Baltimore Sun takes on graphic novels — badly

This article (requires subscription, but try Bug Me Not to bypass it) has prompted some debate (mostly at Bookslut and among friends — I’m not trying to claim there’s a widespread outcry over it).  I find it to be ignorant at the very least (The comic League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was not an adaptation of the movie, and if Jeff Danziger had read it, he would have seen how different the two are), but the major flaw in his argument is that stories are stories and novels are always going to be better.

There’s plenty of remarkably talented writers and artists working in the medium of comics.  There’s reasons why people choose to create comics rather than write novels.  They may be unclear, intangible reasons, but there’s something that’s more immediate and personal about comics like Persepolis that can’t be done in the same way in prose.  Danziger’s argument that comics take away the imaginative process of reading is unfair.  Comics give writers an opportunity to have their work be seen the way they want it to be.  I think that’s a great thing.  (I’m not even going to get into his complaint that the art in these comics is severely lacking because I don’t really know where that comes from or what else he wants. No, not all comic art is good, but plenty of it is evocative and amazing.)

I agree with Jessa Crispin of Bookslut’s assertion that someone needs to get him a copy of Understanding Comics.  Or, perhaps, just never let him cover comic books (or “graphic novels”) again.

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