I suppose this is half a discussion thread and half a recommendation thread. I'm a huge fan of literature and have always loved comics as a kid, but to this day, I can't really get into the "graphic novel" for adults. The ones I've read seem to lack the depth and complexity of a proper novel and don't have the joy and exuberance I've come to expect from a comic book. That's not the exact
reason, but it's simplified enough to be coherent.
This isn't a thread about The Watchmen
, which to me, was very very fun, and was followed in theme and tone by some great stuff like DKS
, Kingdom Come
, and Moore's run on Miracle Man
. Among many other mature works about superheroes and their adventures. Or superbeings, if we want to bring Sandman
I'm speaking more about comics like Maus
, Ice Haven
, and the other "graphic novels" that are involved with literary themes and plots. Great literature (or art), as defined by, let's say Susan Sontag, isn't escapist, but draws one closer to reality. Whereas a great comic exists in its own world, and is inherently escapist. I never liked Kirby's Fourth World until its characters stopped becoming soap boxes for lazy-symbolism (Barda represents the female! and the like) and crossed over into regular kickass supervillain terrority. I am looking forward to Persopolis
the film because the graphic novel was uneven, poorly paced, and isn't a graphic novel just a polished storyboard anyway? What makes a serious graphic novel different from a polished storyboard?
I would like to think of graphic novels as art and not merely great entertainment, but I haven't read anything that would dissuade me of my complaints. Can someone recommend me a graphic novel they would consider literary?
For comparison, the first five novels I can think of loving are, in no real order: The Moon and the Bonfires
, Cesare Pavese; Our Mutual Friend
, Charles Dickens; The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
; Billy Budd
, Herman Melville; Dubliners
, James Joyce. And similiarly, my five comic trades: Moore's run on Miracle Man
; Miller's DK2
; A Superman for All Seasons
; Marvel Zombies
; Sam and Max: Surfin' the Highway