FAQ and History

Elite is a graphic novel that I wrote and illustrated for my senior thesis at Harvard University. Because it was the first of its kind, it had a few bumps and admisintrative problems along the way, but was finally completed in April of 2010. The reason I wanted to create a graphic novel was because I am very interested in the idea of visual language. I originally wanted to have the novel have no words and communicate only in images, but that was a little too hard for my first try at this. So don't worry, there is dialogue.

Elite follows the fates of a group of superheroes who have their world turned upside down. After the supers make a grave mistake, they lose the trust of the people they are protecting. They spend the rest of the novel trying to rectify this mistake and dealing with the consequences of their actions.

I actually am not a big comic book person. It's not because I don't like them, I'm just not very well read. Most of my inspirations came from cartoons, anime, and video games. A few of my favs that I really pulled from were: Batman the animated series, Gundam Wing, Teen Titans, Battle Beasts and others I can't think of right now. I have a few homages to Mortal Kombat and Sin City, let's see if you can spot them.

How it was made
The project was completed entirely in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I used pictures I took or found to make photo collages for the backgrounds in Photoshop, and then drew my characters in Illustrator and threw them on top.

What's the difference between graphic novels and comic books?
Because I've been asked this question so many times, I figured I'd answer it here. While I'm sure that some critiques out there are going to fry me, the main difference between the two is that there isn't one. Graphic novels are comic books, and comic books are graphic novels. This is because the few rules that define these two mediums are not always true. Let me break it down into three points: length, binding, and content.

The first difference between graphic novels (GNs) and comic books (CBs) is the length of the story. GNs are usually one shot stories that are finished once you reach the end of the book. CBs tend to be serial stories where each CB you read is another chapter or part of a larger story. This brings me to the second difference, binding. CBs have staples, GNs do not. Because CBs have the potential of much longer stories, lots of money is not spent on binding each part of a series. CBs are made of lighter paper which is usually stapled. GNs are seen as more of a one time thing, so they are bound in hard or soft cover, because it is the only one you're going to get. This leads up nicely to me third point, content (and audience). Because CBs and stapled and GNs are bound, the unsaid message is that CBs are cheap and for kids, while GNs are much more expensive and geared toward an adult audience. This thought process is continued in the themes of the books where CBs are written for kids and GNs are not. The idea is that since your kid is buying the $2 comic, the CB will have kid friendly violence with lots of kick-butt action. The GN is the super arsty adult themed psychological-rape-incest-violence piece that you've been saving up to buy for your collection.

There is much much more that I could say, but when all else fails, the unspoken rule is reputation. This is seen in plot conventions, where because of the traditional action hero theme in comics, if you writing on superheroes, it's a comic book. This is because adults can only read 'serious' things. CBs are seen as unsophisticated kid books, while GNs are mature and artsy.

To me (and according to some things I've read), those are the differences, but almost any graphic novel or comic book is an exception to these rules. GNs are not always bound, and can be kid friendly, some CBs are definitely not for kids, etc. These rules are also only American comic rules. France has only one word for CBs and GNs, blurring the line even more. And Japan, don't even get me started on Japanese manga rules, it'll make your head spin.

But wait, you just said that Elite is a graphic novel?!
I know, I know. That was sort of the point of my project. I made a comic novel (or a graphic book if you will) to blur the line even more. Elite is sort of parading as a superhero comic book, but then takes a turn to get a little more messy. That said, it is a one shot story, but in its printed form it's bound with a staple...

Can I buy a copy?
Yes! I love you! Shoot me an email!