Peter Recommends…

26 08 2008

This is a quick note to recommend a remarkable book I recently finished reading: Watchmen.  It’s a graphic novel that was originally released as a series of 12 monthly issues in the mid ’80s.  It is the story of a handful of masked, non-super heroes and the world-changing events that bring their lives back together after years of being apart.  It has since been released as a single, compiled volume.  It has been regaining popularity due to its being made into a major motion picture.  And it is awesome.  

This, for me, is my first, real foray into the world of graphic novels and, frankly, I’m impressed.  It was fascinating to see how much the medium could contribute to the story.  There is symbolism everywhere and it really enriches the story and the experience of the reader.  And it’s all done in a way that could not be done in any other literary medium.  Few books have engrossed me so completely.  I found myself flipping back and forth through the novel as I recognized different symbols and references that related to earlier parts.  It was fun to see how many connections I could find and to try to understand the meaning behind every panel.  I really gained a new appreciation for the genre.  Although, I also worry that because of its high quality no other graphic novel will measure up to this one.  If anyone knows of other graphic novels of this calibre, please let me know.

Now, I imagine that some of you, upon hearing the words “graphic novel,” may have a thought sequence something like this: graphic novel = comic book = something only nerdy recluses read.  While nerdy recluses may, indeed, read graphic novels, I think it would be a terrible shame for a piece of literature as remarkable as this one to be ignored by everyone else.  As I understand it, it is the only graphic novel ever to win the Hugo Award and it is one of Time Magazine’s 100 best novels.  I recommend that you look it up on wikipedia or something.  Understanding a little of its background will go a long way in helping you appreciate it.  This is one book definitely worth reading, even at the risk of feeling a little nerdy.

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One response

2 10 2008
Tina Atwood

I like graphic novels! I also like manga!! But then I also like non graphic novels and well… I like to read!!

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