Don't confuse graphic fiction with comic books. Although both use illustrations to tell a story, graphic fiction might be considered an elevated version, or comics all grown up.
Manga is Japanese graphic fiction. Anime is the movie version of manga. Our younger daughter (mid-twenties) and grandchildren are happy participants in the great love affair between American youth and Japanese culture. They devour illustrated fiction appropriate to their reading levels and ages. Some manga is more like the classic comic book, while other stories may be dark and complex, geared toward mature readers.
Family friend Jason Salas creates graphic fiction in comic strip style, with two to five panels telling a story. One series, Perk at Work, follows quirky characters who work at or frequent a coffee shop.
This is all to say that I am familiar with graphic fiction. I don't seek it out, but it frequently finds its way into my reading. I am not a snob about the art form, seeing both its appeal and value.
When I saw graphic fiction featured in the March/April 2017 issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, I was eager to see what an artist and writer could do with the mystery fiction short story format.
Dale Berry's Dead Air follows a radio disc jockey as he takes a listener's phone call. The illustrations are vital to the tale, creating atmosphere, and also giving the big reveal at the end. The story is brief, so if I say too much, I'll give away the mystery. I'll just tell you, whether you are a graphic fiction fan or not, this story is worth reading.
You can learn about Berry's process in combining writing a mystery fiction story while using illustration.
If you prefer your fiction with less visual art and more prose, visit the website Trigger Warning to read short fiction with one illustration.
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