Comic books don’t get much respect from the general reading public, with the exceptions of your Art Spiegelman’s Maus and your Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, and if you run in dorkier circles, then your decades-old classics like Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.
I was never into comic books growing up: the ones I saw were all your standard Batmans and X-Mens and when I tried to read one it referenced like 100 issues of strange back-story I’d never read, offered little to think about, and then just ended after like 5 minutes of reading. I got a lot more out of reading normal books. Superheroes might be cool, but even as a kid I could tell they just weren’t as smart and interesting as your Giver or your Ender’s Game.
I’m not a fan of comic books (I’m not even a fan of graphic novels, really) so that should add some weight to my endorsement. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’s “Saga” Volumes 1 & 2 never once need a pass on story greatness, the way you give sometimes to movies or graphic novels because they can’t be held to the same standard of storytelling as real writing forms? That’s all fucked now.
This is what would’ve happened if James Thurber and Joss Whedon had a baby (wild gay-procreation Thurber-Whedon baby) and then wrote Star Wars In Love while Great-Uncle Vonnegut looked on across the table and occasionally scribbled stuff in while they were in the bathroom not looking (“A little more dirty booby pictures here, a little more ice-cold horror-of-war satire there… So it goes.”)
The next issue comes out in about a week and I’m going to give up all elitist pretensions at only buying graphic-novel-looking compilations. Catch up here (and no, Amazon isn’t paying me, but I would love it if they did, so hook me uppp):