Blogger: Etta Wilson
Location: Books & Such, Nashville office
Weather: More rain, low 80s
This exploration of the comic world has been an eye-opener for me. Like everything else in publishing these days, the world of comics is changing. Those of us who remember reading comics seem to want to revisit the genre–who hasn’t picked up a Peanuts book once or twice? Meanwhile new collections are being published such as The Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly, which has its eye strictly on “children as their core readers.” Their criteria for judging good from bad: Do you remember it after reading it?
Four things I’m noticing among the surge in comic book publication (now available almost everywhere books are sold):
1) Many more heroines are featured as main characters on the covers;
(2) New comic publishing companies are emerging, as well as the growing prominence of longtime comic publishers like Capstone;
(3) The wide variety of content–nonfiction as well as fiction, and retelling classic stories like Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes;
(4) Great variety in page length–one review features a 20-page comic book. A comic book that long is really a graphic novel.
So how are we to know a comic from a real book? The content or the length isn’t the litmus test. Is it the design and format–the cheaper paper stock and cover? the full-bleed, full-color art? the frames that move the story action across the page? the balloons holding the dialog? I see most of those features in picture books. Maybe it’s not important to draw the line if a child is reading and good literature just happens to be in comic format.
It’s been interesting to hear this week about the comics you remember reading as kids. Did anybody love Dick Tracy as much as I did?