Posts Tagged ‘Graphic Novels’

Aside from the beautiful computer-generated color palate,  Jimmy Corrigan is dull and morose.  It seems as though the book is only a showcase for Chris Ware’s distinctive style.  The style is highly engaging, the storyline decidedly not. I guess Ware suffers from a dearth of literary imagination.

One of the better parts of the book is the Columbian Exposition interlude.  For most of the graphic novel the title character wallows in his loneliness and misery.  The intricacies of the graphics and their highly stylized nature cannot overcome the flatness of the contents of the book.

That given, one must appreciate what is almost the archetype of the genre.  Though every indie graphic novel I’ve seen is about as lively as Corrigan, it would seem that one must, old-fashionedly, make something up instead of following the current trend of writing something semi-auto-biographical.  Overall, Corrigan is graphically superior to anything out there. But his story is incomparable to anything out there. So I give it a 9……out of 100. LOL!

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With the release of the two recent Batman movies I have developed an interest in the graphic novels by Frank Miller.  The same graphic novels that have supposedly informed Christopher Nolan and his dark take on the Batman.  First I would like to say that The Dark Knight Returns kicks ass. Ahem. What I mean is that it is an engrossing ride and a thrill to read.  Like the History of Superglue I couldn’t put it down. Waka waka waka.

I enjoy Frank Miller’s fervent conservatism and patriotism, which doesn’t inform me on anything, it only serves to further the comic book tradition of let’s say Superman and Captain America and even Batman.  The evil in the book must be destroyed and Batman and Superman are there to take it out of the picture.  The only problem is that Batman has become an enemy of the people and himself.  Gordon isn’t there to fight for him anymore. So he must fake his death in order to survive. One of the reasons I dig the whole thing is because of this undercurrent of evil which strikes Batman to the core every so often. He murders the Joker and uses guns on policemen. What is cooler than a 50 year-old man coming out of retirement and fighting crime? Not much else.

The coloring and sketchy style of the novel are illuminating.  Gotham has never been rendered more noirishly beautiful.  Batman never looked better and in some spots worse because of his constant mash-ups. What else can I say but go out and get a copy for yourself.


A word on graphic novels:

What is the difference between an illuminated manuscript and a contemporary graphic novel from the likes of Frank Miller?  I would argue that there isn’t much of one. Sure one is religious and the other is mild escapism. But in the coming years couldn’t these things merge together and then where would we be? Or are we already there?  But what about the web press, a large type of printing press, and the work done by hand in the thousands of illuminated manuscripts, books of hours and devotionals that are extant? Surely crass commercialism can’t be afforded the museum space and rare book shelflife of the divine? I don’t pretend to know the answer to these questions, but I do believe they are good questions to launch into the blogosphere. Here’s hoping that The Spirit is as good as Sin City. In the key of Monk I’ll say, Bye-a!

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