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I have been watching TV series (Forever), And there was the following dialog:

  • Lucas: Isn't ordinary death exciting enough for you?
  • Henry: Perhaps you've become desensitized with all your little comics.
  • Lucas: Graphic novels, Doc.

later in the same episode, the two terms were used by different people a lot of times to described the following:

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My question: Should I call them comics or Graphic books?

Note: I checked some dictionaries, it seems the difference is the size of the story.

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within this context

a comic or comic book

would usually be magazine-style and be stapled or similar.

Whereas

a graphic novel

would look like a book and be bound like a book.

The differences between a comic, a comic book and a graphic novel are essentially going to be the binding which will be determined by the number of pages and the episodic nature of the first two.

The difference between a graphic novel and a comic book is that the former is not periodical whereas the latter is.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/graphic%20novel

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/comic%20book

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  • 2
    I would add that the original dialogue is a bit of humor, playing on the idea that "comics" are popularly regarded as a juvenile pastime, so adult fans prefer the term "graphic novels" which connotes intellectual rigor or artistic merit. – relaxing Mar 17 '17 at 15:58

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