Comic books and graphic novels aren’t supposed to be mediums for mopery (that’s for indie rock and Stephanie Meyers books, right?). They revel in the strong and the superhuman. Men with shirt ripping muscles, women with self-confidence to match their kung fu skills. Machines that defy space and time and logic and hand held gadgets that perform any kind of bidding thy will wants it to. And I guess they have Peter Parker, too.
Things are changing though. Not only with the iPhone that, let’s face it, rivals any of the ‘wonderful toys’ batman owns, but with the form and function of comics as a whole. A new generation of writers use and explore the medium for their own artistic endeavors appropriating their own genres and styles. Comics have long held a special place in the heart of ‘slackers’, those looking for escapism from the trivial and mundane. Now it seems this same generation—too productive to be slackers themselves--has taken the reins to use the comic medium for their own art. It’s not all slouching, irony, and sarcasm though. Blankets by Craig Thompson is a colossal, coming of age graphic novel. Depicting a sibling rivalry and the pangs of a nascent romance, Superman vs. Doomsday this is not. It’s not all mopery though. This graphic novel is dynamic just like its more traditional, non-serialized counterpart. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic takes on weighty and somewhat provocative subjects not usually associated with the graphic novel form. Author Adrian Tomine’s graphic novels have earned a loyal fan base due to her quick wit and biting humor. Sometimes the comic/graphic novel is a great medium for artists who feel disenchanted, who feel lost with their place in a larger world. Julie Wertz uses her great sense of self-deprecating humor to make light of her themes: alienation, longing, substance abuse, and identity. (Ask the library to order her book, Drinking At the Movies here )