Tag: comics

Are Comics Real Literature?

I recall a conversation that I had with my mother. I just returned from Barnes & Nobles with the final The Walking Dead compendium under my arm, and he asked me how I, an individual she considers quite well read in the classics of literature, can read something intended for children. While that may be a paraphrase of how exactly that interaction occurred, the implication of her inability to understand the value of a comic struck me.

It didn’t take me long to realize why my mother thought this way. She was born in the 60’s, the height of Betty and Veronica, the time when the only place you saw comics were on the magazine rack in a drug store, not amongst the works of great novelists in a bookstore. It was the time of Adam West’s Batman and, as she grew older, Lou Ferrigno’s The Incredible Hulk. In short, comics and comic characters were seen as nothing short of mindless children’s entertainment with nothing substantial to provide a grown adult with. They weren’t taken seriously.

Yet are they taken seriously now? Most definitely. You only have to look at Marvel Studios and see how influential their movies have been to modern pop culture. People openly wept when Tony Stark sacrificed himself at the end of Endgame. People furiously petitioned to shut down Rotten Tomatoes because they gave a negative review to Batman v. Superman. People even started using the “Wakanda Forever” salute from Black Panther as a symbol to celebrate black excellence, influencing the future of an entire political movement. I think it’s safe to say that people take the comic world very, very seriously.

But what about the books? Do those hold the same substance as the movies? Does Marvel Comics have the capacity to elicit the same emotions from their readers as Marvel Studies does with their audience? I believe firmly that the answer is yes. In Hulk: The End, Bruce Banner (and, by extension, the Hulk) is the last survivor of a nuclear holocaust. An old man now, and with only a floating camera left by an alien race to document the demise of the human species to talk to, Bruce aimlessly wanders what’s left of the world. Not only does Hulk: The End provide the reader with a beautiful character study of Bruce Banner, Hulk and the relationship the two have, but it also evokes the legend of Prometheus at the end (I won’t tell you why, though, so you go find the comic online for yourself!)

Image via Dark Age of Comics

Yet are comics books taken as seriously as the movies? While, over the years, the comic book industry has been booming (In 2015, the comic book industry in North America was worth over one billion dollars), there’s still a stigma attached to the medium, especially for the older generations. Despite this, comic books still hold just as much substance as novels, and are, most definitely, literature.

 

featured image via verge

The Amazing Book Covers of Kavalier and Clay

It has been 20 years since Michael Chabon’s legendary novel was published on September 19th, 2000. In that short time, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay has won a Pulitzer Prize, and many many other awards.

The book follows two cousins, Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, as they reunite when Joe comes to America to escape Nazi Europe. The pair combine their skills, Joe the artist, and Sam the writer, to navigate the newfound world of comic books. It follows their careers, and intertwined love lives: Sam struggles with his queerness in a time when it wasn’t accepted and Joe falls in love with a woman he can’t have. Chabon lets readers into a world that is torn by war and patches it with the love and creative connection that the two cousins share.

It is incredible that in only 20 years the book has become a modern American classic. But, what is more incredible is the number of book covers that it has gone through.

There is a quote in the book that reads, “Forget about what you are escaping from. Reserve your anxiety for what you are escaping to.” Here are the TAAOKAC book covers. There are so many of them and they are all amazing. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but hopefully, after seeing these, TAAOKAC will be something you want to reserve your anxiety for and escape into.

Happy 20th.

1. The first edition published by Random House in 2000

image via amazon

2. The 2001 paperback edition with Houdini on the cover

image via goodreads

3. the post-Pulitzer edition in august 2001

image via goodreads

4. The Italian Edition in 2001

image via goodreads

5. the Swedish edition in 2002

image via goodreads

6. the german edition in 2004

image via goodreads

7. the french edition in 2004

image via goodreads

8. the Chinese edition in 2012

image via goodreads

9. the rebranding of all Chabon books to look this way in 2012

image via goodreads

10. the polish edition in 2019

image via goodreads

11. the new paperback edition in 2012

image via goodreads

12. the gorgeous limited edition illustrated edition that costs $135

image via the folio society

 

featured image via empireonline.com

Five Famous Bears Whose Stories Are “Just Right!”

September 9th is National Teddy Bear Day and we're celebrating it by highlighting some of our favorite bears from over the years. Click to read up on five famous bears in literature and television!

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