Monday, September 5, 2011
Listed in "500 Essential Graphic Novels" as: Non-Fiction (Top 10)
Contains: Blankets (Original Graphic Novel)
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Writer: Craig Thompson
Artist: Craig Thompson
Well, here we are, gang.
As outlined in a prior post, I'm going to do a "Top 10" pick from the "500 Essential Graphic Novels" book every fifth book. This is review number five, so here we go...
With the last couple entries wrapped up, getting little satisfaction out of those books, I began to despair.
Was this first trip to the library picking up a load of graphic novels gonna be a bust? Maybe I could only enjoy graphic novels of a sci-fi, horror, or superhero nature! Am I so short-sighted that anything I read in the medium that's outside my comfort zone, I'll automatically pick apart?
These questions and many more plagued my brain as I began to worry about its future not even five books into this little project. Then I picked up Craig Thompson's "Blankets".
It's a semi-autobiographical work about Craig Thompson (yes, the same guy that wrote the thing). Unlike Seth in "It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken" (which I previously reviewed), this tale is actually about the author and truly autobiographical.
It primarily tells the tale of Craig Thompson growing up in a strict Christian home, but also touches upon so much more. The chapters of the nearly 600 page work also show us Thompson's childhood, school life, his relationship with his younger brother, some very unfortunate events of his youth, his first love, his passage into adulthood and multitude other things entwined within the aforementioned.
I'd heard people rave about "Blankets" in several places, picked it up and taken a peek at it in bookstores, and seen the awards that it had piled up. I'd been skeptical that such a book could ever win me over. Me, with my love of mind-bending multiple read epics, my love of superhero comics and sometimes explicit horror... Could a book with this subject matter or this art style hook me?
Oh, man, did it ever.
This book is excellent. Craig Thompson says he wrote it from the simple premise of what it feels like to sleep next to someone for the first time. He takes us on a journey in these pages. The journey travelled seems to be important pieces of his entire life up until the time the book was published laid bare, the beautiful with the visceral, for all of us to marvel at.
This wasn't the first book I reviewed for the blog that used a black-and-white style that was more cartoony than the superhero style artwork that I'm most at home with, but this book and Thompson's work are just on a different plane.
With a relatively simplistic approach, he takes the reader to atmospheres and mindscapes that in hindsight just puts me that much more in awe of the work. No color, no flashiness, no art team... Just Mr. Thompson and his sensational work to strike straight to your heart and give you something that you'll likely carry with you for some time to come.
This book was well-deserving of a "Top 10" spot in Mr. Kannenberg's book and may be the best thing I've read for these efforts here on the blog thus far. A true thing of beauty that gets my utmost recommendation.
Mr. Kannenberg's rating: 4 out of 5
My rating: 5 out of 5
5 down, 495 to go