Thursday, January 3, 2013

Making the case for graphic novels

     You either love them, hate them, or love to hate them. So many people just assume reading a graphic novel is like reading the comics. BUT, could there be more to it?  

     My young adult lit class started off with a doozey - Zahra's Paradise  by Amir and Khalil

     Like most people I started off thinking - oh, quick read - likely little real content and probably just a cultural interest book. Then a few chapters in I was mortified!  Foul language, disgusting pictures, immoral situations - how could this be in a young adult class?

     Since it was going to be for our first class discussion, I hung in there and finished it, but by the time I was done - it had won me over. I see a huge shift in graphic novels - they are more like art.

     How many people try to impress you by interpreting art? How it gives you a feeling about something - that's what I saw in Zahra's Paradise. You could feel the character's fear through what you hope are over-exaggerated drawings, but then you have to process that the torture that Iranian's went through for challenging their government was real. Also it was easy to see the characters as representations of Iran and their government- like impressionist art.

(Still, I would not recommend this book to any young people unless I was certain they were emotionally mature and would have to be sure their parents were okay with it.)

     I also bought Outlander- The Exile  graphic novel version. When I first heard it was going to be a graphic novel I was horrified. Then I found one in a bargain bin and have to admit, it was fun to read, but to my disappointment, still had the characters drawn like barbie on steroids.As an Outlander fan, it lost so much of its character depth, it really is more just for a change.

       Our class wrapped up with another graphic novel with a much lighter tone Middle School - The Worst Years of my Life by James Patterson. This might make you think Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but it's a got a plot and deeper topic. It was fun to read, but you still got a better feeling for how a middle school-er sees his world - especially the dragon-lady detention teacher.

Anyone else recently converted to graphic novels?  Any recommendations? Love them? Hate them?



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