The Graphic Novel George Mason University

22Jan/10Off

In Case Anyone’s Interested…

I was watching an old Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode, and...well, if Jimmy Corrigan isn't consciously referencing this, I'm sure Ware at least saw it at some point. It's about two brothers who live on a peach farm and have an old pick-up truck. One goes out to avenge their father's death, while the other, dimwitted one mostly just bites his thumb and wears overalls. It's a good episode, anyway: here's the link.

http://www.nbc.com/classic-tv/the-alfred-hitchcock-hour/video/episodes/#vid=917681

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13Dec/09Off

http://fistfightatthearthouse.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/random-comic-review-the-last-christmas/
I could not stop laughing at the enthusiasm and accuracy in the delivery of this review. I'm so happy I have this comic / have outstanding Godparents who know me so well. Don't know whether it's the best comic to teach, but... as far as graphic novel combos go, santa and the undead go together like strawberries and cream.

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11Dec/09Off

Respondent: Graphic Novel Award Show

From what I've seen of other's posts, I'm glad to see that people aren't afraid to defend their favorites. Considering that the semester is nearly over, I think such a reflective exercise is appropriate. In that same vein, I'm giving each book an "award." I will try to keep it brief.

The Grammy for Most Played Out goes to... Persepolis. I think it's a great book and I don't think it's overrated, but so many people have read it/talked about it/reviewed it/reread it that it's just become too much. It's like when they've played Toadies' "Possum Kingdom" on DC101 for the nth time and you just want to scream. Oh dear, and now I've gone and compared Persepolis to Toadies.

The Emmy for Most Passive Character goes to... Kirie in Uzumaki. This book was a quick, sickly addictive read, but why was she SO SO passive? And why did she stay when her boyfriend kept telling her how freaking terrible the town was?

The Tony for Least Realistic Portrayal of Bipolar Disorder goes to... In My Darkest Hour. I totally agree with Pierce that it should've been called The Pathetic Misadventures of a Womanizing, Self-Pitying Douchebag. While the presenters did a good job of sharing some interesting insights, I still did not like this book. I thought it was a superficial representation of bipolar disorder and it didn't strike me as being particularly "nightmarish." It was a wannabe thug trying to tell a deep story and failing.

The Country Music Award for Ghettoest Production Style goes to... Jimmy Corrigan. It was a frustrating read (intellectually and physically, what with the book falling apart), but it provided good discussion, so it can't be all bad. People seemed to either love or hate this book and although I didn't like it, I can see that such a characteristic means that it is probably worth analyzing.

The Teen Choice Award for Most Esoteric goes to... Fun Home. I thought I would appreciate the literary allusions more, but instead they seemed to embody the pretension that comes with literary criticism that Bechdel tries to avoid. Someone mentioned that they would probably never reread Fun Home and it definitely wasn't their favorite book, but they understood why it was important to the fabric of the course. Ditto, ditto, DITTO.

The Golden Globe for Fanboy's Choice Award...is a tie! Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. This tie fascinates me because I devoured DKR and I loathed reading Watchmen. Reading Watchmen was like reading any "classic"-- I hated it the whole time until I finished it and, I had to grudgingly admit I understood why so many consider it to be the Bible of modern comics.

The MTV VMA for Most Harmless goes to... American Born Chinese. It seems like after all is said and done, American Born Chinese has landed in people's "meh" pile. I think we had a lot of interesting things to say about it in class, but it doesn't seem to have a strong lasting power in people's minds.

The Oscar for Causing a Little Resentment Toward An American Tail goes to... Maus. I used to love An American Tail when I was a kid, but as soon as I found out that Art Spiegelman had to rush to publish Maus just so people wouldn't associate it with the movie, I got a little annoyed at Steven Spielberg. I don't know if he actually ripped Spiegelman off, but it all sounds rather shady.

Well hm, like all award shows, that ran way too long. This post seems really cynical and sarcastic now, but I didn't mean it that way. I hope it was just an entertaining way of looking back on the semester and feel free to disagree.

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11Dec/09Off

Respondents — Another Favorites List (!)

Time to play favorites with the course texts:

[Edit again: Even though it's probably lost in the after-class void, I think I'd switch Maus and Fun Home here -- putting FH at 3.  The more I mull Bechdel's memoir over the more it seems to have to say.  Plus, I like that it deals openly with gender issues and homosexuality, both areas that I feel many writers, thinkers and people in general are cowardly about.]

Top 3:

1. Jimmy Corrigan

I loved this book.  As I said in response to Chandra's post, Chris Ware managed to do something rare in that he was able (I think) to present a portrayal of intense awkwardness and loneliness in a way that wasn't full of the wallowing theatrics of self-pity.  I loved all the quirky touches Ware includes also, like the cutout zoetrope, and the fact that these touches aren't just non sequiturs, they have actually thematic significance as well.  Also, just some really great tragic scenes, like when the boy grandfather throws the tin horse-lump into the snow before frantically clawing it out again.  And the intricacy of some of the art is really fascinating, like the map in the front matter.  I could ramble about Jimmy Corrigan for a while, so I'll cut myself off here, and try to abridge my next "reviews." [EDIT: Abridgement didn't work too well.]

2. Watchmen

Alan Moore is a scary, bearded nutjob genius.  The Rasputin/Charles Manson hybrid look-alike approaches the superhero mythos with characteristic narrative complexity and philosophical depth.  The characters of Rohrshach, the Comedian, and Dr. Manhattan are especially interesting to me.  The book seems to invite the readers to identify with (or be intrigued by) Rohrshach specifically, perhaps as a cathartic impulse at the perceived ongoing injustice in the world, and then forces them to confront the question of his lawlessness and violence, the moral conundrum he presents.  Ultimately, Watchmen is about the nature of power, and it's such an incredibly fascinating analysis of it, and its uses and abuses.  Really incredible. (Also, love the "opposite" color palette.)  If there's anything problematic with the text, it's probably that there really aren't any compelling female characters, but I guess that could be a reflection on the superhero genre in itself.

3.  Maus

Of course, Maus is legendary, so I doubt there's anything new I could say about the "why" of its effectiveness or appeal.  The most compelling (need to stop using that word so much [EDIT: The word "compelling" appears six times in the span of this list]) Holocaust narrative I've come across.  I think academics and theoreticians are right when they say that the comic / graphic novel medium has a unique appropriateness for traumatic material or retellings of traumatic material.  Maus is the case study for that.  Either way, really amazing stuff, and certainly Art Spiegelman deserves his fame.

[IN PROCESS OBSERVATION: Holy crap I'm writing way too much, so I'm sticking to explaining my top 3 and a bottom 3.]

TIE 4/5. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns AND Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic :  (Tie because they both deal compellingly with such similar issues.)

6. Uzumaki

Bottom 3:

7.  Persepolis

Sorry, Marjane.  Although I think Persepolis is a good piece of work and a compelling one,  this is the third time I've read it through for class and cracks are showing.  I feel like the childhood portion of Persepolis is the most interesting, perhaps because it juxtaposes the idealism and innocence of childhood with the violence and subjugation of revolution and authoritarianism.  I feel, ultimately, that the reason Persepolis is interesting is because of the unfamiliar context of the Iran war and political struggles, when these are removed, the narrative loses its uniqueness or freshness.  And these are removed more are less in the Austrian section.  Maybe in part I'm reacting to the hype the books / film received on release, probably due in part to loose comparisons drawn with Maus.  I guess I'm saying Persepolis is overrated.  Still good, but overrated.  Or maybe I've just read it / talked about it / wrote about it too much.

8.  In My Darkest Hour

In my opinion, this book might be better titled The Pathetic Misadventures of a Womanizing, Self-Pitying Douchebag.  Although towards the end I was able to salvage some sympathy for Omar, throughout practically all the narrative he was thoroughly unappealing.  Obviously, being bi-polar is no cakewalk, but valium and forties of OE aren't going to keep you level.  So, he self-medicates and then complains about feeling like crap.  Omar is sometimes narcissistic, frequently misogynistic, and always pathetic.  Not disturbing, just lame.  As a saving grace, the surreal collage artwork was interesting.

9.  American Born Chinese

This book just had no teeth.  I think if you're going to address topics as layered and heavy as immigration and racism you have to be willing to push the envelope, because its ground that's been tread so often before.  I realize this graphic novel was aimed at a wider audience, but still... No envelope pushing, and nothing new.

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10Dec/09Off

Respondents-Favorites

So, like others before me, I will elect to do the favorites things. Here it goes, ranked from favorite to least:

1) Watchmen- Had to put this as number one, just a life long favorite of mine. I Just love how it flips our perception of the 'super hero' around in a very intelligent and deliberate way.

2) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns- Anything Frank Miller deserves to be near the top of any list. I just loved the brutality this was drawn in and what it brought to the Batman franchise. The story of the aging vigilante battling his inner demons, a sensational use of color, and a splash of Joker = awesome.

3)Jimmy Corrigan: The smartest Kid on Earth- What brought a lot of people to dislike this novel is what made me love it. Sure, it was a tad difficult to read, but for me, being that way made me read this a lot closer and get more out of it. There was such awkwardness and despair in this story and I found it fascinating. Believe it or not, I actually felt a small connection with Jimmy (odd, I know).

4) Uzumaki- I'm not a huge fan of manga, but this story was just chilling. There was tons of symbolism here that made it so much more than just your typical horror novel. Loved the grotesque obsession with spirals, which in turn kind of made me rethink my perception of spirals.

5)Maus- I thought the retelling of this horrific time with mice, cats, pigs and dogs was brilliant and I can understand why this won so much critical acclaim. The theme of family history and trials one much make to keep that together was moving. The simple artwork said a lot without a lot of detail.

6) In My Darkest Hour- Maybe something is wrong with me, but I didn't find this as disturbing as everyone else thought. I just found the main character and his struggles annoying. I do though, find the artwork stunning.

7)Persepolis- Much like Maus, I though the simplistic artwork/drawing said a lot without extreme mastership/detail. It was really interesting to see a young girl's journey to adulthood in lieu of a country exploding from within. Not really what I go for in a graphic novel though.

8)Fun Home- I feel like this story got lost in its own narrative. There was just so many references to books I've never read that I was thoroughly confused at some parts. After analyzing this front to back for my presentation I quickly got sick of it. Still, the drawing is extremely detailed with little use of color (One of its few attractive qualities)

9) American Born Chinese- Being at the bottom doesn't make it a terrible graphic novel, it just really wasn't my thing. I found it boring, too short and sort of childish. There were a few bright spots though, I Liked the bright coloring and thought the main character's struggle with his own race was interesting. Still, I intend on selling my copy of this somehow.

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10Dec/09Off

A Respons-ish Favorites List

So, I totally wasn’t going to write a favorite’s list… but I feel that I must defend the honor of IMDH.  Plus, I'm unoriginal.

1 – In My Darkest Hour – Where do I begin?  Omar is the perfect main character, because we love to hate him so much, and in the end, at least for me, we’re glad to see that some progress might be being made toward his redemption.  I guess the sheer morbidity of the book speaks to me, the futile struggles against attackers that are both readily apparent and not, but there’s also an aspect of karma inherent to Omar.  I have to stop before this entire post is consumed by my gushing for this novel.

2 – Jimmy Corrigan – Chandra you’re not alone.  The poetry that exists in Jimmy Corrigan isn’t always elegant, sometimes it’s not even beautiful, but it’s still powerful.  The impotency of the wordless panels coupled with the scripted beauty of those poetic moments forms an extremely evocative duality.  Besides, that page delineating the relation between Jimmy and his sis is the definition of Graphic Novel.

3 – Fun Home – I’m not quite sure why I feel so connected to Fun Home… maybe for its honesty and its quirky humor.  It obviously offers incredible insights on family life and relationships, but I find it extremely more interesting what Prof. Sample noted in class:  even after reading the novel we get little to no sense of Bechdel’s real personality.  Instead we get the iconographic persona… her struggles seem more real to me because of that, I suppose.

 4 – DKR – I never really appreciated Batman, this book remedied that.  I guess I felt that in other instances, Batman was more superhuman than human, and here I feel that that balance is shifted, and it makes him more relatable to me, as a non-superhero.  Hmm… there’s some sort of uncanny valley-esque relationship here, but I can’t quite grasp it.

 5 – American Born Chinese – The Monkey King.  If this novel were more devoted to a Journey West, and then related to a modern context, it would probably be at the top of this list … well, maybe second.  The Monkey King as a character is extremely intriguing, and how his rebellion shaped his destiny is extremely inspiring.  Also the art is nostalgic for me… and the deception inherent within this simply packaged comic that packs such a complex message is wonderful.

 6 – Maus – The juxtaposition of Art’s relationship to his father and his father’s own struggle makes this immediately more relatable than any other Holocaust story.  It’s a huge gap to bridge for me to imagine what it may have been like to survive the Holocaust, but reading about Art surviving the survivor makes it much more plausible and real.

 7 – Watchmen – The only character I identify with is Rorschach, which I imagine to be typical but I could be wrong.  To be honest, I’m surprised I didn’t like this more – to me, Nite Owl’s impotent paralysis is not as real as Omar’s, or as endearing as Jimmy’s.  Dr. Manhattan and the Silk Spectre are cowards, not to mention her naiveté, and Ozy is a megalomaniacal ass who takes the easy way out.  Rorschach may be paranoid and fighting a losing battle, but at least he fights.  And the alien ending… really?!

 8 – Persepolis – I liked Satrapi better when she was a child who just naturally assumed she was God’s Chosen.  The rebellion of Bechdel and the Monkey King are here and the strength and humanity of Batman… but I never felt as connected.

 9 – Uzumaki – Just not a fan of horror in general… more terrifying to me is the dystopia of Watchmen and Ozy’s ultimatum, or Omar’s paralysis and his inability to master himself.  IMDH is truly terrifying because we see the grotesque depths of a human soul, whereas Uzumaki seems more about the spectacle of those depths.  How to describe it… where Uzumaki is a haunted house, a façade of fear, IMDH is walking alone in the dark as a child – the real terror that resides constantly in the human heart and mind.

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10Dec/09Off

Respondents: Favorites

Not sure where the original posting of the favorites was, but I like reading other people's rankings and now I feel like jumping on the bandwagon, so here's my list: (9 the least favorite, #1 is, well #1)

9

In my Darkest Hour

Literally, the entire graphic novel eluded me. I missed the past of sexual abuse, his moments of reflection and his moments of reality. The only thing I grasped on first reading was the intriguing style of art. I felt pretty sheepish in class when the true subject matter was being discussed. I had to read the novel again. Still, I think I have a mental block on Santiago's method.

8.

Uzumaki

Hm, manga is something new to me. I read a few Sailor Moons when I was younger, but honestly thought it was some extreme coloring book when I was 7 years old. So, I colored my Sailor Moons, put them in a box when I was done, and haven't really looked at manga since. Uzumaki either made me gag with grotesque imagery (especially snippets from the 2nd and 3rd books that people brought in) or it made me laugh. The "scary" spirals? Mmhmm.

7.

Jimmy Corrigan

I feel bad for having this so close to the least favorite. I really understand Ware's graphic novel to be a work of art. And I should give it more credit, because I rarely sympathize with characters when reading, yet when Jimmy's sister pushes him in the Dr's after the news of their father, with a vicious "Get away from me!" I actually got teary-eyed. I don't like crying from a book, so maybe that's why it's up at #8, although I do like the fact that there is a book that could make me cry.

6.

Fun Home

You know what it is, I have too many favorites, these aren't really my least favorite, they just lose a little on the competitive favorited. I liked Fun Home for its dry humor. As an English major with Modern British Literature as my concentration, I loved understanding most to all of the literary references. I saw so many parallels, contradictions and symbolism in Bechdel's neurotic depiction.

5.

Batman

Never was one for D.C. comics. The most excitement I got from a D.C. hero was the xbox360 game, Mortal Kombat v. D.C. Universe.

4.

American Born Chinese

I haven't had to read a young adult book in a long time. I think the bright colors, shiny pages, cute characters (MONKEY and Chin-kee) attracted my inner child more than my brain.

3.

Maus

Absolutely loved Maus. Couldn't understand why he changed the art though. The non-published version looked cartoony to many, maybe that's why Spiegelman didn't pick it, but to me it was much more real. I understand the stark look of the style he did choose. I also loved this was a true story. After hearing the tape of his father, actually on the bike, made me appreciate the genuine dedication Spiegelman put into his ever-resourceful father.

2.

Persepolis

My first reuniting with Graphic Novels since color-book-Sailor Moon. haha. I read this for Islam Studies a couple semesters ago and was so obsessed with the story (and my infatuation for the Middle East regardless), I got the movie. I love Satrapi's style.

1.

Watchmen

Alan Moore is AMAZING. Bob Dylan, Deism worked so seamlessly into a fantastic comic?  I was obsessed with nearly every page. What to say....every panel became my new favorite. Favorites rarely can be justified; that's how you know you love them.

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10Dec/09Off

Respondent: Favorites List

1. Uzumaki
I like manga so Uzumaki was bound to rank high for my list but it was more than that. Uzumaki has a dark mood that slowly smoothers you. The images are striking in all of their gory detail and the book throws things at me that I have seen before (Shuichi's dad rolled up in the tub). What can I say, the spiral drew me in.

2. Watchmen

The colors are bold and the characters are doubly. I loved the way Watchmen brought the superhero down to our level and rolled it in the mud. Also it was really fun picking out all of those little details that seemed to pop up everywhere. The only thing keeping this from number 1 was the ending, it just sort of deflates there.

3. Fun Home

When I first started my list Fun Home was further down but it crept up. Out of all of biography types of graphic novels we read, I really liked Fun Home the best. I think the way it was not entirely in chronological order made it stand out. Bechdel created this more like a flow of consciousness that while terrible in Jimmy Corrigan was pulled off well here. Interesting characters and attention to detail round out the reasons I liked this.

4. Dark Knight

Female Robin. End Post.

Seriously though the Dark Knight visually was stunning with all of the water colors creating a very muddy and dirty Gotham. The storyline was much more mature than your average Batman, and seeing Superman shriveled up like a raisin made my day.

5. American Born Chinese

The artwork for ABC was very clean and simple. I felt like I was reading something the vein of the TV shows like Dexter's Lab during the monkey king parts. This was a good thing. Chinky made my day when he was first introduced and I loved how honestly stereotypical he was (which turned out to be a major part of the plot). An interesting story with moral to it rounded this book out.

6. Maus

The story was the major driving point in Maus. I found Vladek's story captivating in its honesty and detail. The art for Maus would have to be its week point. I liked the few visual easter eggs (like the swastika road), but there just were not enough of them. The characters looked blain and that may have been intentional but it often made it difficult to tell who was who.

7. Persepolis

As with Maus the story was the major driving point for this well, but unlike Maus it was not as compelling. Marjane's story really starts to drag its heels when she goes to Europe and though it picks up when she comes home I don't think it ever recaptures the interest I had at the beginning. There are even less visual easter eggs than Maus and the art did not even have the novelty of critter people to make it standout.

8. Jimmy Corrigan

Ugh

Ok I know this was suppose to simulate the confusion of the main character but you know what? Confusion is not pleasant and I really don't feel like going through a confusing book. I would not have finished this if it were not for class. The main character is also about as unlikeable as you can get, and in a confusing bunch of whatever for a story, a compelling main character could have kept me anchored but no. Jimmy alienated himself from me like few characters have. By the end of the story I was praying for him to spontaneously explode.

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10Dec/09Off

Shannon, Searcher–MFS Intro

This is a pretty long article, but I thought it was great how many things it mentions that we've read. She also brings up several other great graphic novels that I've read outside of class.

http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/modern_fiction_studies/v052/52.4chute01.html

This is Hillary Chute's intro to the Modern Fiction Studies, the first issue of any scholarly literary journal, I believe, to focus entirely on "graphic narratives." She goes through the basic intro and history, including extensive borrowing from Understanding Comics, and then goes on to mention some narratives, and studies of narratives, of note. I liked the idea that the form of comics challenges a binary classification, since words and images work together with neither taking precedence. Later, she talks about censorship of both photos and drawings, including the Danish Mohammad cartoon that raised so much controversy, to emphasize the power of images.

I thought this might be a good source for ideas or quotes if anyone needs some for their paper. Plus, it's a good review of a lot of the stuff we've discussed.

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10Dec/09Off

Respondant to “A Tragedy Off Your Chest”

I take slight issue with Bechdel's determination that "Fun Home" is a tragedy. While reading it, there was something about the story that I couldn't quite peg, but kept me from really considering it a tragedy. After we watched the interviews with her in class, however, it became clear to me what that issue was. In the story, Bechdel (as the main character, moreso than as the writer, and even less so as the artist) never truly expresses saddness; rather she spends the story circling the drain of melancholia. In order to be a tragedy, something truly tragic must happen, and she just never truly convinces me that her father's death affected her. Upon seeing the interviews with her, I realize that that is because of her general disposition, which has her displaying a very limited range of emotion. Without access to this point of reference while reading "Fun Home," the standalone story is hard to catagorize as a true 'tragedy.' As the main character, Bechdel is very passive, unlike Marjane Satrapi of Persepolis, who tends to overreact in an animated fashion. As the writer of the story, however, Bechdel offer's an almost mechanical analysis that is peppered with references; the powerful feelings associated with the characters from those references allows her to express a wider range of emotion than her character is typically capable of. Also, as an artist, her painstaking attention to detail fits perfectly with the melancholic; the clean lines and complex detail sanitizes the appearance of her world. However, it is the art where Bechdel expresses a fuller ranger of emotion, as the attention to detail shows her loving passion for the history that she captures in the graphic novel. Ultimately, as a standalone story, "Fun Home," simply can not stand up as its own tragedy; the beauty of the graphic novel medium, however, is that through the artwork we have access to other means of interpreting the story. I daresay that even with all things considered, Bechdel's story is simply not dynamic enough to be truly called 'a tragedy.'

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10Dec/09Off

Respondent to First Readers – Fun Home (2nd week)

As far as Fun Home goes I've decided not to give to tuff of a time. By far it is not my favorite or one I would choose to read again, but I can't deny that it was "necessary" in the context of the class. I was by far one of the more narrative comic books.  Literature and words are so important to the author and that is reflected in this novel. The word are so important and sometimes I would say more important than the pictures that they narrate. While I would attempt to say this, having learned more about her drawing process and seeing the intricate detail of the finished product I can't in good conscious negate the importance of the illustrations. So I think it was a worthy addition in that it explored the more narrative side of comic books and was a very interesting depiction of the "literary" world fusing with and influencing the graphic novel world (not to separate graphic novels from the literary)

For my order of preference:

1.) Jimmy C: This surprises even me because it beat out DKR for first. I just love what Ware has accomplished in this novel. The artwork is superb; the story line complex, and the characters reflect a darker/sadder side of human nature that many can relate to. It has a grace about it, and also a sarcasm that I love. I could, have, and probably will(again) read this again. Which is saying a lot as the book is falling apart at the seams quite literally (which is infuriating)

2.) DKR: Aside from home field advantage (home field being my heart and Batman being my FAV) There was really innovative panel work in this novel. Because of its familiar content it is a great transition for baby graphic novel readers, because however familiar Batman is he comes from a very rich universe and there is a lot to be discovered there. As aforementioned it was a treasure trove of varying panels and panel transitions while the artwork is messier than I usually like it suited the content...good stuff all around

3.) American Born Chinese comes in third or 2a. I loved the brightness of this graphic novel...except its not that bright...and it was kind of flawed and lacking in the message it tried to deliver...but it was still approachable...so I don't bear it ill will for what it lacks. I thought the illustrations were great and I loved some of the border breaking aspects of the panels. The three stories connecting was golden and the laugh track for Chin-Kee was innovative (at least I've never read a laugh track) Despite its shortcomings it had a great story of self discovery and self acceptance and all it lacks (in acknowledging other sides of the racial acceptance struggle)  makes it a great piece to talk about.

4.) Maus for a black and white piece this is really powerful. I don't have much to say about this one but as a historical document I find it to be innovative and effective. As a story I find it to be engaging. This also had a lot of great panel work and the subtlety of repeating images (the swastika) in varied/unexpected forms i.e. the smoke from the chimneys.

5.) The Complete Persepolis is more of a historical document than Maus. Maus depicts one persons story from the Holocaust but there is a lot that is common knowledge concerning that horrific event. Strapoli takes the time to break down the history of Iran that most people (at least I) didn't know. In all of her careful honest detail Strapolki successfully makes herself and her people easier to relate to. This was one of her goals and she did it successfully. This was also a novel where the words were chief in conveying the story and the emotion. It is interesting to see how Bechdel and Strapoli both focus on words but Bechdel's pictures trump Strapoli's in detail but both of the complete works pack a lot of emotion.

6.) Watchmen: It's odd that this is so low on my list because I really like this novel. Plan on reading it again. I think I just like the other stories more because they were more real to me and slightly less jarring in an apocalyptic way.

7.) Uzumaki: I think I would have appreciated this more if we'd read the trilogy. I don't like scaring/disturbing myself to no effect and I couldn't help but feel that I was subjecting myself to horror for no reason. Aside from the experience of reading right to left and back to front I wasn't afforded anything else especially enlightening about graphic novel technique. This is not me discrediting  it because as a graphic novel and a horror manga it was working well in a lot of way (there are some horrific images in this book) but it was essentially me scaring myself and not learning anything from it

8.) Fun Home and IMDH(slightly below Fun Home): I've already give my shpeal(?) for FH at the beginning of this post. It definitely served its function and accomplished its goals I personally just wouldn't read it again. IMDH I read squinting honestly it was hard for me to look long and hard at the distorted images and get everything that I could from it. It  definitely stands out as the most visually challenging of all the novels. However I hated the illustrations and cared little for the main character. Honestly I'll probably be returning these last three novels to the book store.

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10Dec/09Off

Response to Tibbs post… again

Sorry for responding to your post again Jessica 🙂 

So the question Jessica asked was was there ever a chance for an emotional connection between Alison and her father, or was there currently one below the surface?  

I definitely agree that it was an awkward connection but that in her year at college there was somewhat of an emotional connection.  It was more of a subtle thing.  While she did feel suffocated by her Dad's insane interest in what she was reading, it was a language that she shared with her father unlike anyone else.  Proof that it wasn't just him enacting his literary snobbery upon her was the book he gave her with the lesbian content (I don't have the text in front of me right now and I don't remember the title.)  It was his own way of reaching out.  I think her Dad really identified with her, and because of that he was able to open up to her in the car.  He was trying, but yeah just too awkward to make any real changes.  I think if he hadn't died this would have been possible.  I think a lot of the awkwardness around Alison's Dad was because he was in the closet for pretty much his whole life.  Talking to his own daughter about something he had so intensely masked for 19 years was never going to happen over a matter of a couple weeks or even months, but probably years.  Especially since he was so obsessive of maintaining the facade (pun intended).  Alison, on the other hand took the opposite approach as him with her sexuality.  She was so out in the open about it and brave, that he might have felt really intimidated by her.  At any rate, I think that there was an emotional connection, just that their awkwardness made them unable to express it, and that perhaps with more time this would have developed more in the future.

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9Dec/09Off

Surchur

I'm not sure if all of these are legitimate, but i'm a big fan of good quotations and she seems to have a few in here.  She talks about the difficulty of grey hair in black and white, something i hadn't really even thought about, and how she feels about both the writing and the drawing aspects of putting together her works.

http://www.icelebz.com/quotes/alison_bechdel/

Project Muse is great, its where i go for articles when Mason fucks up and doesn't have them on hand.  This article talks about Fun Home and the way its framed by Joyce and also the extent to which Bechdel acknowledges this influence.

http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_modern_literature/summary/v032/32.4.freedman.html

And, since this is my last blog post, here are a few more links that I think some may find pretty interesting.

http://www.youcantkilltherooster.com/stories.php?story=10&disp=f

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/deb6d878ce/the-avett-brothers-slight-figure-of-speech?utm_medium=columbia-email&utm_source=theavettbrothers&utm_campaign=columbia-emailtheavettbrothers20091123

and because i'm a Gaiman nerd

http://io9.com/5086663/5-ways-that-sandman-changed-the-world

aaaand if batman and spiderman were lazy or retarded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G18jhC3b53A

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9Dec/09Off

Respondants: Rating Books This Semester

1. Fun Home
I really enjoyed Fun Home. I was having a bad day and read it all in one sitting, and it was both engaging and thoughtful. I thought the end was really quite beautiful... it was a bit of a kicker somehow. Mostly, though, I think the narrative kept me on my feet. It was never dull or expected, and it used both the images and the words to full capacity.

2. The Dark Knight Returns
I think I liked the Dark Knight because it was the most obvious of the comic books on the list, and it still wasn't what I expected. The art was engaging and the story teetering between comic silliness and disturbing psychological reality. There is also something really fun about reading Batman with such seriousness.

3. Maus
This is not the first time I read Maus, but I enjoyed it much more this time. I think it was a matter of working on the presentation for a few pages making me look harder at everything. The story is amazing, but the relationships are what are most engaging more me.

4. The Watchmen
Another one I've read before. Liked it then, like it now. There was a lot I gained from the class that I really didn't know going into it either. It seems like a comic book for people who read comic books, and I appreciated the perspective I gained this time.

5. Uzumaki
I really liked the artwork in this. It was both creepy and attractive, though the story loses steam as it progresses, I think. It's strange reading something that doesn't end, but what's there is interesting.

6. American Born Chinese
I'd call ABC cute, and not much else. It was a quick, easy read, but there was nothing really lasting about it, I don't think.

7. Jimmy Corrigan
I don't think I hated this book with the seething passion of most people, but it was a bit of a chore to fight through. I did have pity for Jimmy, though, and hope against hope that someday he'll get his shit together. The diagrams and things are neat, though the book itself drove me a little nuts at times.

8. Persepolis
Read this before. Found it boring then too. I think the beginning when she is a kid is kinda charming, but it loses that as it goes on and just becomes something of a struggle to get through. It loses its spirit as Marjane does, I think.

9. In My Darkest Hour
Confusing, gross, confusing a little bit more... I appreciate the work that went into it, but ick.

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8Dec/09Off

Interview with Junji Ito

I found this interview very interesting because it gave some insight not only into Uzumaki itself, but also Horror Manga as a genre as well as a bit more information on Junji Ito's views/idea of horror manga

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