Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh, Avery

My friendship with Avery happened because of comics. To date, it is the only relationship to arise purely because of an interest in comics. We lived in the same house for part of the summer and would go to the library together to read comics. As we went to the library more, we got to know each other better, finding a true bond through recommending and reviewing comics. Avery is the perfect friend because, he, like me, believes that reading together is a perfectly acceptable activity. We once went on a mission to explore the comic collections at every library in the Pioneer Valley. We made it to two. When Avery came to visit me in Chicago, we spent hours in the comics section at the Harold Washington Library. Although we haven’t seen each other since August, we talk a few times a week on the phone. Our conversations quite often turn to comics—what we checked out of the library, interesting finds, and reviews. I often call him ranting about women’s motives in comics or bad comics journalism and he often helps me clarify my views and find my point of argument. He once proposed to me. It was not a matter of love, but a union…of our comic book collections. He said: “I have a lot of superhero comics, and you have a lot of art comics, so if we got married we would have a really awesome collection!” It was a very tempting offer.

As you might gather, we have a very supportive and interesting relationship. So, imagine my disappointment when he returned to school without his phone charger and has been unable to talk for the past few days. I checked out four amazing comics yesterday and have been unable to tell him about them! This is a short version of what I would say if we were talking on the phone:

West Coast Blues by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Patrick Manchette
“Comic noir (is that even a thing?)! I want them to turn it into a movie so I can experience it again.”

I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets by Fletcher Hanks
“Reprinting of a lost comic from the 1920’s and 30’s. My favorite series is Fantomah, ‘Mystery Woman of the Jungle.’ When she gets angry and goes after evil-doers, her head turns into a frowning skull and she gets all blue and muscled. Also, at the end, the editor, Paul Karasik, wrote his own comic about finding these comics and talking to Fletcher Hanks’ son. It’s crazy and will blow your mind. He uses comic panels from Hanks’ work to show the contrast between his work and personal life.”

Dykes to Watch Out For: Split Level by Alison Bechdel
“Awesome. I laughed out loud a few times while reading and now my dad thinks I’m insane. I also just bought 4 more issues on Amazon.”

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, I.N.J. Culbard, and Ian Edginton
“Why do we even read books any more when they can be turned into amazing graphic novels?”

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