Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's a good time for comics

Salon has an excerpt from Marjane Satrapi's new graphic novel, Chicken with Plums. If you haven't already read Satrapi's two-volume memoir of her childhood in Iran during the revolution, Persepolis, then it's worth checking out. If you have read Persepolis, then you probably own all of Satrapi's other work.

Comics have been hot in the past few years. Manga is the fastest-growing segment of the retail book market (tell me you haven't noticed the shiny, new, swiftly-expanding section in your local bookstore), and nonfiction graphic novelists like Satrapi, Joe Sacco, and Alison Bechdel have been receiving particular attention. (Fun Home by Bechdel and Safe Area Gorazde by Sacco would be good places to start. I am, of course, assuming that you've read Maus by Art Speigelman. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Harvey Pekar. If you're looking for a more general introduction, one of these two books would be a good choice. Or on the fiction side, you can't go wrong with Adrian Tomine. Or Chris Ware.)

This actually prompts a question: "graphic novel" doesn't really make sense to refer to nonfiction. Do we need a new term of art?

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