Saturday, May 08, 2004

Today's Links of Interest

The Saga of the Seven Seas Reviewed

The reviewer, Joules Taylor, is a new name to me while the book in question is of little interest to me her review had some very interesting points as she defined what a graphic novel is to her.

The skill involved in creating a successful graphic novel astounds me. Obviously the basic story has to be appealing in some way - exciting, dramatic, heavily visual - and lend itself to illustration. The artwork should be tempting, the colours (if used) eye-catching, and the quality consistent. The layout should echo the plot.

If the story is complex, the layout should reinforce that complexity - but not to the extent of confusion or there's a risk of the reader giving up. The characters should be attractive, pleasant - or striking, or memorable - to look at (they don't necessarily have to be particularly realistically portrayed, though) and the background appropriate to the action.

it is an interesting definition of what could make for a good graphic novel to be sure. I wonder at the attractive bit for characters, as too often the characters can be too pretty in my opinion. Yet it is a good formula to see listed by someone.

I do find this opinion to be weird by anyone covering comics though:

The main disadvantage with any graphic novel is that the reader is presented with the artist's vision of the characters and environments. To some extent, this removes the possibility of envisioning the work for oneself (much the same as 'the film of the book' often makes it impossible to imagine the story any other way).

She saves it by going on to say this

Then again, that's what graphic novels are about!At their best they straddle the line between art and literature, and can enhance both.

Yet it is a striking thing to be seen said about comics, that a disadvantage could be not allowing the reader to imagine their own vision of the world they are reading about. To me that was always an advantage to comics, the getting to see as clearly as possible what the creators intent was. In a way that neither movies (with budgets and actors) or novels(reader's own imagination and interpretation) could ever allow.

DC Chick Check
Marvel Chick Check

Johanna over at her Cognitive Dissonance blog, covers how many female characters and creators there are involved in this week's books from the big two comic publishers. The numbers are very enlightening, and the lack of representation seems to indicate possible reasons why they are unable to draw the female audience that the more diverse manga publishers are able to.

Staying with Johanna's blog, she also does some DC and Marvel review capsules.--Note to laptop users though. If when you first go to them it looks like the covers are over her reviews. That just means you need to expand the size of your browser's window. I had to expand my own to fill the entire screen.-

I'm glad she covers these books, because her insights are always interesting and quite often very funny. The odd part is that I don't feel as if I'm missing anything by not reading any of the. They all just sound so familiar, and like something people have been writing for years.

She also covered Chobits vol. 1 on her site. It is a solid review, though I wish she had spent more time on the societal parts of the volume, which was the best part to me.

Yet her views of how it is interesting to male readers was interesting, though I think there is plenty there that could interest even more female readers then herself as well. For one case, the way many women can probably relate to the tendency for guys to want to "perfectly built" women, which the female shaped computers could represent.

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