Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life by Paul Gravett
I first encountered comics historian Paul Gravett being interviewed for the DVD The Mindscape of Alan Moore. That led me to investigating his two compendia, Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life (Aurum Press, 2005), and Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics (2004, Laurence King Publishing Ltd.). Oddly, in the US the book’s byline is “Everything You Need to Know,” while in the UK it’s “Stories to Change Your Life.” In addition to these two works, Gravett has edited numerous other books and has an extensive website that includes reviews, various media interviews with Gravett, and links to other sites. Gravett’s site is tagged extensively, making it very user friendly, with the exception of a search field. This post is concerned solely with Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life.
Happily, Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life begins with the first two pages reprinting an absurdist cartoon initially published in the New York Times Magazine, authored by Chester Brown. In it, a New York Times Magazine staff member is interviewing Brown. Much to the featured talent’s indignation, the interviewer turns into a duck halfway through the interview. For a respected art form, Brown informs us, this is all too much!
Subsequently, Gravett includes a section entitled “Things to Hate About Comics,” a kind of FAQ for the absolute beginner who may challenge the medium by resorting to selected blanket statements such as “Comics are just funnybooks”; “They take no time to read”; “Comics leave nothing for the imagination”; “They’re so depressing”; etc. For each of these criticisms, a detailed response is provided, designed to dismantle the arguments. Continue reading ‘Graphic Transformation: Stories to Change Your Life’