I am not a huge fan of graphic novels / comic books. (Does that debate really matter? Is anyone really only willing to read them if they are called ‘graphic novels’?) It took me a long while to investigate them and begin to take them more seriously. Maus helped turn the tide. But teaching Persepolis helped me appreciate the genre more. It made me look more carefully at the art and how it supports the text.
Blankets is my first non-classic graphic novel (though I bought at a comic book store). It’s intense. The religious and abusive elements (the latter is underplayed, but ominous) create a tremendous amount of tension. Thompson is an amazing artist. His images are alternatively hallucinatory and realistic. He conveys emotion – notably in Raina’s father – in a remarkably minimalist way. Some of the language – perhaps a deliberate reflection of the religious influence (is Craig somewhat indoctrinated?) – can come across as a bit stilted. I have mixed feelings about the ending – tacked on hope or honest?
I do have a bone to pick with the whole graphic novel / comic book industry. They have to find a way to make these things cheaper. $32 for what maybe took me an hour to read? It’s hard to justify that investment.