In the Blog
Why Graphic Novels are Awesome
Persepolis. The Boondocks. Dykes to Watch Out For. Archie: The Married Life. American Born Chinese. Skim. When Worlds Collide: A Boys’ Love Comic Anthology.
These are a few titles in my collection of adult comics and graphic novels.
Comics? Graphic novels? Archie, you say? I have heard about using art to portray feminist, gay-positive messaging but seriously? Comics are for kids!
I grew up reading Archie comics; before bed, after scary movies, in the “library” (a.k.a bathroom!) So it was easy for me to get into comics and graphic novels as a teen and adult but there are a couple more reasons I want to share my collection with you.
First, graphic novels can be easier to read. Graphic novels can make it easier to engage with the information, using pictures alongside story lines. The comic or graphic format can also make hard information to take in a much easier process. As a reader, a feminist and somewhat of an academic (i.e. I can read some school-y books and understand them), graphic novels and comics make information about feminism, anti-racism, war, violence and current events so much easier to understand and frankly, take in.
The first graphic novel I ever read was Persepolis. It’s a story about writer and artist Marjane Satrapi and her experience growing up in Iran; during the Islamic Revolution, the first war on Iraq and her immigration to Vienna to stay safe. Some of the content is not easy to read as her story reveals sexism against Iranian girls, war and displacement from her family home. At the same time, Satrapi shares the most intimate details with us, opening up to share what she saw with her drawings, making them more palatable to us, and easier to see her experiences through her eyes.
The other reason I think some comics and graphic novels are so rad is novels such as these include art, i.e. drawing. Drawing the ideas, the story helps us see the story in different way than just reading it. Take The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book by Gord Hill. This is his depiction of the many fights for sovereignty and land by many different nations of Indigenous people. With Hill’s drawings you can see the differences between each Nation and Clan of peoples fighting for their land, safety and freedom. I think this helps us as settlers, in understanding the differences between the hundreds of Nations of Native people across Turtle Island. Through drawing the histories of Indigenous peoples these struggles are made more accessible to readers of all levels. Using art can be an accessible way to share a common understanding of the same idea.
Graphic novels are my besties. I love holding a big book on my chest at bedtime. I love the way the vivid colours and intricate drawings throw my eyes all over the page. And I love the way graphic novelists and adult comics take real life stories and ideas and feed them back to us in a way that can be easier to read, see and understand.
**I looked for links for free downloads of novels but this was a challenge for 2 reasons: 1.) This is peoples’ art so they are less likely to give it away for free on the web and 2.) There weren’t many trustworthy links to share upon my research. Try and buy artists’ work or borrow from the library! It’s worth it!**
My Graphic Novel/Comic Collection ~ Your Starter List!
Skim ~ Words by Mariko Tamaki, Drawings by Jilliam Tamaki American Born Chinese ~ Gene Luen Yang Persepolis ~ Marjane Satrapi Archie: Will You Marry Me? ~ Written by Michael Uslan, Pencils by Stand Goldberg, Inking by Bob Smith, Letters by Jack Morelli, Colouring by Glenn Whitmore Archie: The Married Life (Volumes 1-3) ~ Written by Paul Kupperberg, Pencils by Fernando Ruiz, Pat & Tim Kennedy, Inking by Al Milgrom & Bob Smith, Letters by Janice Chiang & Jack Morelli and Colouring by Glenn Whitmore
A Right to be Hostile ~ Aaron McGruder Public Enemy #2 ~ Aaron McGruder The Boondocks: All the Rage ~ Aaron McGruder The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book ~ Gord Hill When Worlds Collide: A Boys’ Love Comic Anthology ~ Edited By Kellie Lynch, Multiple artists Dykes to Watch Out For: Dykes and Sundry Other Carbon-Based Life-Forms to Watch Out For ~ Alison Bechdel You Don’t Have to Fuck People Over to Survive ~ Seth Tobocman Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection ~ Edited by Matt Dembicki