Archive for the 'Graphic novels' Category

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Y: The Last Man
Pia Guerra and Brian K. Vaugan

Why I liked this book: Y: The Last Man, by Pia Guerra and Brian K. Vaugan, falls neatly into my long history of loving the story that tells us what happens after the world ends. I’m a big fan of The Stand, Alas Babylon, and A Canticle for Liebowitz, also, all of which ask that same question — if we fall prey to disease by the billions, blow up the world, or, again, blow up the world, what happens next? What becomes of the survivors? Y asks those same questions, but with a different perspective. What happens when all the men die? Specifically, it looks at what happens to the government, the military, and all the industries where women are highly underrepresented, and then it asks the best question of all: Why is Yorick still alive? And what happens to the one last man mysteriously walking the earth?

Lots of stuff, is what.

This ongoing story blends the best of the serial comic with serious issues — gender issues, political issues, moral issues — to produce a gripping adventure tale, complex and endearing heroes, and thought-provoking questions and situations.

If you still think comics are just for kids, I dare you to give this one a try. (If you’re in Potsdam, Tim’s Comic and Game can hook you up, as can Amazon and other internet vendors. But support your local comic shop!)

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Title: Persepolis
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Genre: Memoir

Why I liked this book: Satrapi’s memoir of her life from ages 6-13 is a story worth reading in a time when we could all benefit from learning more about Iran, revolutionary governments, and the human toll of war. To quote from the publisher’s description of this graphic novel,

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and of the enormous toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Marjane’s child’s-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family.

Satrapi’s tale of her childhood is by turns an instructive lesson in the tumultuous political and cultural history of Iran, an extraordinarily funny tale of childhood and rebellion, and a gutwrenching exploration of the cost of war and regime change. Satrapi (and her translators) have written a story that, in conjunction with the stark but never spare black-and-white images, brings a sadly gripping story to life, with enough humor and familiarity that the tragic events of Iranian history don’t overwhelm the reader. But they will probably make you think, and, if you’re like me, make you wish you knew more. (Fortunately, Satrapi has continued the family saga in Persepolis 2 and Embroideries.)