Secret readers

Remember when reading comics was considered uncouth by the literati.  Well, I do and I know that it wasn’t that long ago, and that it took Maus and Batman: the Dark Knight to bring the light of day to the rest of the world on comics as art that is now upon us.

a comic-strip biography

Louis Riel: a comic-strip biography

I bring this up after re-visiting Chester Brown‘s biography, Louis Riel, which absolutely blew me away a few years ago.  I was already a fan of I Never Liked You from years back (having discovered him via Drawn & Quarterly‘s Julie DoucetLouis Riel, the graphic novel, is actually a reprint of work he did back in the early 90’s, which makes it all the more impressive.  Thoroughly researched, deftly edited, and drawn with the sparse clarity of Japanese manga and condensed dialogue, Brown makes quick work of a folk hero from what is now Canada who is both lauded and unsung (and easily mentionable to any Canadian as a quick ‘in’ if you drop his name).

To bring this up, however, at a children’s book store with adults brought an unexpected surprise: we all shared in a love of graphic novels, secretly.  We’d never truly own it out loud (except via a blog, right?), but we all loved to talk about what really made us fans.  Was it the artwork of the incomparable Steve Ditko who inspired us to think in other dimensions about the reasons behind good and evil?  The mastermind of marketing of Stan Lee in our early years?  Or our affinity for the bleak altruism of Frank Miller?  An affinity for the sparse, beautiful ennui in Adrian Tomine’s youthful protagonists?  We loved them all under the “Graphic Novel” display one evening and wondered if anyone else in the room knew we’d found each other.

New face of journalism

While I’m not a believer that news corps will go the way of the stone tablet, smaller, more nimble sites have become actual players in the news media landscape, as reported in the Times today.  I’m a big fan of the cheaper, semi-pro work being done, but am still looking for a local SF replacement for sfpolitics.com, which used to be my go-to alternative site to the SFBG.  Now it seems like mostly just blogs, as opposed to an operation like VoiceOfSanDiego.

Best quote?:

“Information is now a public service as much as it’s a commodity,” {local businessman Buzz Woolley}
said. “It should be thought of the same way as education, health care.
It’s one of the things you need to operate a civil society, and the
market isn’t doing it very well.”