Thursday, October 30, 2008

Novelists Writing Comic Books

In the latest Onion A.V. comics panel, there's a brief review of the new hard cover collection of Jonathan Lethem's 10-issue revival of Marvel's Omega the Unknown, a 70s comic that focused not so much on the caped Omega, as on an unusually mature twelve year old boy named James-Michael Starling. The Onion gives Lethem's take a B+ and calls it "winningly peculiar." Back in the middle of last year, Newsarama interviewed Lethem about translating his skills as a language loving novelist to the predominantly visual form of comics. One of Lethem's more important realizations? Comic book panels don't hold all that many words.

If you're wondering if other novelists and literary types have swung their way into comic books, the answer is yes they have, and their number is many. Some you might expect, like Michael Chabon, writer of the very pulpy and comic-centric, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay, and some you might not, like Ian Rankin, the Scottish crime writer best known for his Inspector Rebus novels. His debut graphic novel, a Hellblazer story, Dark Entries, hits next year. For more examples and discussion, check out these articles from the New York Times, Newsday, and the London Times.

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