Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Comics For Adults

I'm sure you're all aware that we've got Spider-Man and Batman, but what about stuff for adults? Here are a few phenomenal titles in our collection for mature readers.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Labeling Fun Home as "A Family Tragi-Comic" is completely appropriate. This memoir is a detailed examination of Bechdel's life, her growing up, her awakening to her own sexuality, and the revelation about her father's secret life as a closeted homosexual. Awkward, funny, literate, touching, and absolutely brilliant. Everyone should read this book. And if my enthusiasm for the book isn't reason enough it's also won a TON of awards.

Me and the Devil Blues by Akira Hiramoto

King of the Blues, Robert Johnson, is a shadowy figure in music history. Not much is known about his life, and very few pictures of him even exist. But the legends surrounding him are vast. Hiramoto's work draws on those legends and turns them into a fantastic, dark narrative about a man who made a deal with the devil and became one of the most influential figures in music history. A whopping tome, about three times the size of your average manga, it actually took me two days to read it. But I was engrossed in it utterly. And this is only volume 1!

Good-Bye by Yoshihiro Tatsumi

Tatsumi's work helped to create a different strain of comics in Japan known at "Gekiga." "Gekiga," a phrase coined by Tatsumi, means "dramatic pictures." This is in reaction to the phrase coined by Hokusai "manga," "amusing pictures." Tatsumi's work is challenging. He deals with people and situations that are uncomfortable and compromising. Many of the characters are older men who have lost their sexual prowess, their jobs, their will to live... I would compare Tatsumi's work to the films of Todd Solondz like "Welcome to the Dollhouse" and "Happiness," where the characters are deeply flawed, outcasts, living lives frought with contemplation of their loneliness and despair. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

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