Neil Gaiman and the Daily Northwestern

This is odd, as the Neil Gaiman weblog has a link to an article in the Daily Northwestern! He says he likes the article in general but points out the very large error in the assertion they make with:

In the past three years alone, novelists such as New York Times bestseller Neil Gaiman (“American Gods”) and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon (“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay”) have been lured into comics to add a dash of proven literary talent.

In fact, I remember reading on Chabon’s website many years ago about how he was deeply into comics and had written one of the screenplays (not used) for the X-Men movie while it was in development. I don’t think either claim is accurate.

The paragraph that precedes that one is this:

“The perception of comics is getting better due to major media events,” claims Jeff Zwirek, Assistant Manager of Evanston’s Comix Revolution. But there is a simpler reason why graphic novels have now suddenly been embraced after such a long dry spell — they’re good again.

I also don’t agree with the assertion that graphic novels were once crap and are now good again. By and large, since Will Eisner more or less invented the form (and coined the term) with A Contract With God, the stories that appeared in graphic novel format were always of generally higher quality than what appeared in the pamphlet sized comics. I’m not sure what would be an example of the dark days of graphic novels. They were a fairly rare format until the last 10 or 15 years. They collect the best of the pamphlets, and the work that appears originally in the form tends to be more adventurous and accomplished. It only makes sense – the economic stakes are higher so you go with the best material. As an aside, the guy quoted is from one of the two comic shops I’ve frequented since moving into Evanston. I think he’s the guy who was such an ass when I tried to buy the last copy of Fugitives and Refugees, sending me on a goose chase around the story for nonexistent copies to avoid having to get the one out of the window display. Way to make me want to spend my $15 somewhere else next time.

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