< graphic novels
Charles Burns' Black Hole is the most repressed piece of graphic lit (or lit in general) that I've read in years. Its flavor (mild, chalky) of angst and self-deprecation rivals or exceeds that of Murakami's Norwegian Wood (viz., a nineteen year-old boy who finds the perfect femme who lives without her parents in an abandoned bookstore with a view of the sunrise, etc.), which I have always sort of taken for the most navel-gazing of his novels, which is really saying something. I read it when I was nineteen and felt 'pangs.' This plus some other observations have convinced me that, above other forms of lit, graphic novelists seem to take the cake when it comes to telling stories about their childhood worries through the sketched bodies of young adults—maybe it is because (and I admit I've read a lot of 80s-00s, male, post-Crumb-ites, and not so much of the response to them, which is a heck of a lot less bathed in superhero corruption. I also haven't read any of the things the europeans or 'Raw' and stuff were doing.) drawing these things takes so much effort as to prevent entry into solo-production without enough knuckling-down to effectively 100% induce the level of isolation and virtual ideation shown in these books, or otherwise because the people buying and reading these books are often themselves of the type that is only receptive to virtual stories of their own kind (or future kind) going out and fulfilling their deepest desires (though I don't really buy this these days or in the 80s-00s, because quote-unquote cool people also have some sort of desire of seeing how their less hip counterparts live and think: everyone's own coolness seeming to them sort of narrow or by happenstance, at least sometimes. This is because coolness is a commodity. Also there's no way the audience then was as straight as the stories by and large seem to imply.) While Burns is a particular exception when it comes to suffusing the whole thing with hyper yonic imagery, literally every one of these authors is treating sex like the cornucopia of both narrative and 'look.' Even when characters are purposefully ugly, it is so that they can be shown to retain some sort of sexual agency or inimitability which does the (author hoped and reviewer proclaimed) 'masterful' work of separating out the psycho from the visual. Visual corruption is either a joke (Clowes) or an injury (Tomine) inflicted by the writer, but the ultimate release is the same. The dust-jacket blurbs on these books are some of the best things I have ever read. Usually these collections, the ones that make it to the library and are nice bound from Fantagraphics, are jammed with years of work. How do you write a blurb for that that does not in some way mirror the massive corporate compression imposed on the stuff—they are left all pumped and upbeat and 'deeply moving' and 'total investigation of what it means to be alone in the cultural void of middle _____' etc. I want to have to wait for something to arrive that is not a piece of digital media being held back by digital gates. So maybe I am also hungering for something because of a cultural void imposed on me by the people claiming these omnibuses answer to some sort of cultural void. This author Brian Booker once said in an email that he was really into Clowes, and all his short stories are about kids being ill and trying to know what it means to trespass all kinds of psycho boundaries. I think there is a connection between us all. I want to wait three months for something that can be read in half and hour. Everything I read is by people who are effectively dead, and so all the stuff they ever did is on-demand, and that's probably messing me up. I think I understand a little bit about why people write chap-books now. I have never been sadder than when holding a chap-book. I want to publish a chap-book. People who want to publish chap-books want to forget something but also push it out onto the world.