At the end of the most recent Fridgecast, I had the opportunity to share two of my favorite graphic novels. But it seemed like an opportunity to add a little bit more, talk about the comics that I love, and why I love them. My favorites are the ones that are distanced from the human elements, that address the consequences of superheroes as gods among the human race, what they might do, how they might reject or cling to their humanities.
Mythology is my bag. When I was eight I had this big yellow book of greek mythology. It was full of stories of the gods. I remember my mother reading The Hobbit to me. It was probably where I started to love of a good story and myth, fantastic locations, and good solid book.
I continue to read when I can, but it’s getting harder and harder lately, so I’ve turned back to another childhood past time to fill some of that void: comic books. Well, I don’t collect them anymore; I just buy the trades. But they’re quick reads and relatively inexpensive and it lets me feel young. But it all goes back to that love (obsession?) with mythology. The imagery and art adds to that mythological element as well. I once read somewhere that comics are such an interesting medium because they straddle the world between literature and film. In simplistic terms, literature is about observing characters through what they think and say. Film is about observing characters through their actions; what they do. Comics provide a bit of both–the words and the actions. In many ways you can do things in comics that would be too cumbersome to describe in a novel, or too expensive to show in a movie. There are a still a lot archaic, cheesey things hanging around the medium. It’s like a vestigial tale. But overall I think it’s worthwile; there are some extremely talented authors and artists out there using this to tell stories where they could not elsewhere. And comics are what? 80 years old? 100? That’s a pretty new method of storytelling. It is still growing.
The best example of mythological themes and motifs in comics is, in my opinion, Kingdom Come.