Thursday, May 08, 2003

Allow me to repeat myself

In the last couple of days I have read three graphic novels. Well, actually two. One of the books I read was a collection of monthly comics bound into a book form but it read like a graphic novel.

I have to say that I am more and more impressed with the quality of writing and artwork in these newer comics. Some of them are stunning pieces of work that have involved a lot of imagination and effort.

I finished up today a graphic novel writting by Kurt Busiek that was illustrated with realism by Alex Ross called "Marvels." These names are new to me. Like I said, I am late in appreciating the artistry that has been occuring in comics. This book traces the history of the Marvel comic universe from 1939 until the death of Spiderman's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. I think this took place in the late sixties because I read the graphic novel with the original surprisingly boring of the Gwen Stacy death and it included a fairly disingenuous story of drug addiction. The treatment of the drug addiction in the comic reminded me of how the old TV show Dragnet treated the same type of storyline.

The graphic novel Marvels is an amazing retelling of the history of the Marvel universe. It works on the same level as The Lord of the Rings and the first Star Wars movie wherein all the action is viewed through the eyes of those deemed the weakest. The history of Marvel is told throught he eyes of a photojournalist who is just starting out in 1939 and is on the verge of retirement by the time Gwen Stacy dies while Spiderman is battling the Green Goblin. I have to give kudos to Busiek for giving the character of Gwen a much better treatment than she was given in the original story. In this graphic novel her death is tragic rather than a convenient story line. It's a masterpiece.

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