Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why Comics?

Review by Niles

Somehow the phrase "All Ages Comics" became synonymous with the phrase "Kids' Comics." I couldn't exactly tell you when, but I have an idea of how. 

My theory is that comics in general are already seen as a lower form of literature and when you flip through a lot of all-ages books, like Jeff Smith's phenomenal Bone or Jason Shiga's impossibly labyrinthine choose-your-own-adventure Meanwhile, the first thing you see are "cartoony" or "cutesy" images in a fantastical setting. What you don't get from just flipping through pages are the depth and complexity of these stories, the maturity of the themes, and the detailed character studies. 

They're also really, really fun to read. Bonus!

We carry too many wonderful All Ages Comics to list in this short article, so I'd like to focus on a series by a local Atlanta cartoonist and professor of sequential art at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Chris Schweizer. His Crogan series should appeal to readers of Clive Cussler, Bernard Cornwell, Louis L'Amour or anyone who enjoys historical adventures. The series follows the travails of members of the Crogan family tree throughout different, meticulously researched historical periods. The first book, Crogan's Vengeance, shows the ascension of "Catfoot" Crogan from lowly deckhand to feared and respected pirate captain. The second book, Crogan's March, tracks Peter Crogan's tenure in the French Foreign Legion and the heavy decisions he's faced with. There is a third book to be released this June, Crogan's Loyalty, which will tell the story of two brothers on opposite sides of the American Revolution. 

Flipping through the pages of these books, you may be a bit put off by the cartoonish figures but you'd be mistaking that for the sheer expressiveness Schweizer instills in his characters' "acting." I can't recommend these books enough to lovers of swashbuckling adventure stories. And the best part is that, unlike the superhero comics that miss the point by mistaking violence and sex for "maturity," these are comics that you will happily pass along to the young readers in your life. Or vice versa.

*Comics and Manga are referred to as Graphic Novels in the Gwinnett County Public Library catalog in case you are looking for them. Here is a link to our recent arrivals. 

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