Author Topic: Graphic Novels  (Read 1511 times)

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Graphic Novels
« on: October 01, 2003, 08:54:44 PM »
Ok, so I made some purchases last week.
Supergirl: Wings
JLA: League of One
Batman: Hong Kong

I bought the first because Peter David made her a great character. One of the most interesting in DCU's line up.
Wings wasn't a disappointment. It's an elseworld title meaning it will have nothing to do with "official" continuity and that the character might have nothing to do with the official character. The cover was really cool. They made matrix and Linda two separate characters, and gave Linda back the life she had pre-Supergirl. Then they made Matrix (Supergirl) an angel.
A literal angel. The conclusion was a little too... well... sentimental I guess. But the art was an interesting set of colors and an unusal style, and most of the writing was very interesting. It was a good buy for a 50-page, no avertisement, prestige format full color ($6). Art: interesting. Writing: Mostly good.

League of One:
I bought this one for one reason only. The cover art on the hardcover version was incredible (but I bought softcover to save $10). Wonder Woman going toe-to-toe with a dragon that took down Supes, Bats, GL, Flash, MM and Aquaman already?  Sign me up.
Don't judge a book by it's cover, folks. While the internal art is still pretty much what the cover led me to expect, the JLA isn't taken out by a dragon. The writing gives you a lot of expectations. It plays heavily on truth v. lies, using WW's lariat of truth as a key turning point. There's some really cool ideas here. But they all get turned down. When you have an icon representing truth, and she tells even a little white lie and betrays her friends even with the best of motives, you've got to have some consequences for that when she faces the epitomy of falsehood and her lies are suposedly revealed  -- but those lies are conveniently ignored, and well, the day is saved when wonder woman uses her superhuman strength to crush the dragon's heart. Bleh. The most consequences she faces are when Superman pouts and won't speak to her for 4 panels, then whines at her for 4 more. Talk about lame. Also there's a prophecy that whoever defeats the dragon will die. This is averted because Superman shows up in time to do... uh... CPR. Again, very lame. Now we can never, ever take a prophecy seriously in Wonder Woman, because they just don't come true. It'd be fine if the writer got out of it by Delphic vagaries, but the prophecy is pretty plain. This one also paid some gratuitous homage to Kingdom Come (all DCU graphic novels are required to do this now), but while it wasn't entirely necessarily, it wasn't bludgeoned, so it works all right. So, Art good, writing promising good, but ending up bad.

Hong Kong:
By far the best, which makes me happy because it was a) the one I paid the most for (it's in hard cover) and b) the one I had the most doubts about. The art sometimes got to me. Some panels are reminiscent of Alex Ross' work (especially on Kingdom Come) but in other panels more like Akira. Not that either was bad, but their different styles. And they don't always work together when mixed on the same page. I think it bears another read to see if there's a patter to the changing styles. The writing was nothing to rave on and on about, but with one scene's exception, it was pretty solid. Overview is that Batman is caught up in an investigation in a snuff film with clues leading to Hong Kong's triad gangs. So Bats goes to the source. There he inspires a Chinese Version of himself. This'd be great for a Jackie Chan flick, though generally it's a bit more serious than that, and of course, it almost requires the Batman character because of the themes Night Dragon embraces. It looks at both sides of the law in HK and uses some oriental outlook. I was pleased through the whole thing.

Lieutenant Kije

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2003, 01:25:08 AM »
I was in B. Dalton the other day, and it had been awhile since I'd been in any bookstore, and I saw a big old book by Card (O.S.) with art buy another guy called Robota.  From the brief perusal that I gave it it looked like a novel, but with a big focus on graphics and artwork.  Anyone more familiar with it?  

http://www.hatrack.com/osc/books/robota.shtml

Now I know what a graphic novel is, so what might you call that?  An art novel?  An illustrated novel?  Or would you classify it along with the other graphic novels, but with more novel and less graphic?  Or just a wierd novel for your coffee table?  Or what?

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2003, 08:35:36 AM »
I can't tell. I'll look it up on Amazon and see if I can learn more. Basically, the question is whether the text can stand independent of the pictures, or if the pictures are essential to following the meaning of the text. In the latter case (complete text but with illustrations), then it's a graphic novel/graphic story/sequential art/what have you (we haven't decided on a solid scholarly term for the mode). If it's the first case, then it's an illustrated novel.

Lieutenant Kije

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2003, 11:42:45 AM »
Text can stand independent of the pictures.  Okay.  Thanks!  I don't know either, but it sure is nice to have a fairly solid categorical rule in the muddle that genre definition has become, lately.   :)

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2003, 11:49:18 AM »
I've just recently found some more literature on the subject, but as far as I can tell, there are only three published people (only two of them well known) who have concerned themselves at ALL with the definition of the form, which, as I've found, is fundamental to a discussion of how important the mode is and how you can read and get the most out of it.

So anyway, the definition I've given you there is probably subject to some argument, but that's a functional definition that Scott McCloud and I would work with. I hesitate to say that Eisner would too, but I *think* he would. The thing is, graphic novels don't even require words. So, by extention, the pictures have to be functional, not just decorative for it to be a graphic novel. Where you place the line between decoration and function, well, that's highly debateable.

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2003, 04:56:00 PM »
Okay.  You know, if only three have published, you could too and become a leader in the field.  It's that easy!  Something for the resume at least.

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2003, 05:13:55 PM »
I am. I'm the one no one knows about. :) (actually, I'm not sure my paper actually GOT INTO the LTUE procedings that I presented at, but I count it anyway).

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2003, 10:10:05 PM »
Throw it up as an article on TWG in the books section.  If you think it would fit.

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2003, 10:18:32 PM »
I may some time.
Right now I'm rather more worried about keeping up with my reviews, and the two side TWG projects I have, as well as compiling my Arthurian reading list.

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2003, 06:51:52 PM »
Aha! This thread looks appropriate. A friend of mine is running a comic book site, and while I'm not so interested myself, I figured some of you may be. It's a PHP-Nuke site, fairly well done, and they have articles and reviews that you comic nuts will probably find interesting:
http://www.grottytrailer.com/
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The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2003, 07:33:21 PM »
hrm... if I ever had mroe time to just hang out online, I might check that out.

fuzzyoctopus

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2003, 07:56:17 PM »
I would just like to interject that your mention of Peter David reminded me of a very amusing incident when The Hulk came out.

We were at Wal-Mart and J.T. saw the novelization of the movie, (a novel about a movie about a comic book???) was written by Peter David and commented on it.
I was incredulous.  

Me: "Peter David?? Why on earth would he write the book?"
J.T.:  "Um because he wrote a lot of the series?"
Me: "He writes COMIC BOOKS?
J.T. "Yeah, what else does he do?"
Me: "He writes the best star trek novels in existence!"


It was great.  I thought he was just a sci-fi fantasy novelist, and J.T. thought he was just a comic book author.  We were both greatly impressed by the new knowledge.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2003, 07:58:01 PM by fuzzyoctopus »
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Entsuropi

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2003, 08:17:51 PM »
Quote

"He writes the best star trek novels in existence!"


A lofty title for sure.
If you're ever in an argument and Entropy winds up looking staid and temperate in comparison, it might be time to cut your losses and start a new thread about something else :)

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2003, 09:29:01 PM »
They really were pretty good.  He's the only ST writer that stood out to me back in the day when I read them (ie, back when I was 14.)
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The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Graphic Novels
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2003, 09:59:23 PM »
His "Knight..." series and Sir Apropos... are better than any Star Trek. He's made quite a name for himself writing novels already. He'd already done a Hulk novel before the movie came out.