panorama Spanish anthology on graphic novel (Source: Astiberri)

Panorama: this is the Spanish graphic novel today

The well-known comic scriptwriter Santiago García in 2013 published his anthology Panorama, a compendium of extraordinary short stories that explained the new Spanish comic. He was backed by the greatest representatives of the graphic novel, like Paco Alcázar, Carlos de Diego and Javier Olivares, and also by names of new authors who have always loved the comic strips. His English edition of Spanish Fever was nominated for one of the Eisner Awards 2017, considered the Oscars of the comic world.

A picture of the graphic novel Lola Vendetta, más vale Lola que mal acompañada (Source: Megustaleer)
Una imagen de la novela gráfica Lola Vendetta, más vale Lola que mal acompañada (Fuente: Megustaleer)

Lola Vendetta, a feminist hitwoman

The graphic novel by Raquel Riba Rossy presents the adventures of Lola Vendetta, a young woman who fights against the injustices of modern society. Armed with a katana, Lola also uses satire, for instance, to face up to the men who do not respect her. Her story also has a lot to do with her search for herself after starting a revealing and amusing stage of spinsterhood.

Comic strips of ‘The Dark Tower’ (Source: Megustaleer)
Viñetas de ‘La torre oscura’ (Fuente: Megustaleer)

Adventures in Stephen King’s dark tower

This is another of the recent novelties triumphing in graphic novel format. The mythical series by the American Stephen King has also been adapted to this genre. The main character, Roland Deschain, is a gunmen descending from a whole clan of knights who will have to face evil in spectacular battles of mud and blood. A saga that was also seen in the cinema this summer.

Interior of the successful Maus explaining life during the Holocaust (Source: Megustaleer)
Interior de la existosa Maus relatando la vida durante el Holocausto (Fuente: Megustaleer)

Maus, the Pulitzer novel

The American short story writer Art Spiegelman, the son of a Jewish family of Polish origin, in this graphic novel talks of the experiences of his father, who survived a Nazi concentration camp. He uses animals to represent the different ethnic groups: the Jews are mice, he depicts the Germans as cats and the rest come in the form of pigs. His originality and mastery in telling such a spine-chilling story has made it the first and only graphic novel awarded a Pulitzer Prize, in 1992, and it still surprises today.

La historia de la enfermedad mental contada en la novela Arrugas (Fuente: Astiberri)
The story of mental illness recounted in the novel Arrugas (Source: Astiberri)

Arrugas, A story about Alzheimer’s disease

The artist Paco Roca tells the story of the life of a person with Alzheimer’s disease in an old people’s home. This is not a tear-jerking work, but rather reveals a reality and focuses on the firm objective of making the reader reflect. Presented in 2007, it was very successful and was awarded the National Comic Prize 2008, among other awards. Three years later, the story reached the big screen.

Una viñeta de Los vagabundos de la chatarra ambientada en Barcelona (Fuente: Norma Editorial)
A comic strip of Los vagabundos de la chatarra staged in Barcelona

Social critique: Los vagabundos de la chatarra

This is an example of a journalistic graphic novel. In it, the writer Jorge Carrión and the artist Sagar Forniés deal with the world of scrap in Barcelona. To do so, they focus on the hidden reality of the city for one year to achieve a story about the recycling of metal, an urban portrait of precariousness, a tourist counter guide and an essay on the miseries of the Catalan capital.

El piloto Poe Dameron de la Guerra de la Galaxias, en acción (Fuente:
The pilot Poe Dameron from Star Wars, in action (Source:

Star Wars and its graphic saga

The Star Wars universe also has its own particular graphic novels, from the more classical takes of Marvel to the new editions that hit the bookshelves each month. One of the most successful latest productions is the work of Charles Soule, which has Poe Dameron and his team of expert pilots as the main characters.

Batman, Superman y demás superhéroes también son protagonistas de los superventas (Fuente: Marnix de Vries/Flickr)
Other superheroes also feature in the super sales (Source: Marnix de Vries/Flickr)

The classics never die

The superheroes also stand out on the bookshelves of graphic novels. For instance, the work of DC Comics Batman: The Killing Joke written by Alan Moore, with drawings by Brian Bolland and John Higgings, is still a bestseller. Batman Vs Superman: The Greatest Battles y Watchmen too, another one from Alan Moore.

The superheroes of Marvel also have a prominent place. Civil War by  Mark Millar is a graphic novel that the lovers of the rivalry between Iron Man and Captain America just cannot miss. In it we will see what places are given to other great names like Spiderman, The Avengers, The Four Fantastic or the X Patrol.

Por Aroa Fernández