For those of you who don't know what I am talking about (and it isn't pornographic), A graphic novel is a type of comic book, usually with a lengthy and complex storyline similar to those of novels, and often aimed at mature audiences. The term also encompasses comic short story anthologies, and in some cases bound collections of previously published comic book series (wikipedia).
It amazes me how little I knew of such things when I was growing up. To my parents (and thus to me), these were "boy" things; not for little girls. My favorite show for the last few years has been "Smallville," and even after researching and learning so much about this complex phenomena (because in my opinion, that is what it has become) I feel I know so little. The pop art movement, combined with the influx of graphic novels, has really changed our society (like how there is a "comic book" setting on my Photo Booth application).
Having watched Persepolis, and V for Vendetta a few weeks back, I am astounded at the universal messages sent through these graphic novels. Read one. Watch one. I dare you to come away from one still thinking they are just "comics" little boys like to buy, sell, trade or read. There is so much more to discover. One only needs to take the first step... it is a part of our Visual Culture, after all!