Thursday, April 07, 2011

More flotsam

 My review for Asterios Polyp. (OGN = Original Graphic Novel):

I make no secret of my love of comics and graphic novels. Trying to legitimize them as a respected form of art on the internet in 2010 is probably akin to justify movies in the mid-50s, but for some reason I will always feel that the medium is undercut by the notion at large that they are mindless and sensational. Of course, many of them are. I probably tend to prefer the sensationalistic (though not without artistry) tendencies of the superhero genre more than the subtle storytelling of the OGN (original graphic novel). But I remain an avid fan of both and a staunch defender of the merits of both. Unfortunately, the mainstream will always be harder to legitimize, and at the cost of the latter.

After I recently gave one comic book (Jason Aaron's amazing Scalped) five stars, my sister (hey, T) sent me an email that consisted of one word: "really?" Granted, that particular collection had an unfortunate name, but it remains a powerful work and one that I was amazed with. Overall, the experience made me wonder if I should start putting more effort into explaining the ratings I give sequential art, both the bad and the good, the mainstream and the OGN, if only to solidify my opinions to myself, if not to others.

David Mazzucchelli was the artist on one of my favorite Batman stories ever, Year One. Now I'm discovering that he is the sole creator (yes, even lettering!) of one of my favorite OGNs. Asterios Polyp is the kind of book that I would give to almost anyone I know, a true endeavor of creative storytelling coupled with talent and soul. I bristled at some of the storytelling, but only in a way that made me somewhat embarrassed of doing so by the end, as if I hadn't been paying attention the entire time. It is a book that takes advantage of the medium and is greater than the sum of its parts.

As I mentioned earlier, this is the sort of book I would give to just about anyone, especially someone doubting the potential of a graphic novel in delivering a great story. Unfortunately, it's also the sort of book that 95% of the people I gave it to would never read. Still, that 5% might be worth it.

I could've sworn I wrote a really good review for I Kill Giants, but I can't find it right now.  Hopefully I'll fix that in the next few days.

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