Localism and Comic Books by Nick

Personally, I couldn’t be happier watching my generational peers resurrecting creature comforts of their childhood. I’m not sure you should expect to see baseball card trading outposts cropping up in your local strip mall, but comic books are coming back in a big way (as are 8-bit style games in the form of phone apps, 90’s era punk derivatives, and gaudy fluorescent fashion. Yep, not so thrilled for that last one.)

But it’s seeing comic books swapped, waxed philosophic on, and even fetishized that really elevates my blood pressure the same way riding Zingo at Bell’s did. Purists will argue comic books never went anywhere, and they’d be right. But if you ask me, the quality in writing has been on a steady incline in the last ten years or so. The Dark Magick of Alan Moore, the hallucinatory fever pitch drawing of Grant Morrison and now an emergent class of young writers and illustrators has given the comic book industry the kick in the pants it’s needed to recapture the hearts of wide eyed, sweaty palmed manboys across the country.

Case in point: Local by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly. These were published as comic books for fiction readers: no superheros here, but a mature narrative for adult tastes that deals with issues of identity, and emotional and resonant instability that comes with transition. A great aspect, true to the title, is the local flavor the authors are able to implement. Proof that localism does not have to be restricted to healthy foods and sustainability efforts. Each chapter is location specific and you can tell the authors did their homework: the chapter on Norman, OK nails the gothic architecture of Bizzell Library and other prominent features of the OU campus. Most definitely a worthwhile read for comic book fans who have outgrown their Green Lantern undies.

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