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Monday, May 02, 2005

Comic Books: Awesome 

May weeks ago, I commented that I would return like an avenging angel to the blog, kicking ass, taking names, and defending the honor of comic books. It seems that some still think of comics as inherently lesser than books or novels. This is wrong. Some of the finest, most moving, and most complete accounts of human experience are found in comics. I hope that after this post, some of you will abandon your myopic disdain/disregard/non-consumption of comics and learn to enjoy this very fine art form.

Form of art? Yes. A good place to begin your reprogramming is Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. In this dissection of the form, McCloud makes a convincing case that comics, "Sequential Visual Art", is as old as human communication. He examines the various forms comics takes, and the deep importance of the frame-breaks (gutters).

You've read McCloud, and you want a general introduction to the state of comics art? McSweeney's Quarterly, usually a journal of literature of the traditional variety, this year has published a massive anthology of the best of modern comics. Highlights include an account of the interrogation of a Palestinian girl by Israeli forces, and an account of pornography addiction.

A good place to move after these generally introductory works is with Art Speigelman's Maus I & II. The first Pulitzer prize-winning comic, this moving story of a Jewish family in Nazi Germany is required reading in many literature classes.

Speigelman meditates on 9/11 and its aftermath in his excellent new In the Shadow of No Towers. The dissonance and struggle for identity and reconciliation, the grief, and ownership of the tragedy are dissected and examined in a way no purely textual account could.

For those of you interested in the Middle East, Persepolis I & II is an account of a girl and her family leaving Iran during the revolution, and her return as an adult. A friend of a friend who left Iran at the same time thought this comic so perfectly described all the facets of the experience, she bought 50 copies to give to all her family members. They also loved it (I am told).

Read comics. Don't be the kind of person who "doesn't see movies" or "doesn't read fiction". Learn to appreciate this fine and serious form of art.

-Miguel Sanchez  10:26 EST | |

About us:

This weblog is an ongoing, if periodic, effort by several friends to stay in touch, in reading material, and in ideas.

Lucky Luciano is a former Italian Stallion real estate hustler and Benedict Arnold CEO turned shady lawyer-to-be. He lives in Denver.

Ben is a Paramedic and would-be philantropist who lives in Denver. He knows everything about nothing.

Fuzzy Dunlop lives in Manhattan. He is more than capable of standing up to the stresses of a high crime urban environment.

Jess is a teacher. But have YOU given her an apple? No, you haven't. You should be ashamed of yourself. This crazy feminist currently rests her copy of Awakening in Jersey City.

Matt is a pariah, iconoclast, and professor of gambling living in Oakland.

Miguel Sanchez is not Lionel Hutz.

Daddy Brooklyn lives in Brooklyn. He hates Republicans, though he wouldn't mind being ensconced in the landed elite of New York City.

Paul just smoked my eyelids and punched my cigarette.

Ziggy Stardust has no past.

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