My true love in terms of media consumption definitely has to be video games. Unfortunately, time to play during the semester is limited””unless I decide to forego my responsibilities like I did when I started playing “Skyrim” or “Minecraft.” Sorry for missing class that one time, Dr. Delwiche. Video games are ubiquitous, though. I know too many people who would never touch a console, yet would play “Candy Crush” everywhere. Comics, on the other hand, are a medium that is generally viewed as a niche and carries a certain stigma. Even though comics have been around for a long time (cave paintings being an early precursor), they do not have the same clout as books or movies. It is confusing, but I know that this medium is a legitimate form of art and everyone should be exposed to it. You should try one of these titles over the break.
I would write another article about “Sandman,” but I imposed some self-restraint. I opted to start this list with “Hawkeye,” written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by David Aja. The Hawkeye series, under Matt Fraction’s current reign (since 2012), has become one of the most interesting ongoing series in the comic book industry””something I think many people (including myself) thought they would never say, similar to when “Aquaman” became interesting. Clint Barton, Hawkeye’s real name, is an ordinary guy who just happens to be really good at archery and is part of the Avengers. He comes off as an uncaring jerk but, in reality, he has a big heart plus a great dog. The art and style of the comic might be my favorite part, though. It has a lot of straight lines (which sounds silly out of context but adds a cool effect) and concurrent elements layered on top of each other. It is difficult to articulate, so I definitely recommend seeing it yourself.
The idea to do a piece about graphic novels came from the news that AMC has officially ordered a pilot for a new show. Like “The Walking Dead,” this show is based off of a comic series: “Preacher,” written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Steve Dillon. More than any other comic I have read, “Preacher” is one I would never want my parents to read. Jesse Custer, a preacher in a small Texas town, receives the power to command anyone to do whatever he says. In one scene, he orders a man to “go f*ck himself” and the man does so as his son watches in horror. One of the characters is a kid named Arseface due to his face looking like a”¦ well, you get the point. Oh, also, Custer is journeying across the United States to find God and make him (God) pay for his sins against humanity. It is definitely not for everyone, but it also features amazing characters. The story may feature vampires and a cult that protects Jesus’ bloodline, but it never feels hokey. It actually feels very real and heartfelt most of the time.
If I had to recommend just one graphic novel to read over the break, it would be “Blankets” by Craig Thompson because of the gratuitous amounts of snow featured in the book. Almost every single scene was set at a time when snow covered the ground. I read it around August when the heat was bearing down on me like an angry baby (that was a Teletubbies reference, by the way). Yet reading the book gave me this feeling of comfort and warmth. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball underneath a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate in one hand and “Blankets” in the other. Craig Thompson writes about his childhood, his first love and his early adulthood. This coming-of-age story feels incredibly personal and heartfelt. I think it is impossible not to relate to Craig and his feelings and thoughts. His life is simultaneously bittersweet and hopeful. We grow up and we lose a bit of ourselves, but we also experience new things and become a bit fuller as people.