Three on a Theme: Animal Comics

Animals often figure prominently in comic strips and graphic novels, but the ways in which they are represented and the roles they play in telling a story vary greatly across genres and the works of different authors. Often, animals in the comics genre exist mainly for comedic relief, representing cartoon caricatures or anthropomorphisms that tell us more about human beings than they do about the animal they are representing. Here are three graphic novels where animals are represented in a different way – as narrators, protagonists, or silent companions.

The Rabbi’s Cat by Jonathan Sfar
This is a gorgeous tail about humanity, religion, and… cathood… that takes place in 1930s Algeria and is imbued with a healthy dose of magical realism. The protagonist is a cat belonging to the daughter of a rabbi, who accidentally acquires the power of speech after eating a parrot. Now able to communicate with humans, the cat asks the rabbi for an education and to begin practicing Judaism, sparking a theological debate about whether or not a cat can be Jewish. This novel is beautifully illustrated, with bright colors, warm landscapes, and lively, dynamic characters (both human and non-human alike). The story deftly explores themes of what it means to have a religion, what it means to have a friend, and what it means to coexist in relationship with others. Continue reading “Three on a Theme: Animal Comics”

Write On!: Get Graphic! Go Comic!

Are you drawn to drawing your own world? Do you picture rows of frames, imagine scenes, come up with your own cast of characters and play those scenes out in your mind? Is there, somewhere near, a messy pile of graphic novels or comic books that you have poured over a hundred times or more? Have you, ever, imagined that your work could, one day, be found in one of those piles?

KRAK! WHOOSH!! SPLAT!!!! There is an art to Making Comics. Get graphic! Go comic!! Try your hand at Cartooning and Creating Comics from Start to Finish. See what Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics is all about. Learn The Art of Urban Sketching. Pour over Manga for the Beginner. Then, get busy composing Words for Pictures and splash each page with speech bubbles that balloon and go pop! A Glossary of Comics Terminology and the Letterform Archive are essential tools to put in your power pack. Continue reading “Write On!: Get Graphic! Go Comic!”

#BookBingoNW2020 Poetry or Comics

One of the best things about Summer Book Bingo is how it challenges readers to step outside their comfort zones.  Of all the different kinds of books out there, however, poetry and graphic novels can be some of the most challenging. Readers not used to a visual format can sometimes struggle to make a cohesive whole out of words and images, and poetry can feel so nuanced and esoteric as to be indecipherable, even if you recognize its talent and value. If you are ready to dip your toe into the waters of alternative formats, here are a few to get you started:

Cartoonist Eleanor Davis is well known for her spare yet incredibly evocative work that can twist stories within stories until you aren’t quite sure where you’ve landed.  In You and a Bike and a Road, Davis uses a more conventional narrative to share her experience cycling across most of the southern United States by herself.  It’s incredible how much she can convey with a few plain pencil lines and, in this particular book, she exposes herself with a raw and beautiful honesty. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2020 Poetry or Comics”

Comics before Cinema! Part Three

This is the third and final feature of comics as the original source material before their cinematic adaptations. I admit that I have not watched or read many of what I’ve listed (though not for a lack of trying!) and I made it a point to explore outside the expansive DC and Marvel universe. Today I will be showcasing the nitty gritty of graphic novels and comics, and how those stories and find humor in pain. If you liked what you’ve seen on screen, try reading it…because sometimes the comic book is better.

The Crow by James O'BarrThe Crow by J. O’Barr

The classic gritty  90’s movie The Crow has left a lasting impact on pop culture thanks to Brandon Lee’s starring role. Originally published in 1989, the original comic follows Eric who was brought back to life by a crow as an unstoppable avatar of vengeance. After a ten year hiatus, O’Barr wrote Crow with Dead Time, a story O’Barr envisioned as a new film. Continue reading “Comics before Cinema! Part Three”

Comics Before Cinema! Part Two

This is the second of three posts featuring graphic novels and comics as the original source material. If you liked what you’ve seen on screen, try reading it…because sometimes the comic book is better.

I admit that I have not watched or read most of what I’ve listed (though not for a lack of trying!) and I made it a point to explore outside the expansive DC and Marvel universe. Today I will be showcasing popular family classics whose comic book roots might surprise you.

The Adventures of Tintin The Adventures of TinTin by Hergé

TinTin is a reporter and adventurer who travels around the world with his faithful dog Snowy. Since 1929, Hergé’s meticulous attention to his art and good-natured protagonist has charmed generations throughout the world and totes a Steven Spielberg directed animated movie. Continue reading “Comics Before Cinema! Part Two”