02 June 2008

Graphic Epics Reviewed

Today I'll link to John Hodgman's long review in yesterday's New York Times Book Review of three notable epics in comics form:

I’ll add a confession that goes against the grain of most comics criticism: I never much liked Jack Kirby’s art.

I can see how Kirby’s early work on Captain America with Joe Simon reinvigorated the action-comics form. I admire the length and breadth of his career. I marvel at his vast capacity for work. I appreciate how much Kirby did to invent the “Marvel universe” with Stan Lee in the 1960s. But when I read his 1960s superhero comics as a teenager, most of the faces looked the same, the lines seemed thick and bombastic, and I preferred other artists’ books. (I've come to like Kirby's earlier work more.)

And honestly--naming a character “Scott Free”?

It's like Hemingway, I guess. The man is obviously the most influential American novelist of his generation, greatly changing the style of popular prose (for the better, mostly). That doesn't mean I have to enjoy his novels.

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