It seems that these days comics — excuse us, GRAPHIC NOVELS — are being showered with more love than Lindsay Lohan at a nightclub opening. It almost makes us long for the days when we had a scrap on our hands and we had to fight for every teensy bit of respect. We like an enemy we can see and rally against not all this lovey dubbins crap.

But rejoice! Not everyone thinks comics are all that. A few voices of dissent are finally being heard throughout the land.

Take this snarky letter in the Washington Post, in which Carmen D. Villani Jr. of Chantilly expresses alarm with the upcoming 9/11 comic:

Additionally, these terrorists didn’t “settle in the United States,” they infiltrated it. While shielding children from the details of this horrific tragedy is appropriate, telling the rest of society about it in a comic book isn’t.

But hark! No sooner is that written than Justin Higgins of McLean, VA rides up to defend comics’ honor:

Carmen D. Villani Jr. expresses outrage [“Wrong Topic for a Comic Book,” letters, July 25] that anyone would attempt to depict the events of Sept. 11, 2001, in comic-book format. This outrage is misplaced; it appears to be based on the notion that comic books are not a suitable medium for such a serious topic.

This idea that comics are suitable only for mindless superhero action and other children’s fare is unfortunate. The reality is that comic books (or graphic novels) are just as legitimate a medium as novels, plays and movies, and they have been used to cover some of the most serious topics in history.

Blah blah blah. But wait. Mystery writer Otto Penzler delivers a passing slam in The New York Sun

The whole graphic novel thing has failed to enchant me, I confess. There are good writers, good stories, and good illustrators who work in this genre, I’m told, but I have yet to encounter one that could hold me until the end.

but goes on to merely mention a GN Chandler adaptation. Not too much of a head of steam there.

However, we have a great hope here, and it’s LOST GIRLS. It seems the family loving blogosphere is beginning to take note of its salacious contents.

Take John C. Wright’s Journal

Note how the humorless Mr. Moore wraps himself in the flag of moral sanctity to excuse himself. He is bringing enlightenment and culture to the rubes; honesty consists of glorifying sick perversions with all the wit and craft his art can bring to bear. What a smug jackass.

To think, I used to admire this man. Somewhere, bound in ice in the lowest circle of hell, the devil pauses in his gnawing on traitors, his tears of ice are checked, and he smiles a grim, lingering smile, and orders his lesser angels to prepare a place for someone who betrays his muse.

And that leads to outrage at Mirathon

The characters are Oz’s Dorothy, Wonderland’s Alice, and Peter Pan’s Wendy. Apparently, if characters are beloved, one should immediately put them in acts of perversion to show how cool one is.

I think the V for Vendetta guy has been anarchic a wee bit too long. He’s now W for Wacko or Y for Yucky or just your garden-variety P for Pervert.

And anyone who thinks our society doesn’t talk or read or do enough sex, well, excuse me, what freaking alternate Earth is he living on?

Yay! Conflict! Looks like we might have to shine up those muskets yet.


  1. Chaos Magi[c/k/ck] vrs Christianity as Alan Moore battles the Devil himself! Coming this August from DC with a limited edition Michael Turner variant cover. “Not an imaginary story”, says John Byrne!

  2. Penzler does kind of shoot himself in the foot by not knowing the difference between a medium and a genre.

    Alan Moore is “humorless”? Haven’t they read DR & QUINCH ?!?

  3. Maybe it’s a case of “no such thing as bad publicity.” I’d say that the fact these issues are even being discussed on fora other than the various comics message boards suggests we have finally moved up from the kid’s table.

    And hey, at least Wright’s fist-shaking and Hell-threatening is hollow as compared to, say, tossing a comic retailer into the slammer for selling an adult comic to an (adult) undercover cop, or bringing charges against a comic retailer for accidentlaly showing some kid a tenny-weeny illustrated naughty bit in a comic book.

  4. Of course, Hell has ice in it. It’s canon.

    Read your Dante. The Ninth Circle is reserved for the Treacherous. Sinners are held in a frozen lake. Specifically, Traitors to Kin are encased in the icy surface head down.

    Fun place.

  5. Hell has ice on it in Dante’s Inferno. Satan is encased in ice, and his three mouths are chewing on Judas Iscariot and Brutus and Cassius. I agree with Primate — putting Alan Moore in Dante’s Hell because of Lost Girls is so hyperbolic, though, that it sort of deflates Wright’s point entirely. It’s ridiculous — and while trying really hard to seem erudite, which is worse.

    But the issue about Lost Girls isn’t about the medium of comics at all. It’s the same old boring debate about “decency.” I haven’t read Lost Girls yet, but, personally, I’m more interested in knowing if Moore tells a good story and treats his themes effectively.

  6. I don’t think Dante’s hell is canon. Wouldn’t the Bible be canon, and Dante be considered apochrypal?

    Of course, Dante and Milton have done way more to shape the public’s idea of Hell and the devil than the Bible.

  7. I think the Divine Comedy used to be canon of a sorts, inasmuch as some pope or another really liked it and said that Dante wrote it from a divine vision. Recently though I think the Church has distanced themselves from it.

  8. I wonder how many people (especially those who ridicule comics) realize that every time they get on an airplane there’s a comic sitting in the seat pocket in front of them.

    Comics are a timeless storytelling medium. While some people may prefer being swept up in a whirlwind of prose or sitting back to watch the spectacle of film, I prefer the melding of art and story that comics provide.

    Also, I believe works by Dante and the “bible” to be works of fiction.

  9. Hey, I’m the “Mirathon” and I wasn’t ridiculing comics. I was ridiculing comics pornification of beloved childhood characters–not to mention the juvenile intervew about it.

    I enjoy comics, and even though we sold the bulk of our comic book collection in tighter financial days, we still buy some. I follow the Supreme Power and Astonishing X-Men, and wonder why my comic book store pal hasn’t got my Hyperion and NightHawk yet. And I just finished the Vol. 4 of Walking Dead and Creature Tech. I’ve got my old Dr. Strange (that I refused to sell), and the first dozen issues of SPAWN, several LOBO, CONCRETE, DREAM CORRIDOR. I have all the SANDMAN and four of Alan Moore’s–Watchmen, Vetc, League ofetc.

    Had to throw out a box of 1970’s Marvel and DC ones that got ruined in the hurricanes of the last year.

    So, no slam on comics. I’ve been to Comic conventions and dated a comic art dealer. Comics GOOD.

    I just slammed on fantasy icon characters being given the porn treatment. We are still free to slam on what we don’t like, right? Just like you do? :)

    Resume your regularly scheduled venting…