Are Comic Books…Cool?
We are entering a new era where the ‘nerds’ on Big Bang Theory are making top television ratings, countless blogs are recounting the weekly drama of HBO’s Game of Thrones and The Avengers is killing it at the box offices. Since when did this stuff become mainstream?
Well, whether or not you’re a fan or follower of the superheroes, there’s a lot more to gain in comics than just fighting bad guys. There’s something for everyone.
If you are interested in cultural or historical non-fiction, pick up the Persepolis series by Marjane Satrapi for a graphic, heartbreaking look into the Iranian revolution. Most people with an introductory knowledge of comics have heard of the award winning book Maus by Art Spiegelman and his approach to his father’s experience in the concentration camps of WWII. Joe Sacco, with over twenty years of journalism history has been reporting on war torn nations from Bosnia to Israel, including with his recent book Footnotes in Gaza.
Lynda Barry, a college friend and associate of Simpson’s creator Matt Groening, has been mixing mediums and story telling for over 30 years. She is best known for her series Ernie Pook’s Comeek, as well as many biographical pieces, which Canadian publisher Drawn and Quarterly is looking to fully re-release. Another series which cannot go overlooked is Alison Bechedel’s Dykes to Watch Out For, a funny and awesome look at the daily lives of a ‘regular Joe’ group of lesbian friends. Perhaps following in this lineage comes the work of Vanessa Davis. Her diary like sketches and personal accounts complied in Davis’ latest book Make Me A Woman are whimsical, funny, and thoughtful.
I can’t leave off without mentioning indie comic’s own hero, Daniel Clowes. Most people remember or at least heard of Ghost World or Art School Confidential, both movies based off of Clowes’ comics. He is one of few such artists that have broken into Hollywood. Don’t let his dry humor and cynicism fool you, his attitude and sheer love for comics is obvious in his art, making it some of the most powerful work out there.