Saturday, October 15, 2005

Graphic novel moment

So I went down to Multnomah Public and beheld the mass of graphic novels therein. I checked out these four and I list them in descending order of greatness:

Marvel 1602: If you like Marvel superheros at all, then you need to read this one. It is written by Neil Gaiman, which is another reason to get your hands on it, and places the Marvel heroes and villains back do the beginning of the 17th century. Gaiman takes the anti-racist subtext of the X-men and sets it against the Inquisition and other dark forces of the time. For colonial history buffs, Virginia Dare shows up as a new superhero.

A Jew in Communist Prague, Part I: With a title like that, you might think this one is sad, and you would be right. It follows a boy whose father is sent to jail for no apparent reason, other than the fact that he is a Jew. The muted colors support the sad story of society shunning the victim of the government. I'll definitely read more of these.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 2: I liked but didn't love this one. The story, pitting Mr. Hyde, Mina Harker, Nemo (not the fish) and other Victorian heroes against the Martians is good, but it felt a little rushed. Worth reading, but get it at the library.

Michael Chabon Presents...The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Vol. 1.
: I put the whole thing in to emphasize the key word "presents." It would be cool if we had a bunch of comics written by Chabon, but that's not what this is. He writes one which is a graphic form of what you got in Kavalier and Clay. The fun gimmick is that it purports to show the evolution of the character over time as different artists and writers take over. The best one involves a Japanese version in manga form. It's certainly diverting, but nothing more.


Anonymous said...

So here's a really dumb question, T: What exactly is a graphic novel?

Tripp said...

Essentially it is a comic book aimed at adults, with darker or more realistic themes.

This is not a perfect definition as some kid oriented comics are presented in a graphic comic format. The format is generally harcover or sturdy paperback with more pages and a stronger focus on the art.