Comic Books: the good, the bad, and the #*&%^*@

Did I come across as too much of a snob about comic books?  Oh wait:  I don’t care.  But I will go to my grave defending Archie comics.

Oh, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.

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Amazing!  Astounding!  Hilarious! Heartbreaking!  The first time I read it, I thought it was more depressing than tragic, but I’ve changed my mind.  Have you read this book?  Thoughts?

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11 comments

  1. Interesting. No. I have not read the book but Amazon’s review of it brought back memories of my childhood. My first contact with comics was at a Safeway store.
    I was there to buy a loaf of bread for my mom. WW2 was raging at the time and I used a rationing token to purchase the bread. Talk about austerity!

  2. I tackled it after loving “Yiddish Policeman’s Union,” but didn’t manage to get into it. Maybe I’ll give it another shot.

  3. It’s not my favorite of Michael Chabon’s books (I’m not into comic books either, so it didn’t grab me as much as some others), but I do love him overall because of his well-drawn characters. I just read _Telegraph Avenue_ and was pretty captivated.

    One more reason to love him: when asked how to pronounce his last name, he says it’s “Cha like Shea Stadium and Bon like Bon Jovi.”

  4. I’ve only read the Yiddish Policeman’s Union — didn’t actually know this one was a comic/graphic novel format! The YPU left me with the impression that although there’s a lot of tragedy, he is searching for humor and some goodness or justice too.

  5. Are you talking about the old Archies or do you include the newer Archies where Archie marries Veronica and there’s a gay character?

    I’m afraid that I just am not a fan of the comic book/graphic novel format. Some of the Star Wars expanded universe has been done as graphic novels, so I totally missed it when Leia had her third child and he just suddenly appeared in a novel. I also got really mad when Luke’s wedding was put in a graphic novel. Bleh!!

    I just find having to look at the pictures very distracting, and I just can’t grasp all the depth, nuance, and symbolism of the illustrations so I find graphic novels lacking in character development and extremely unsatisfying.

  6. I read Kavalier and Klay. I’m not a huge reader of comics, but I loved the story. I’ll have to read it again to remember what I loved so much about it. I think it was a part about his little brother trying out a magic trick where he almost drown. I thought the homosexuality was a little forced at the time, but now I don’t.

  7. I loved the book, although I was cringing through a good chunk of it, because I dread reading anything about the Holocaust — it never ever ends well. I mean, I know why it was so central to the plot: lots of early comics writers were Jewish, comic book heroes who punch out Hitler and end the war are a total wish fulfillment, the ridiculous, over-the-top evil of super-villains can’t compare to the massive evil ordinary people commit in real life, etc. But still — so depressing to read!

    Comics and graphic novels are just a form, like novels, short stories, poetry, and plays. In that form, like any other, you will find good, bad, and mediocre, and you will find superhero stuff, fantasy, history, memoir, straight-up fiction, romance, mystery, westerns, etc.

  8. It’s been years since I’ve read it, so I only really remember that I liked it without any particulars. I’m a big fan of Michael Chabon. Have you read “Manhood for Amateurs”? It’s not fiction, it’s a collection of essays and I have too many kids talking to me right now to explain it adequately. It’s really, really good.. I recommend it to people all the time.

  9. This is where I wish I could say “I loved it! He is brilliant and the Pulitzer people think so too!” but I did not like the characters and thought the story was dull. And even as I was reading it and having those thoughts I felt AWFUL because I knew I must be the only person on the planet to think so, and there must be something wrong with me, and I should just stick to Janet Evanovich and keep my mouth shut. But oh well, I read it and for a week my bookbag got to put on airs.

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