What are they? Graphic novels are a format, not a genre. They are narratives, told in comic book style. They are published as a book, as opposed to a collection of comic strips which have been previously published as a periodical serial. Graphic novels tell a story using sequential illustrations. Unlike comic books, they are published in book format, can be fiction or non-fiction and usually tell a stand-alone story with a complex plot. Some graphic novels bring together a series of comics and are sometimes conceived as novels with similar features such as character development and multiple story lines. The term 'graphic novel' was coined by Will Eisner to distinguish his book A Contract with God (1978) from collections of newspaper comic strips. He described graphic novels as consisting of 'sequential art' — a series of illustrations which, when viewed in order, tell a story. Will Eisner is seen as the founder of graphic novels, and the industry award is named in his honour. Some libraries and readers are calling them 'graphics' or 'comics' rather than 'graphic novels' to be more inclusive of non-fiction.