Thursday, January 03, 2008

Graphic Novels

Not to be outdone by Krisitn, I have counted up my number of books read in 2007 and the grand total is: 115.

Okay, fine, I was outdone by Kristin. Harrumph! Well, most of mine were not graphic novels, but reading Kristin's post made me consider the few graphic novels I have read this year. A couple are worth posting about; the ones not worth posting made little to no impression on me obviously.

One I particulaly liked was Breaking Up by Aimee Friedman. It's the story of four close high school friends, the kind of kids who seem inseparable. . . until something happens to separate them. The break up refers not to a relationship falling apart but to the ruin of (or at least, the big change in) a once-solid friendship. There is also a secret love affair with a geek, and on the flipside, a secret love affair with a very popular, already-in-a-relationship guy. . . lots of high school drama but done in such a way that I cared and kept turning the pages.

And for something completely different, I liked The Arrival by Shaun Tan. As I began this book, I kept thinking, just what the devil is going on here? A man, obviously an immigrant, leaves his family and ventures to a new land. Things are. . . unusual. The city is beautiful---obviously a city, but strangely magical, obviously not the world the reader knows. And there are all these animals everywhere--pets, street vermin? probably pets--and they're not like any animals you've ever seen. . . Our immigrant hero tries to learn the language, find a job, and acclimate to his new surroundings. It's a beautifully drawn, wordless graphic novel, quite unusual. I enjoyed seeing the renderings of this strange new city, and I especially liked the animal characters. My one beef was that the novel felt as though it had no conflict. It was simply a story of a man coming to a new country. For me it wasn't the plot that drew me in, but the world. I love cities, so this was part of the novel's charms.

Other than these two, I can't recall any other graphic novels that really struck me. Kristin has, on ocassion (or on a daily basis) accused me of reading only "snooty" graphic novels, but as you all can see this is clearly not true. It's just mostly true.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

The reason The Arrival resonated with me was becasue of the completely foreign setting--I felt like I was experiencing what the immigrant man felt. It's quite a breathtaking graphic novel. And yes, Karen, you only read the snooty graphic novels. This one in particular won an award in Australia--the first graphic novel to win.