Letters: Netanyahu Suspends Segregated Bus Program, Graphic Novels NPR's Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish respond to listener letters about the origins of the graphic novel. Also a correction in an interview Wednesday about a scrapped plan to segregate Israeli buses.

Letters: Netanyahu Suspends Segregated Bus Program, Graphic Novels

Letters: Netanyahu Suspends Segregated Bus Program, Graphic Novels

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NPR's Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish respond to listener letters about the origins of the graphic novel. Also a correction in an interview Wednesday about a scrapped plan to segregate Israeli buses.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now a correction and a clarification, and we'll start with the correction. Yesterday, we aired an interview with Jerusalem Post reporter Lahav Harkov. That conversation was about a proposal to prevent Palestinians from riding the same West-Bank-bound buses as Israeli passengers.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Some of you took issue with this exchange.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

SIEGEL: This is a case of Palestinians who have jobs in Israel going home in the same bus on the West Bank as settlers. How common is that degree of closeness between settlers and their Palestinian neighbors? I thought the highways even were separated on the West Bank.

LAHAV HARKOV: Well, it's interesting. There are highways that Israelis can't go on, but there aren't really highways that Palestinians can't go on so that the separation is usually the opposite of what people might think it would be.

SIEGEL: Edmund Tadros of Dryden, N.Y., is one listener who wrote in to say that there are roads that Palestinians cannot go on.

CORNISH: He's right. On some roads in the West Bank, the Israeli military forbids Palestinian cars, including some segments of major arteries.

SIEGEL: On Tuesday, I interviewed cartoonist Jules Feiffer, and in introducing him, I said that Feiffer, who is now in his 80s, works in a genre that didn't exist when he started out - that genre being the graphic novel. Well, that didn't sit right with some of you who were certain that the graphic novel has been around longer than Fieffer's drawings.

CORNISH: So we called up Doctor Hugo Frey. He wrote a book called "The Graphic Novel." It came out last year with Cambridge University Press. Here's his definition of graphic novel.

HUGO FREY: Essentially, graphic novels use the format of a comic strip, but they address almost completely opposite topics - so life stories, historical issues, maybe also international, political reportage.

SIEGEL: And, Frey tells us, the first work to explicitly be called a graphic novel was "A Contract With God," a 1978 work by Will Eisner whom Jules Feiffer had worked for, actually.

FREY: Will Eisner is a comic strip legend, and by the late '70s, he decided he needs to call what he's doing something different to comics. He calls it a graphic novel because it's dealing with serious historical topics.

SIEGEL: But Doctor Frey does point out there are works that fit his definition that predate Eisner's '78 "Contract With God."

CORNISH: So you could say it's a sketchy area. But we learned something, so thanks for writing, and keep the letters coming. Send us a note through our website. Click on contact at the very bottom of npr.org.

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