06 February 2008

Once more, with pictures!

This week I read something I don't normally read: A comic-book series!

I read this in part because my boyfriend loves comic books (like this one) and when he described the series TERMINAL CITY to me, it sounded like the premise for a cool dystopic novel. Terminal City looks like a modern city with a lot of Art Deco skyscrapers and blimps, but it's all a facade: No building has gone on in five years, vast areas of the city have emptied out and political control rests in the hands of the few and evil. Cosmo Quinn used to wow the masses with his "Human Fly" stunts climbing buildings; now he's a window washer, spying on people in a hotel and wishing his ex-girlfriend hadn't kept his superhero suit. Then one day he sees a mysterious man with a briefcase chained to his wrist being chased by goons, and things start to get really interesting. It's a little bit Tintin and a lot of noirish intrigue.

Because I'm not used to the graphic form, this book forced me to -- slow -- down -- a -- LOT. I'm usually a fast reader, and unlike Alice of Wonderland I have no trouble paying attention to books with no pictures in them, but it wasn't easy for me to absorb the information presented in the pictures as well as in the dialogue and captions. Unlike, say, a Dickens novel with occasional illustration, if you skip panels, even those without words in them, you quickly start missing out on clues and information. In some cases I even had to flip back several pages when characters I didn't recognize re-entered the scene.

Despite my discomfort with the form, I enjoyed TERMINAL CITY and I definitely want to try reading more comics and graphic novels in the future, perhaps Neil Gaiman's Sandman series (one volume of which I have read; they're all related but not exactly sequential) or Alison Bechdel's award-winning graphic novel FUN HOME. If you have read a great graphic novel or set of comic books, please let me know.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Girl Genius!

Adventure! Romance! Mad Science!

Of course, Vol. 8 has just started and there is no closure in sight.


The Dark Knight Returns was also very good, if you do like closure. And Batman.