The Much Needed Return of The Illustrated Novel

As a follow up to my previous article about the need for new adventure novels, I’m here to advocate for the return of the illustrated novel. If I had two major qualms with the landscape of contemporary commercial fiction, it would be the decline of sophisticated prose and the lack of lush illustrations.

Illustrated novels for adults were present in Western Civilization during the 18th and 19th centuries. In the 20th century, illustrations fell into decline with the rise of film and photography. We had a short, marvelous stint with the magazines and pulp novels of the ’50s until we reached our current comic and picture book landscape.

It appears that traditional publishers aren’t interested in illustrated novels so it’s up to indie-people to make it happen. Illustrated novels are returning via crowdfunding with projects like Beehive Books Illuminated Editions and Ricardo Delgado’s Dracula of Transylvania.

I believe that we are in a new golden age of illustration, with a wide range of styles, mediums, and techniques that were never possible before. For the sake of artistic evolution we should combine these illustrations with prose. Readers are now more visually literate than they’ve ever been and visual communication is becoming the norm.

I wanted to highlight this new development because the illustrated novel is a unique art form. As fellow comic readers will no doubt attest, powerful images combined with words add another dimension to the reading experience.

If you’re longing for the return of rich prose combined with gorgeous illustrations, know that you’re not alone. In 2018, I asked where are all the cartoons for adults and now we’re in the middle of a mature animated renaissance. Now I’m asking for the return of fully illustrated literary novels. I look forward to seeing who answers the call.

As a follow up to my previous article about the need for new adventure novels, I’m here to advocate forCOMICONRead More

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