The book group I’m a member of had a good time a couple of nights ago discussing graphic novels – a discussion that somehow morphed into the proposal that we should put on a play (possibly improvised on the spot) at our next meeting.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, whose work I first got to know through her excellent Dykes To Watch Out For comic strips, was the book officially under discussion. We have our best discussions when there’s a range of opinions about the book in question – as there was this time; some of us loved it, others weren’t so sure. It had been a little while since I read it, and I didn’t get to do so again before the group met, but I enjoyed it very much that first time. It’s darker and more obviously personal than the DTWOF books, and cuts deeply into family traumas.
We then got on to talking about graphic novels & comics we had known, all the was from The Trigan Empire to Maus by way of Buffy Season 8 (now up to Volume 3: Wolves at the Gate) and Watchmen.
When most of us in the group were young, comics were at best tolerated by most adults as fodder for the children. I remember the fuss when I was at high school over the Classics Illustrated versions of Shakespeare’s plays – how dare they associate the master playwright with speech bubbles and illustrations. While there are many comics that don’t interest me at all, I’m glad that they are now considered on their merits, rather than on their format.