Tag: image comics

Shelf Life: July 2013It’s summer. Traditionally a time for beach reading, fluff reading, right? This is how I’m justifying all the comics and manga to myself, anyway. Judge ye not, etc.

Spike: Asylum87. Spike: Asylum, by Brian Lynch
(IDW Publishing, 2007)

Brian Lynch has a terrible habit of over-explaining things both within the comics themselves, and then going over every obvious plot point and allusion yet again in the back pages of the graphic novel. I don’t know why he does this, and I really wish he’d stop. Somehow he missed the “show, don’t tell” lesson of story showing 101.

Anyway, Spike falls for an obvious deception and makes friends in an asylum claiming to cure supernatural beings. It’s all very silly, and not in the fun way that Shadow Puppets almost manages to pull off.

Shelf Life: December 2012

Last Shelf Life of 2012. Gonna be brief.

Sunset Park, by Paul Auster154. Sunset Park, by Paul Auster
(Henry Holt and Co., 2010)

I’d never read Auster before, but I’ve heard good things. Perhaps this wasn’t the best introduction. I found Sunset Park to be very disjointed and there were too many pointless references to baseball. I couldn’t get into it.

155. The City and the Pillar, by Gore Vidal
(Abacus Books, 1948, 1997)

A classic of gay literature, it tracks Jim’s dawning awareness and acceptance of his sexuality, exploring the different scenes available to gay men in the 40’s and 50’s.

I’ve never really set targets for my reading before, beyond a general expectation that I’d read at least a hundred books a year, but last year a friend pushed me to challenge myself to commit to 150. According to Goodreads I surpassed it, but according to my own count I read 135. I read twenty-seven graphic novels that I hadn’t added to the count. For the past three years, I’ve listed the graphic novels I’ve read, but not included them in the total number of books I read.

This was, admittedly, due to a foolish prejudice I’d acquired that graphic novels somehow didn’t count as “proper books”. Most of them can be read in about an hour, often they’re picture (rather than text) heavy, and though I read comics prodigiously in high school (Marvel universe FTW), I couldn’t quite convince myself to put them at the same level as the classic lit I was also reading.

I know, I know. It was snobbish and stupid. There are tons of wonderful and highly literate examples in the medium. Marjane Satrapi’s Persopolis, and Blankets by Craig Thompson, Skim, by Mariko Tamaki and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series is rife with literary allusions, both overt and more subdued. It’s not all men wearing underwear over their spandex leotards and large breasted women bursting from their flimsy costumes. Graphic novels count. Books like Kate Beaton’s excellent collection of comics Hark! A Vagrant count.

So, for the first time I’m including comics and graphic novels in my official tally of books read. I feel like I’ve grown as a person.