Graphic Novels

December 3, 2013

Today, a friend asked me what I blog about, assuming it was popular culture things. And I realized I don’t really write much about that kind of thing, other than the occasional geeky reference. Clearly, I am still trying to figure out what to blog about when I grow up. LOLZ. Bad joke. I told her I don’t really have a particular focus on my posts, which pretty much makes it fail as a blog, unless you like reading meandering weird posts about nothing. In which case, hello, whoever you are, let’s be friends if we’re not already. Haha.

Anyway, I thought my friend had a good idea, even though I am not entirely sure who would want to read me drone on about pop culture. One of my biggest geek-outs that will send me into a tirade about awesomeness is the subject of graphic novels. So I am just going to go on a bit about that right now.

I was never a fan of the “cape” comics, never really interested in super powers. So when people ask me if I prefer DC or Marvel, the answer is that I go a little shifty eyes. >.> <.< For me, it was always Image or Dark Horse, or even the short-lived Crossgen. Crossgen was fairly awesome about having strong female characters in their titles, even if the drawings were not quite of realistic women. This spring, while I was in the midst of teaching, working, defending my thesis, and generally being awesome, I took an online class called "Gender Through Comic Books." Because of that class, I have read some cape titles that I don't hate, and branched out in my reading a bit. Also now I have fantastic tirades about "Women in refrigerators." Look it up. Gail Simone is amazing. My meager beginnings as a fan of graphic novels was from borrowing a book from my oldest brother. That book was Larry Marder's "Tales of the Beanworld." From there, it was Jeff Smith's "Bone." We didn't have a comics shop in my hometown, so we used to drive way up to Yellow Springs, Ohio, and go to a little shop there called Dark Star. It was there that I discovered and became fully enamored of the work of Moebius. I think I also read a few things they had at my hometown library. I distinctly recall reading Akira, though I am not sure what else I might have gotten there. That was about all the graphic novels I can really recall reading up until I moved out of my parents' house and on my own, in Dayton, Ohio. The Dayton library system happens to have one of the best graphic novel collections. It was here that I read The Sandman, and a frak-ton of other things. When I moved away from Dayton (to a crappy town just north of Pittsburgh), I was really only reading the Buffy comics. And Fray. My goodness, Fray. I sort of ended up with a ton of comics when I moved back home from Pgh, and so I set about reading them. There was Preacher and Transmetropolitan and all kinds of neat titles to sift through. I started going to a local shop in Clifton about the time said shop was (dunno if this is the right way to word it, but) evicted from their shop because of developments being made in the area. They moved their business to Newport, KY, and they seem to be doing very well there. It was these guys who recommended I read Saga, which I now tell everyone to read. They have gotten to know my reading styles enough that they recommended Sex Criminals to me, and now I tell everyone to check that out as well. Other titles I currently love are: Hawkeye, Locke & Key, and the Adventure Time series and spin-off comics. Also, from IDW in their quest for my money: Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time. I also took a class in writing graphic novels in graduate school, and it was easily one of my top five favorite classes from grad school. Not only did we read some great comics, but we learned a lot about the craft of writing specifically for a graphic arts medium. I can only be lucky enough someday to find an artist who will want to draw the story I wrote for that class. It is essentially Firefly meets Carnivale, or in other words: space circus. I suppose at any given time I might drop more specific lines about some of these titles, most likely with a feminist bent to it, because duh. Until then, check out Saga and Sex Criminals. Everyone who has read them out based on my recommendation has come back and told me that they should have listened to me sooner. And indeed, they should have. I know from awesome.

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