On Reading Graphic Novels discussion

Dispatch from the Eisner Awards

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:45AM) (new)

I just returned from Comicon where I had the priviledge of interviewing the amazing Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) on camera for VelvetPark Magazine. www.velvetparkmagazine.com (interview coming soon) She was attending the con to give a panel and attend the Eisner Awards having been nominated for three categories: Best Graphic Novel, Best Writer/Artist and Best Reality Based Work. The year was notable for having more female artist nominations than any previous year - led by Alison...who won the 'Best Reality Based' award. She also gave us one of the evening's highlights, surprising all by planting a kiss on another (willing) female award presentor as an homage to the nominated women and all queer comic artists, a la Madonna and Britney Spears's liplock in that other televised ceremony...

This was a great season for graphic narrative. Time Magazine named "Fun Home" the #1 book of 2006. Not "Comic" or "Graphic Novel" of the year - but best BOOK, which signifies the medium's newfound respect. It's also a watershed year for Alison, who for some 24 years has been an outsider in the field, chronicling the lives and loves of lesbian feminists in her comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For." Now, with acclaim for "Fun Home" and an Eisner Award in her pocket, she has officially been embraced by the mainstream - and an industry traditionally dominated by men. Though perhaps not wholly, as the 'Best Writer / Artist' award went to Paul Pope for the one shot comic, "Batman: Year 100" Personally? Not to offend the superhero fans, but I feel Bechdel was robbed in this category.

All counted, It was a step forward for women AND minorities. The 'Best Graphic Novel' award went to "American Born Chinese" by Gene Luen Yang - whom I also had the chance to meet, and I found him very gracious. I've heard great word-of-mouth regarding Yang's book, a fable about self acceptance; I'm looking forward to checking it out!

Happy reading!

message 2: by Tita (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:45AM) (new)

Tita | 1 comments Fun Home and ABC are among the top of my list! How cool that you met both creators. Looking forward to reading the interview.

message 3: by Treebeer'd (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:46AM) (new)

Treebeer'd | 1 comments I look forward to seeing the interview. I loved Fun Home.

message 4: by Rob (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Rob McMonigal | 10 comments Fun Home was great, glad to see it won an Eisner.

Batman Year 100 was really good, though, so I don't have a problem with it winning overall. Sometimes I think the non-superhero graphic novel readers are just as bad as only-superhero graphic novel readers at failing to see the other side's virtues. ;)

I have to admit, I find Yang's work a bit too preachy for my taste, though I did really like American Born Chinese.

message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Trebro - touche! I admit I automatically thought it was a lesser work because it was a superhero comic. In truth I haven't even read it myself. I've heard mixed things about it...but you're right, I should give the superheros a chance. I'm reading Watchmen now...does that count? ;-)

message 6: by Alien (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Alien  Citizen | 46 comments Mod
Kent, Watchmen definitely counts. In fact, this is _the_ place to start. Moore pioneered the depiction of superheroes in popular fiction as multi-dimensional characters who were not each clearly on the side of good or evil. The morality of his characters is always in question. This is the challenge that faces writers of all genres and subgenres...to write stories that tell of the richness and complexity of people and of their interactions with each other and all the elements of the worlds they inhabit. I don't think that there has been _any_ genre invented yet that could box in a truly creative writer such that they were incapable of telling a rich and relevant story within that formulaic structure. Sometimes it just takes a little more to do so...

Traditionally, I don't think superhero tales have been very descriptive or enlightening in any way...however, I don't think this is a requirement of the medium...it's a reflection of the pressures of writing stories for the big profit-mongers such as Marvel, DC, etc., whose primary mission is just to make as many more bucks as possible.

message 7: by Isman (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:52AM) (new)

Isman | 1 comments I used to stop reading superhero comics for some time. I was just sick of the two-dimensional characters. And how the writers seemed to depend too much on their special powers for plots and action.

I switched to manga because I fell in love in how the artists (at least some of them, like Mitsuru Adachi) use normal characters in ordinary settings. Later I became acquainted with comics labeled as "graphic novels" that portray similar storytelling elements. Marjane Satrapi or Joe Sacco to name a few. I even wondered why interesting titles such as 100 Bullets or Bone get labeled as comics, just because they were published on TP. To me, the only difference was the binding.

That was the time when Identity Crisis kicked in. The series rejuvenated my passion in superhero comics. Then Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and the Suicide Squad kept the spirit ablaze.

I think it's all the same for any type of comics (in my country, Indonesia, we don't really care what people call them--graphic novels, comics, manga--to us readers, they're all comics): just a matter of careful selection. We'll just need to pick the stories that really touch us.

message 8: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:53AM) (new)

Jason FUN HOME and ABC...what an Eisner Showdown. I'm glad both books one major awards, they're certainly two of the better books from last year. I'm also happy that David Peterson won the newcomer award. Mouseguard is a fantastic book and Dave is a great guy.

As far as getting robbed...SKYSCRAPERS OF THE MIDWEST is one of the best comics to come out in the past several years. Now, I love BATMAN/SPIRIT and I love Darwyn Cooke but...Cotter should have won best single issue.

message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:53AM) (new)

Alien! Thanks for your enlightening message re: Watchmen! I'm even more excited to read it now.

message 10: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:09PM) (new)

Hey guys,

My video interview with Alison Bechdel at Comic Con 2007 is now posted online at www.velvetparkmagazine.com it also has portions of her giving a panel presentation and winning her award at the Eisners. Hope you like it!


message 11: by Alien (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:09PM) (new)

Alien  Citizen | 46 comments Mod
Great article, Kent! Thanks for sharing it. Everyone, here is the direct link to the story: http://www.velvetparkmagazine.com/blo...

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