24 June 2007

Graphic Novels, Some More Graphic Than Others

This will be COMICS WEEK at Oz and Ends since I’ve built up a bunch of thoughts on that topic and have nowhere else to put them.

To start, here are two links related to recent comics uniting Dorothy Gale of the Oz books, Wendy Darling from Peter Pan, and Alice from Lewis Carroll's dream adventures.

ImageText, an online journal of "interdisciplinary comics studies," has released an issue on Comics & Childhood. Among the items is a roundtable discussion of Lost Girls, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Melinda Gebbie. Contributions from moderator Philip Sandifer, Kenneth Kidd, Chris Eklund, Charles Hatfield, and Meredith Collins include sexually explicit language and topics, of course.

Hatfield concludes about Lost Girls:

Many who merely hear about it will be offended by the very idea. But, to be honest, the novel's revisionist and erotic take on Alice, Wendy, and Dorothy isn't that radical. This kind of take has already been prepared for – even in comics, where revisionist if not erotic treatments of Alice and Oz are common to the point of dullness. . . .

Unfortunately, as a novel Lost Girls strikes me as fundamentally unpersuasive. It seems to me that Moore & Gebbie have trouble getting beyond the titillating "novelty" of reinterpreting their source stories pornographically, and I can't escape the feeling that, for all its smarts, handsomeness, and high hopes, the project is a boondoggle. . . .

Yet from a novelistic viewpoint, I think Lost Girls obviously, spectacularly, fails. It fails to do something genuinely subversive with the art of pornography, that is, it fails to tell a credibly human story. Instead of such a story, it offers a baroque monument to the idea of sexual-cum-spiritual freedom – pursued naively, unrelentingly, and at exhausting length.
The other responses are more admiring of the enterprise. Everyone likes Gebbie's art.

In less high-falutin' news, the third issue of Cheshire Crossing is now available on the web. Click on the thumbnail above to go right to it. Writer-artist Andy Weir is shifting among the three heroines with every switch of a page. Interesting that in this digital medium the single page is the defining unit, as opposed to the page spread.

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