Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I was in my neighborhood comic book shop...

I was in my neighborhood comic book shop with a fellow library student (we were doing research, I swear) when a mom walked in with her 6 year old son. Upon entering the store, the kid's eyes light up and he b-lines it to the superman comics. Although it's always pretty awesome to see children full of excitement, what really melted my heart was when he turned to his mom, his little fist full of comic books, and said "Can we check these out???"

"No, Honey," the mother replied as though she had been through this routine before, "this isn't a library, it's a bookstore."

Why can't they stay little forever....

I'm starting, finally, to get into comic books and graphic novels. I don't know why, but I was never really was into them as a kid. As an adult living in Portland, Oregon, comics sink into your subconsciousness, as if by osmosis. They're ubiquitous, all the cool kids are reading them, so I guess I should be, too.

And not just in Portland, either. Comic books, and comic book culture, seem to be really holding there own in western culture. Comic Cons continue to grow in popularity, most blockbusters these days seem to have their genesis in comic books, Allan Moore & Dave Gibbon's The Watchmen was named one on the top 100 novels of all time by Time magazine. The impressive art of sketching stories through hand drawn pictures is everywhere. One could argue that comic books are no longer for the geeks and the losers, but I would argue that the geeks and losers are finally taking their proper, hegemonic position in our society....

Recently, I discovered two of my favorite science fiction series were turned into a comic book - Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow - both by Orson Scott Card (yes, Orson Scott Card is a Mormon homophobe, but he is a good storyteller). It's great to see what some artists have done with the story, and it's equally great to revisit one of my favorite stories in a brand new format.

I also recently discovered the realm of historical and non-fiction graphic novels. My most recent find was a illustrated retelling of the formation and demise of the Students for a Democratic Society by Harvey Pekar. It's pretty amazing.

I think it's great that a lot of libraries, especially public libraries, are ensuring that their holdings include an expansive collection of graphic novels. Not only do these books foster imagination and creativity, but they can also be great alternative learning tools.

I want to discover more graphic novels, but am a little overwhelmed by all that is out there. Do you, dear readers, have any favorites you could share with me? Feel free to leave a comment with your recommendation and I'll see if I can get my hands on it....


  1. omg, t-bone! i will bring some into the library on friday so you can borrow them!

    here are some of my rec's:
    ex machina

    i have most of these, so i will bring you the first issues if you're interested!

  2. Chris Ware. Chris Ware. Chris Ware.

    That is all.

    Oh, except that graphic novels are good because you read 'em fast. :)

    PS: Chris Ware.

  3. Thanks, Anne! I was planning on checking out PNCA's holdings when I next colunteer, because I know they have a great collection....

  4. @amy - Chis Ware - does he publish a lot of his work in the New Yorker?

    And, yes, I think a big attraction to graphic novels is that I feel super smart being able to read an entire book in an afternoon....

  5. I'll add a second on Fables. It's a fantastic series. And Sandman.

    The Walking Dead
    Neil Gaiman's 1602