I realised a while after I posted on illustrated books that I forgot one rather obvious thing: graphic novels. Grown up comic books, in other words. I haven’t read many, so as yet I have rather ambivalent feelings. I like Robert Crumb and Joe Sacco and I really enjoyed the graphic novel version I have of Kafka’s The Trial (David Zane Mairowitz and Chantal Montellier). And when I was growing up I really liked Tintin.
When you read a graphic novel it can bring about that childlike state of concentration I described badly below, when reading becomes a physical sensation as well as a mental process. But some, in their effort to be seen as ‘serious’ works of literature, are constructed in such a way as to dampen this sensation, which is a shame, as it is this difficult-to-describe, hypnotic effect that I think is the real power of graphic novels.
I saw the film version of Persepolis the other night, which was fantastic, although I still haven’t read the book. Pictures open up other dimensions in texts, and graphic novels are perhaps the best exploitation of this. I can’t believe I forgot about them when I was writing before.