Lately I have been trying to read more graphic novels/comics, mostly because it seems like it's the one area of fiction I'm not very experienced with. I read Jimmy Corrigan the Smartest Kid on Earth, and I'm reading the Scott Pilgrim series and I absolutely loved both of them. I read a couple of different comic books when I was a kid, but I never really got into them much. Then I picked this book up when Borders was having their closing sale.
The book is about a whiny teenager named Dave who decides to become a superhero. He buys a wetsuit off of ebay and goes off to fight crime! In his quest to stop evil while getting famous, he meets other real-life superheroes and shenanigans ensue.
I have to admit, I only bought this book because I thought the movie was amazing. It was definitely a very faithful adaptation in a lot of ways. I just don't think I was ready for it. Maybe after I get through medical school and become a bit less squeamish, I could handle the artwork. A lot of the violence seemed gratuitous and simply there to shock the reader. I may have been able to handle it if it was coming from someone other than a little ten year old girl, but it was just too much for me. It was just too gruesome. I was also incredibly disturbed by the entire father-daughter relationship. I don't know why, but it didn't seem as awful in the movie. She was obviously very tough and fascinating, but so deprived and sad at the same time. As someone who hasn't had much experience with comic books in the past, I have to say, I was amazed by the sheer amount of emotion that can be expressed with so little words. The drawings of Hit Girl were definitely my favorite parts of the book, both in artwork and in story. On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have Dave who just seems obsessed with fame. At one point, he asks why people aspire to be like Paris Hilton and not Spiderman, and it seems like a genuine, heartfelt moment. Right until he starts going on and on about his fans, and his myspace page, and his fame. He doesn't seem super intent on doing good, he just wants the recognition. Which seems very Hiltonesque to me. Oh well, he's a flawed character, it's not exactly a shock. I just find him a bit annoying. Especially after he went and got himself beat up again right after his dad had to pay all his hospital bills, and take care of him for months. To be completely fair, the story wouldn't have been remotely interesting if it ended with him burning up all his comics and hanging up his costume for good. It just seems a bit closer to what an actual human with a heart would do, I guess. I know, I'm a giant baby. Anyway, onto the less annoying things. The artwork was incredible. I was somehow enjoying the drawings of people's brains pouring out of their heads, while being revolted by the violence at the same time. Some scenes were a bit too explicit for my taste, but in fairness, it did give me a warning on the back cover. I really enjoyed reading this. I read it all in one sitting, which isn't exactly impressive considering how short it is. Although I had a lot of really big issues with the story, It was a visually stunning, and very entertaining story. Hit girl is the best character in the book, and if the story revolved around her it would be even better. Although it might be too violent, gory, and depressing for anyone to ever read. I guess I understand the justification of having Dave be the main character. I am really starting to see the benefits of comics as a fictional medium. They can really convey a lot. I've always had the misconception that comics aren't exactly the most intelligent thing to read. I have to say, lately I feel really stupid about thinking that way. There is a lot out there that I have been missing out on just because I didn't really understand it.