Tuesday, 26 August 2008

A Graphic look at the early 20th century. . .

I've started reading Charley's War - a series of reprints of comic strips by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun that originally ran in Battle Action Weekly in the 1970s. The strips begin in June 1916 and follow the naive 16 year old Charley Bourne and his experiences in the trenches. They've been collected into four volumes so far, with a fifth one out this fall. I've finished the first volume and was quite moved, especially as it covers the Battle of the Somme. There's a bit of over the top (no pun intended) machoism and some fairly improbable coincidences in the story line, but the authors are trying to cover all aspects of the war, including the homefront, and it definately is by no means glorifying the war. It was entertaining and informative and I'm hooked enough to want to read on.

Graphic novels are so popular now and every bookstore has a section. Mine would too. I've come across several already that would fit the bill. The Salon by Nick Bertozzi takes us back to 1907 Paris where a killer is targeting avant-garde painters. So Gertrude and Leo Stein with the help of Picasso, Erik Satie, Alice B. Toklas and Apollinaire, set out to find the murderers. Looks like fun. Martin Rowson has written a witty and noir version of Eliot's The Wasteland involving the L.A. cop Christopher Marlowe - a pastiche of Philip Marlowe. HarperCollins have brought out several Agatha Christie mysteries as graphic novels. I haven't read one of these yet - I wonder if they can get all the intricate plotting just right. Or would it be easier to guess the "graphic" murderer? And then there are the Proust graphic novels - I have the first two volumes and they are quite well done. Doubtless there a lot more to add to this list. Must investigate.

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