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Graphic Novel Review: Best American Comics of 2006 (edited by Harvey Pekar)

Believe it or not, I've just posted a substantial review to GraphicNovelReview.com, after allowing that site to lie fallow for several months. My apologies. I've actually been working on this particular review, of the first volume of Houghton-Mifflin's new Best American Comics series, since shortly before putting the site on hiatus. Working on it on and off, that is. Mostly off.

What follows is an out-of-context excerpt from the review, specially engineered to generate the highest-possible clickthrough percentage:

That last observation, of course, points to the conflicts among themselves, and within themselves, that comics insider types always have about projects like this one: in reaching out for the literary readers, the liberal upper-to-uppermiddle, in trying to achieve what Pekar calls “legitimization” by celebrating the material that is roughly analogous to “establishment” literary fiction, do comics’ apologists sometimes castrate the art-form, rendering it less viable and meaningful, ultimately, than it was when a taste for comics was still a trashy, outlaw kind of affectation? Maybe they do. Maybe they should? Where’s the harm when, looking for new audiences, an editor, for one book, or one series of books, covers up or ignores some of the medium’s crazy but fun tropes, in favor, just for now, just for a little while, of the “respectable” and the “legitimate?” Does this really hurt anything other than the precious little feelings of fanboys and fangirls? And don’t we fanboys and fangirls need to have our precious little feelings hurt, every once in a while, in order to maintain our all-important underdog self-image, our sense of entitlement, and our minority protected status? I do not have any answers for you here. I’m as conflicted as any other fanchild on this matter.

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