I didn't find Nylon Road's artwork as compelling as that of Persepolis, but thematically it makes a good companion book. Fans of Satrapi may also enjoy Chicken With Plums , a story about her great-uncle and his despair at the loss of his beloved instrument.
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Blankets is a semi-autobiographical story about growing up — sharing a bed with his kid brother, his first love, his religious convictions and then the loss of them. Like his earlier comic book Goodbye, Chunky Rice , Blankets is bittersweet, and addresses many of the same themes: friendship and goodbyes. But it's also much more personal. It's hard to say how much or what has been fictionalized — perhaps "dramatized" is a better word. His illustrations depict perfectly his own states of mind, from images of Hell and Heaven during Sunday school to visions of his girlfriend Raina as his muse.
He struggles with new passions as they conflict with old values — but in the end, neither seems to win out.
It's hard to say what he's really left with in the end, which is a shame compared to all the beauty he saw earlier. The picture he paints of his church is perhaps a sad-but-true scenario, in which he's told that drawing is the worst sort of idleness and escapism. I should note that not everyone likes Thompson's books: one complaint is that they're too elaborate, too earnest, that they command attention by sheer page count alone. And certainly Blankets and his most recent graphic novel Habibi are both impressively large.
There is a real beauty in Thompson's brush-strokes, though. While I found his perspective in Blankets sometimes immature, it felt fitting because it chronicled his adolescence. Side note: remember what I said about the difficulty with terminology when it comes to memoirs? This one is called "an illustrated novel" right there on the cover — so it's fictionalized, perhaps, but based on Thompson's own life.
I've included it here because it seems to be generally considered a memoir, more so than, say, Will Eisner's tenement stories. More on those in a later post! Bechdel is perhaps best known for her Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip which has been running since Fun Home is her memoir, titled after the family's nickname for the Bechdel Funeral Home, and her subtitle — A Family Tragicomic — is appropriate.
It wasn't until I sat down to write about it that I realized how difficult it is to summarize, because of the way Bechdel deftly weaves together so many different things into a seemingly cohesive whole: literature, coming out to her parents, her father's death, her parents' relationship with each other and with the children, growing up in the funeral business, her father's closeted homosexuality.
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Fun Home is by turns funny and deeply tragic. Bechdel's search for meaning in her father's actions and death yields some fascinating conclusions. Just last month she published Are You My Mother? I haven't read it yet, but based on Fun Home I'm putting it on my list. Small's charcoal illustrations were dark and moody and perfectly suited to Hoban's story.
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Several years ago I was given a copy of The Gardener , written by his wife Sarah Stewart, and it's a beautiful book as well. I've since sought out other picture books illustrated by Small some written by him as well. Stitches is a comic book memoir which is quite dark in tone and can be painful to read. Small's father was a radiologist who bombarded his son with X-rays, thinking they would help his sinuses. When he developed a tumor on his neck, his parents were reluctant to even take him to the doctor, complaining that "doctors cost money and money is something that is in short supply in this house!
Eventually, though, he has surgery, losing one of his vocal cords and, for some time, his voice. It's shocking to read of such callous parents, and the brief bits about his grandmother aren't so great, either. Well, for one, it's also a story about Small discovering who he is, setting out to chase his dream of becoming an artist. It's also incredible artwork. Small's black-and-white illustrations are powerful and he's able to convey tremendous emotion through body language and facial expressions.
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He zooms in on faces and small details; sometimes you only see part of somebody's face, as if the teenage Small is looking off past the person speaking to him. But equally powerful is the story that isn't included within the pages of the book: the story that Small did become a successful artist, and that he didn't follow his mother and grandmother down the path to insanity. Click here for Part 3: Spotlight on Will Eisner.
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View Comments. Sponsored Stories Powered By Outbrain. More Stories. Mirror Worlds. Author: Gregory Barber Gregory Barber. I described our product as "extraordinary" and build a tagline to match: "The most expensive available today, and worth every penny. The concept of noblesse oblige that those in power are obligated to use it responsibility predates Lee by a century, but he made it the cornerstone of the Spider-Man mythos.
Peter Parker's selfish inaction--not using his superpowers to stop a petty criminal--leads to the death of his beloved Uncle Ben. This loss leads Parker to dedicate his life to fighting crime. While I don't stop muggers, I do try to use my modest success and intrinsic power as an investor, a professor, and a columnist to promote truth, justice, and the entrepreneurial way.
I learned this from Lee. You should, too. A clear purpose helps bring focus to your priorities. Stan Lee's story may end with his name joining the ranks of Plato, Shakespeare, and Mozart for his contributions to the global zeitgeist. The opinions expressed here by Inc.
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