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Blog: Late Late (Comics) Reviews

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A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about buying some more Graphic Novels (i.e. COMICS) and then remembered that I have the facilities of the entire UAL LIBRARY at my fingertips. The University Of The Arts London is - hem hem - the foremost Comics Studies institution in Europe IF NOT THE WORLD (though we like to keep this to ourselves) and so it is PACKED with comics!

THUS I decided to have a go at finally reading some of The Best Graphic Novels Of All Time. Obviously I know which are widely accepted as The Best SUPERHERO Graphic Novels Of All Time (Watchmen, Dark Knight etc etc) but I am not quite so well informed about OTHER types (apart from Maus and Perseopolis which you would be pretty hard pressed NOT to be aware of everyone banging on about). THUS I did myself a bit of reading and checked a bunch of alleged CLASSICS, and my THORTS upon them are recorded below.

Blankets by Craig Thompson. This was QUITE NICE and ALL RIGHT but to be honest I didn't see what was so special about it that it got into so many lists of GRATE graphic novels. It's a memoir of a romance that takes place in American High School and a Christian Camp and some SNOW.

Black Hole by Charles Burns. I did not like this AT ALL, partly because it is BORING and partly because it was hard to work out who was meant to be who, as everyone looks IDENTICAL and talks THE SAME and is A BIT DULL. It was, in fact, very like a HP Lovecraft novel i.e. mysterious and unpleasant things happen to some characters you don't care about, except here set in and around an American High School (again).

Nimona by ND Stevenson. I flipping LOVED this one, it is GRATE. I had never even heard of it before looking at Best Of lists but I'm glad I did as it is FAB. A young girl (OR IS SHE?!?) teams up with a supervillain (OR IS HE?!?) and end up saving a city (OR DO THEY?!? Yes, they do). It looks a bit like Kate Beaton, who I also LOVE. No high schools at all in this one!

Moon Cop by Tom Gauld. This wasn't on any lists but I saw it in the library and liked the look of it. NB I had completely forgotten that libraries are just like bookshops EXCEPT FREE and that you can just wander aimlessly along the shelves picking up stuff you fancy (I also got a book of Ronald Searle Cartoons using the same method). "Moon Cop" was BRILLIANT - when I mentioned my article Why Aren't We Talking About The Beano? on twitter a while ago (the one with the POSH COMICS cartoon in it) someone MISTAKENLY said that Tom Gauld was POSH COMICS, but this is NOT SO - his stuff, including this book, is full of WIT and ACTION and DELIGHT. All right, his usual cartoons MAY appear in The Guardian and be LIKED by people who otherwise go on about Posh Comics, but it is actually dead good. Unlike...

Rusty Brown by Chris Ware. To be honest I went into the library to get "Jimmy Corrigan" and unwittingly picked this one up because it looked the same. Either way I thought it was long past time for me to try and ENGAGE with Chris Ware as loads of people go on and on about him but I must confess that I did not get very far. It was all right for a bit, although GOODNESS ME it would be nice if Americans would GET OVER HIGH SCHOOL as yet again that's what it's all about, but after reading it for about 18,000,000 years I found I was only about a quarter of the way through and SOD ALL had happened, and that sod all had happened to NOBODY INTERESTING. I did like the GRAPHIC DESIGN, but what really tore it for me was how difficult it was to read. By "difficult" I don't mean it was CHALLENGING MENTALLY or that the Narrative Bit Deep To My Very Core, I mean "difficult" as in the lettering was SO VERY TINY in places that it was almost impossible to read, and once you'd got together a MICROSCOPE and HIGH WATTAGE LAMP in order to do so it turned out to not be worth the bother. I did not enjoy it, so stopped!

Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. Yes yes I know, this is NOT a non-superhero book, but I had got it for REFERENCE for a PAPER wot I am writing. Still, it was a blessed relief after Rusty Brown, even if it does feel more and more HOKEY every decade when I read it again.

This then is my EXTREMELY LATE comics review. If anyone knows of any ACTUALLY GOOD non-superhero graphic novels published more recently please do let me know, ESPECIALLY if they do not feature American High Schools!

posted 5/3/2024 by MJ Hibbett

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