Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Things Are Getting Graphic

A while back, I posted about reading my first graphic novel, Saga.  I really, really enjoyed it and kind of fell in love with the genre too, so I immediately started looking for others to read, since the second Saga collection doesn't come out for a few more weeks from now.  

The first one I read was Persepolis.

Persepolis is an autobiographical novel about a girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution.  It begins when she is a very young but very observant girl, being raised by modern parents who don't necessarily abide by the rules of political Islam.  She is heavily influenced by her free thinking parents and grandmother, and becomes more and more rebellious.  At a particularly dangerous time in the revolution, Marjane's parents send her to Europe to live in Austria, where she becomes an artist, a girlfriend, a drug dealer, an ex-girlfriend, homeless and eventually desperate to return home, which she does.  The novel continues from there, her return to Iran, her difficulty adjusting to the same old regime, struggles with depression, and her eventual life changes.  

I found this novel hard to get into at first, but when I did, I couldn't put it down and I loved it.  I loved that I learned so much about life in Iran, especially from the point of view of a modern thinking woman, during some very repressive times in that country.  It made me appreciate how easy we have it here in Canada and the struggles that people have every day in other places.

After I finished Persepolis, I didn't know what to read next, so I dug through BF's collection and narrowed it down to From Hell and The Walking Dead.  When I am stuck between book choices, I usually read the first page of each of the short listed ones and choose the one that makes me immediately want to read page two.  I read the first page of The Walking Dead and didn't even bother with the other.  

BF had the first compendium, a collection of the first 48 issues of TWD.  I read its 1088 intensely dramatic and suspense-filled pages in two sunny afternoon sittings in my backyard.  There were times when I was so on the edge of my seat that I could have fallen and injured myself!  I love the show, but the books are so different, so much more powerful, the characters so much farther developed, that I just got sucked right in.  I can only imagine, if I'd been reading it in public, how funny I must have looked at times, eyes bugging out of my head, gasping in shock, biting my lip, laughing out loud, tearing up and every few minutes, exhaling like I'd just run a marathon.  Read it, friends, you won't be sorry.

Well just today, I finished the second compendium, issues 49-96, after another couple of afternoon sittings.  I defy anyone to try getting anything done if you have these books in your lap!

Many of the same characters return, and many new ones are introduced.  Like in the first collection, mad things happen, tensions run high, people die, people save the day and so on.  I read this one just as quickly because the characters, the situations are all very compelling, but I have to say, I thought the first part was better.  Only a couple times did I sit at the edge of my seat, eyebrows raised and teeth chattering.  Many, many characters were introduced in this part, and some seemed superfluous and don't play much of a part in the future; in fact some seem to simply dwindle off, and there are some story lines that seem almost like filler.

Nonetheless, I LOVED this series.  The first compendium came out in 2009, the second in 2012, so I guess from here I either start reading them as issues, or suffer through three or four years of waiting for the next one!  

In the meantime, friends, what should I read next?  Your suggestions are most welcome!  

Till next time!

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