Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Graphic by Nature: Some Illustrated Books for Real Live Grown-Ups

ISBN: 140123755X Published: Vertigo, 05/15/2012 Pages: 144
Language: English
Like Hank, I too am a nerd. One who will extoll to you the virtues of both hipster footwear (does anyone else really want a pair of these?) and decidedly un-hip literature (let's talk about how good Sisterhood Everlasting, the final installment of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, was). While I'm happy to boast (humblebrag or otherwise) about the things of which I have a comprehensive knowledge (all of Sarah Dessen's novels and the manner in which geodes are formed, for starters), let's also consider this blog a vehicle for me to catch up on things at which I've failed. This time around, I'd like to discuss graphic novels & comics.

Rarely do you see a classic literature connoisseur dressing up as Captain Ahab -- I mean, if you're out there, you go, Moby Dick fan! But in the realm of graphic novels, fans are more than willing to integrate their favorite novels into their lives. You've got comic-cons on one end of the spectrum and themed pint glasses on the other. There is headwear that can turn you into your favorite My Little Pony and there are plenty of blogs, magazines, and forums that will let you discover and discuss to your heart's content. When people talk about a comic book culture, they're not exaggerating, and when you're a total newb, it's hard to know exactly where one starts. Personally, my aim isn't to become the foremost expert on Batgirl, but I don't want to go mixing up Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent -- awkward!

I might be in the minority but I'd love nothing more than to enter this world of pictures and text and come out with a community, whatever that entails. Maybe it's just finding a few Chapel Hill Comics or Ultimate Comics employees who are willing to discuss what's new. Maybe it's debating the merits of Dante's Inferno in traditional versus graphic novel form with my coworkers here at Flyleaf. Maybe, just maybe, it's becoming a true graphic novel nerd, one that knows all of the Watchmen and can tell you the plot of Maus backwards and forwards.

I'm a work in progress, but my first few forays into the world of graphic novels have been major successes. On a whim, I picked up Translucent, a manga about a girl with an invisibility disorder that grappled with teenage issues as gracefully and playfully as a Judy Blume book. The real earth-shaker was Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, which moved me to tears and redefined, for me, the limits of a memoir. Next on the agenda is one about a cat (I told you I was a nerd) called Chi's Sweet Home, which might or might not be for children (does it look like I care?). I also purchased Fables: Volume 1, which was a New York Times bestseller and charts the lives of fairytale characters in modern New York City.

In the meantime, I'm looking for suggestions -- for the initiated or the uninitiated, what are your favorite titles? Comment below, and help a sister out.

1 comment:

  1. Great article Linnie! Naturally, I have plenty of suggestions, but I would advise you to search out Brian K. Vaughn's Y: The Last Man. Although it is a fairly lengthy comic series, it does have a clear beginning and end, which I think many newbies appreciate. Plus, it's feminist to the max!