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Graphic Novels & Zines

Sophie Graphic Novel - Graphic Novels & Zines

Graphic Novels

A graphic novel is a type of book which illustrates a type of story which can be both fiction and nonfiction. There are many different categories such as Manga, Superhero, Personal Narratives, Non- fiction and graphic medicine which use the format of a graphic novel to tell a sequential story. Their first main commerical success as a type of publication came about during the 1980’s, seeing the birth of Marvel’s Graphic Novel line and Art Speigelman’s first volume of the renound ‘Maus’.


Graphic Novels most commonly are binded using either a saddle stitching technique or perfect binding if they have many more pages. Saddle stitching is where the centre of the pages are fixed together using staples and commonly used for graphic novels which have under 32 pages. Novels which are thicker in size are suited to perfect binding which collate signatures together and are glued to a study spine. After binding the next process is called Trimming where the page edges are trimmed down to form a neat edge. Depending on what type of binding you will need to set up margins on both the right and left hand sides to make room for the trim.

Paper Types

Choosing paper for a graphic novel can determine the print finish and the thickness of the overall book. A couple of things you must decide is if you want it to be printed full colour and how large the print volume is. Graphic novels will commonly use a thick stock for the cover with a thinner stock for the interior. An example of paper stock chosen for a graphic novel cover is between 60lb to 90lb. For the interior a 40lb or 50lb gloss or matte stock is commonly chosen. Some types of graphic novels will opt for hard covers, but this option is only possible if there are a minimum amount of pages inside and if the book is bound in a particular way such as perfect binding.

comic binding - Graphic Novels & Zines
graphic novel paper - Graphic Novels & Zines


A Zine is a small-circulation type of magazine comprising of text and images traditionally created using a photocopier. The concept first started in the US as this is where the first Photocopier was made. This type of publication usually focuses on a single topic and functions as a affordable, fast circulating medium of information.

Through history, Zines have had an important connection with Science Fiction, but also have roots in with the punk movement in the 1970’s, where the cheap way of reproducing photocopying meant that bands could easily send out numerous copies themselves and cheaply. ‘Punk Zines’ first emerged in the UK and the United States, and by the end of the 70s, spread to many other countries.

Printing & Binding

Zines are usually printed with an offset press and are commonly bound using a saddle stitching technique. If the zine is more than 40 pages long then perfect binding is the preferred binding type as it is a sturdier option. The zine, once perfect bound will have more of a book-like appearance.

Depending on the size of your spine, this can determine which binding for your book. If the spine is thin and less than 3mm then it is wise to chose wire stitching as the surface area is too small to glue in with perfect binding. If the spine is wide enough it is also possible to place text on the spine.

open flap book 02 - Graphic Novels & Zines

Paper Types

There a variety of different paper types you can choose for your zine including, newsprint, glossy, matte and recycled. Choosing the right type, weight and colour can all have an effect on the quality and appearance of your final product. If you creating a large volume or if your adhering to a budget then it might be wise to chose a light weight paper such as newsprint. If you are intending to send zines out to a wide audience then you might want to check with mailing costs for particular weights of paper.

Zine header - Graphic Novels & Zines