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Graphic Novels: It's Cool to Read Comics

abstract:It's not all superheros and biff bam boom. "The best graphic novels outstrip much contemporary fiction in their wit, inventiveness and sheer fun."  So says Sam Leith in his article in the Arts.telegraph.uk 

article:

November 15, 2003
— The view that comics are a marginal, cretinized form of entertainment suitable only for children or for the arrested adolscent—is way off.

 

Take a look at some of the subject matter: (click on the author name for an article; click on the title for Amazon book information)

 

Chris Ware

Jimmy Corrigan won the Guardian First Book Award in 2001. "...studded with small, precise panels that regularly expand to reveal stunning draftmanship, Jimmy's inability to interact with the world makes for a humorous tragedy worthy of comparison to Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov, (about a man who cannot find a reason to get out of bed). 

 

Joe Sacco

Palestine is a non-fiction comic book that is a polemical journalistic account of the time he spent living in the Occupied Territories. Introduction by Edward Said.

 

Art Spiegelman

Maus: A Survivor's Tale / My Father Bleeds History (two volumes, 1987 and 1992) dramatizes Spiegelman's father's experience of the Holocaust. The first volume won the Pulitzer Prize and both volumes have just been reissued in a single volume.

 

Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez

As long ago as the early 1980s, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez were writing Love & Rockets, a hip, digressive, complicated tales of teenage life and love in New Mexico.

 

Martin Rowson

The Wasteland, a comic adaptation of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land is a witty piece of poetry criticism disguised as a series of Eliot in-jokes.

 

Alan Moore

The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore showcases what makes superheroes appealing "with a progressive sensibility—something that can be retrograde and avant-garde at the same time. So you get the best of what comics were, sort of distilled in some way to make the fuel for what comics will be."

 

Neil Gaiman

The sixth book in the acclaimed The Sandman series, Fables and Reflections is a collection of short tales exploring historical figures from Augustus Caesar to Marco Polo, from The Arabian Nights to Revolutionary France.

 

What about Manga? Commonly misnamed "Japanese comics," manga is a genre onto itself and ranges in style and content from broad, barn-yard humor to nuanced philosophical tales.

By Paula Shackleton

 

 

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