Summer is here and I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time reading and exploring the worlds fantastic authors have created. I wrote a bit about my current reading list in this post. To celebrate the end of my exams I rewarded myself with the complete Sandman series, which I’ve been diving into the last few days.
And I have to say, I love the series so far. The Sandman series chronicles the adventures of the it’s title-giving main character, the ruler of the realm of dreams. His adventures include journeys to the past, greek and norse mythology and modern-era noir fiction. The diversity of stories is striking. It took a while for me to get used to the format, as chapters were first released in different comics before being bound together as the graphic novel, so they felt very disconnected at first. But after grasping the main context, the style became very enjoyable and I’ve learned to appreciate how the story branches out and comes together again.
I’m a big fan of Neil Gaiman and his writing is not only very gripping, but also extremely inventive and beautiful.
Another reason why I want to get into the world of graphic novels is the rise of superhero movies. I looked at the connection between movies, games and books in my blog post last week. Yesterday, I watched the latest summer blockbuster, Man of Steel. While I was impressed by some of the actors (most notably Amy Adams, Michael Shannon and Russell Crowe), I found the movie as a whole to be overly long and disappointing. In my opinion, the newest Superman reboot lacked focus and dragged on for an unfortunate amount of time. Some of the scenes had impressive special effects (the crashing buildings were particularly impressive), but the movie failed to show Superman’s vulnerability to me. He just comes across as too powerful and invincible. At no point of the story I felt as if he was in danger of losing the fight against his enemies. Obviously, this doesn’t make for compelling cinema. His invincibility made me think about the superman comics and if and how they’ve managed to convey his weaknesses. Are they more successful? And if yes, which books should I look into?
My favorite superhero is the other big character from the DC universe: the caped crusader also known as Batman. Growing up, I loved the animated series with their animated “Bam!” and “Pow!”s. In the recent Christopher Nolan films, the Dark Knight is constantly seen fighting with his inner demons or an enemy completely unpredictable and different from him. I feel like graphic novels as a medium are more forgiving of this kind of interludes as they inject some much-needed context and backstory. However, in movies they can feel overly long, especially if the enemy is not threatening enough. While it’s clear that it’s difficult to kill off the titular character, it should at least feel like there’s something at stake during their journey. “The Dark Knight” stands out in this regard, with the late Heath Ledger playing his Joker as a menacing and destructive force capable of anything. Watching the film, you can’t help but wonder what he’s up to next and if he’ll be successful. In general, I feel like a superhero is only as strong as his villains are. And in the comic book universe, there is much more room to explore these villains. So: Which Batman books would you recommend? The Frank Miller series?
This post is just a brief overview of some of my thoughts on graphic novel and comics. Most importantly, I would like to hear some of your recommendation for comics or graphic novels which I shouldn’t miss. So let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
I’m back Friday with Chapter 9 of an elusive hero and some exciting news about the blog.