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Intelligent Conversation About Comics

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Intelligent Conversation About Comics

Old 04-20-04, 09:58 AM
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Intelligent Conversation About Comics

It seems like we have some educated comic readers here at DVDtalk so I thought I'd share with you what we're doing at paperbackreader.com.

We're attempting to open the door to in-depth and intellectual conversations about comics and graphic novels. In essence, we're experimenting with an online book club. At first glance, it won't look much different then a regular forum thread, but we hope to keep the conversations focused. We'll have the usual discussions of art and story, but also dig a little deeper into themes and morals of the work, as well as any impact the book might have on society.

Every month, we plan to choose a title that's had a significant impact on the world of comics. These books might be "important" comics, or they might just serve up a rip-roaring good time. We'll post the title of the book for discussion at the beginning of every month, and once everyone has had a chance to read it, we'll open a forum discussion that centers on the book's specific merits.

The first book we'll look at is BLANKETS by Craig Thompson. Discussion opens on May 16th and runs as long as necessary. Information about the book club and the first book can be found at http://www.paperbackreader.com/bookclub.htm I would appreciate it if you stopped by and offered your comments once the discussion is opened. This experiment may or may not work, but I think if we get enough people who are interested in improving the way we talk about comics, then the idea might
blossom into something great.
Old 04-21-04, 08:26 AM
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I'll be sure to check in when discussion opens, sounds like an interesting idea. Nice pick on opening with Blankets.
Old 04-21-04, 10:50 AM
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Just started reading it last night. Amazing stuff.

Thanks for the support, elias!
Old 04-21-04, 07:51 PM
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I'll take a look, too.

Blankets was a great read.
Old 04-21-04, 10:42 PM
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You know I'll always throw my support your way J.P. but Blankets isn't my kind of comic. I read comics for the type of wild over-the-top stories you can't get anywhere else. Superheroes & larger than life battles & pushing the visual envelope with art, I could never get into slice-of-life comics like Blankets. I'm sure it's good, but I'll read a book or watch a movie if I want that type of story.
Old 04-22-04, 08:33 AM
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Sessa, I'm with you at least partially. I read comics for the action and adventure too. In essence, I read them for the fun. For 20 minutes, I like to get away from my life. But I'm learning to enjoy graphic novels in a way that I enjoy certain "real life" novels and films.

I seriously think that graphic novels can take the comic medium to the next level. They can help bridge the gap between your typical comic reader and the rest of the literary world.
Old 04-22-04, 09:26 AM
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Sessa, different strokes for different folks I always say. If you don't like "slice of life" comics that is absolutely your perogative but you mention that you look to movies or books for that type of story. Don't sell comics short! I see comics as every bit as viable a medium for the communication of the same sort of stories and genres presented in film or traditional literature.

I'll read Ultimate Spider-Man for superhero adventure then Lone Wolf and Cub for a little cross-cultural samurai manga then Plastic Man for some comedy, on to Ruse for mystery, to Wilderness for historical drama and Sgt Rock for war action, Blankets for a bit of "slice of life" drama.

With comics showing up in libraries nowadays I'd recommend you give books like Blankets or Jimmy Corrigan a chance. You may be surprised!

James, I used to buy a ton of comics every month back in the early to mid 90's (which have gone largely unread. I'd buy most of the Image comics despite having never read a single issue of any Image book to this day!) but now I'm down to a handful (Plastic Man, Ultraman Tiga mini series (nostalgia, y'know), & Conan). All the other comics material I buy is in graphic novel/trade paperback/hardcover collections, which I find a much more satisfying read. Times are changing and the industry will have to find a way to change with them. It has gotten to the point where publishers release comics and then collect trades of the most popular. They make money off the "double dip", collectors who bought the comics and subsequently buy the trade as well. What I expect will start to happen is that people will stop buying the comics and wait for the trades in such numbers that it will impact the current philosophy of printing trades of well selling titles. The industry is going to have to start to consider publishing original material trade paperbacks rather than the monthly periodical format sometime in the future. Now, I hope comics in periodical format never go away completely but I personally think tpb's are the way to go.
Old 04-22-04, 06:24 PM
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Originally posted by elias
Sessa, different strokes for different folks I always say. If you don't like "slice of life" comics that is absolutely your perogative but you mention that you look to movies or books for that type of story. Don't sell comics short! I see comics as every bit as viable a medium for the communication of the same sort of stories and genres presented in film or traditional literature.

I don't get me wrong, J.P, can vouch that I'm the last person to sell comics short. I just don't like realistic stories in comic books, it's not what I go to the medium for. Particularly a book like Blankets where I find the art to be very bland, comics are a visual medium so that, for me, is what comes first. You can take out the words, & still have a brilliant sequential tale, but if you put the art on the back burner, then for me, the comic has little appeal, a book like Blankets, the art is not what is important. I read some of it, but like I said, it's not for me & not what I like about the medium of the sequantial artform.
Old 04-23-04, 10:22 AM
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Yeah, I'd personally be more interested in this type of thing if we were talking about a superhero comic book arc (or multiple arcs on different books) or something other than a 500+ page graphic novel. I understand they have their place in the medium, but I'm with Sessa on this one.
Old 04-23-04, 11:38 AM
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Well, our plan is to open intellectual conversations about all sorts of books. I just chose BLANKETS because it's a recent book that was getting critical acclaim and I wanted to read it.

I plan to use MAUS next, then the following one would be a more "fun" book. Not sure which yet, but something cool for sure. Just like movies and novels, comics have a wide range of stories to choose from.

I just wanted to start something for those who like to talk about comics in a deeper sense then trivial "Chuck Austen sucks" type of threads.

I value everyone's input here at DVDtalk. Although there aren't many comic threads, but the ones we do get are much more educated than most other sites.
Old 04-23-04, 12:56 PM
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I was going to mention MAUS, then saw your last message!

The Sandman series invites conversation as well.
Old 04-23-04, 12:58 PM
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A fun book? Well, for us DC Silver Age fans, the Alan Moore "Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" story that ended the "Crisis period" before Byrne's revamp invites tons of conversation - both of the Superman of the past as well as what was to come thereafter.
Old 04-23-04, 03:16 PM
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Originally posted by Seeker
A fun book? Well, for us DC Silver Age fans, the Alan Moore "Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" story that ended the "Crisis period" before Byrne's revamp invites tons of conversation - both of the Superman of the past as well as what was to come thereafter.
Agreed

I would also like to see Sandman added to the list.
Old 04-24-04, 01:57 AM
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This is a good idea and Blankets is a great choice. I really like slice-of-life stories and I have trouble finding them outside of comics.

BTW I just saw this and thought it was interesting: http://www.topshelfcomix.com/catalog...e=12&title=410
Old 04-24-04, 04:01 AM
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I really liked Blankets - as someone who thinks Comics are oversaturated with action/super-heroes, I welcome good conversation about alternative genres.

Yes, comics are a visual medium. But so are movies, and they don't make only action films do they? The art in Blankets is perfect for the story it's trying to tell.

As for future conversation-subjects, I would suggest keeping your selections 'current' for maximum participation. Something less than a year old.
Old 04-26-04, 01:17 PM
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I'm in - I just purchased Blankets and am looking forward to the discussion. Great job, JP.

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