Wednesday, May 9, 2007

On graphic novels...

I've only just started reading them, but man, so awesome make lose grammatical agility. I was a big Marvel comic book kid growing up... well comic cards anyway. They were like cliff notes for the already-short comic books and I was lazy and liked pretty pictures. I followed what was summarized on the back of the cards and pieced the stories and timelines together, but avoided the Marvel cartoons like peanut butter because, well, I'm allergic and it makes me nauseous. The biggest problem I had with the TV versions of my childhood heroes was that the quality didn't do them justice. Decade and a half later, the movies made me feel the same barfy way.

I hated X-Men because Magneto had a stupid helmet. The Hulk was emo and had daddy issues. Fantastic Four made the hottest woman alive invisible. Daredevil had Ben Afleck. Spiderman was ok, but Mary Jane is supposed to look like:

and not: .

Disillusioned with the hackneyed filtrations, bland dilutions , and plebian marketing of my heroes, I started looking elsewhere. Sin City hit me up at the club and I said "hmmm" really, really loud so she could hear how interested I was. V for Vendetta gave me her number and told me how much ass she kicked while making alliteration hip again. 300 pretty much clubbed me over the head and told me I was coming with her.

Intrigued and concussion-ed, I checked out the graphic novels and let me tell you, the boobs are real. The story-teling that begins and ends, but doesn't really, the graphic-ness of unapologetic violence and sexuality, and the feel (of the graphic novels, not the boobs). It was all there, bottled straight from the source. And as I read more, I finally realized that these graphic novels were the comic books that had grown up with me.

Here's a brief list I've picked up:

Fables by Bill Willingham: Fairy tales that live tucked away in New York City, but this isn't as cheesy as it sounds. The Big Bad Wolf is the town's sheriff and isn't so bad. Pinocchio can't get laid because the fairy screwed him over. Snow White and Prince Charming hate each other. All of 'em, who have to live together because their homeworld was taken over. Find out what happens fairy tale characters stop being polite and start being real. (Read the first chapter here and I have rest if anyone wants to borrow.)

Ex Machina
by Brian Vaughn: The world's only super-hero who becomes the bipartisan mayor of New York City. I only have the first two, but this one is becoming really interesting. I also hear it's becoming a screenplay to be adapted into a movie.

Watchmen by Alan Moore: This is the guy who made Adam West uncool. Also another upcoming movie. This one is about crazy people who become superheroes.

Y: the Last Man also by Brian Vaughn: All the men in the world are wiped out except for a man and his monkey. The oooh-oooh ah-ah kind. I'm picking this set up soon.

Sandman by Neil Gaiman: This one is the Shakespeare of graphic novels that all the other guys try to be like. Still interpreting, but it's about Dream who controls dreams. Uh.. trust me that it's more complicated than that.

Wanted by Mark Millar: Think Fight Club if Project Mayhem was made up of super-villians. The upcoming movie will have Angelina Jolie, so... you know.

That's it! Graphic novels are "an acquired taste, so you better acquire some taste."*

*complements Stephen Colbert.

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