Ideas in Abundance

Back in the yore-days of college, I spent a portion of a very excellent class in a perfectly stellar semester studying the most addicting, complex, and beautiful graphic novel I’ve yet come across.  Normally I’d say “Caveat lector” to anyone accepting my recommendation, since I’ve not yet delved deeply into the world of graphic novels and thus might praise a middling story overmuch.  And yet…whatever else may be out there, I am convinced that it could not render Neil Gaiman’s Sandman “middling.”

What is worthy about The Sandman?  Many things: the intertwining of so many lives and stories; the questions it raises about life and death, of waking and sleeping; and the artwork: ethereal, infernal, spellbound and spellbinding, lucid and muddled by turns.  The horror of what men do to each other, and what dreams may bring them to do.  The fight for honor and personal property.  Nightmare.  Drugged stupor.  Ecstasy.  Hope.

It’s hard to discuss the whole story, not only because it’s been a few years since I’ve read it in full, but also because it’s quite convoluted.  So I will mention one episode, “Calliope” of Dream Country, wherein an author who acts contemptibly for the sake of writing ideas is punished with ideas, with dreams, with stories in abundance.  There are only so many ideas he can write down before his mind is seized with more, and there are only so many his mind can hold.  It’s right up there with “The Monkey’s Paw” as an injunction to Be Careful What You Wish For, Lest You Get It.

All this comes to mind because I was surprised to find, in the midst of my unending struggle to keep my papers in order, that I’ve a number of ideas written down.  There’s some doggerel, some simile sketches, poems of other people worth analyzing and sharing, and at least 4 stories in the works.  It all needs a good deal of fleshing out and perhaps some figurative epidermis, but behold!  There are skeletons in place.  Thanks, Muses, they are ideas enough.

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3 thoughts on “Ideas in Abundance

  1. I approve! Which other graphic novels would you recommend, then? I may need something to fill my time, because Amazon just emailed me to say that Finder Vol. 2 is getting pushed back till January! 😦

    Also, I am hoping to attract the attention of my Muse this weekend, because I have a number of deadlines coming up, both self imposed and fun, and school-related. Ah, deadlines. “I love the wooshing sound they make as they fly past,” right?

  2. Hmmm…a difficult question, because The Philosophy of Comic Strips didn’t get further than the following: Crises on Infinite Earths (don’t do it unless you’re obsessed with continuity in the Marvel multiverse/universe), Concrete: Think Like a Mountain (don’t do it unless you’re a hippie), The Sandman (I think you already know how many horrifying and awesome happenings are afoot), and Watchmen (more on that in a minute).

    I have heard general approbation from an acquaintance on the Lucifer series (a spinoff from his role in Sandman), but given the subject of that series and the acquaintance in question, I’m leery of recommending it, having not yet seen it myself. I’ve also heard intriguing things regarding Jamie Madrox, aka Multiple Man, who is associated with the X-Men, but again haven’t read the issues concerning him…

    Watchmen I’ve read, and while it provokes a lot of interesting questions – how the world would actually treat vigilante superheroes, what people should do when unable to relate to humanity, whether anything but fear can bring nations into one accord, the extent to which justice allows for mercy – it’s got a lot of distressing material: gruesome murders, artfully-offscreen revenge, awkward-but-also-artfully-offscreen sex, rape, more murder, cancerous blame-games, etc., etc. On one hand, I find it dismissible on account of how integral all of that is to the plot; on the other, I’m unsettled by how easily I can dismiss it.

    I suppose Girl Genius and Tales of the Questor might also be mentioned here, though somehow I feel you’d have heard of/read both by now. They’re both online and hairsplitters might protest that they’re webcomics-also-available-as-books, but a) I generally refuse to split hairs and 2) that means they’re instantly available and free and iii) there’s less gruesomeness about them both. And their archives are nice and long, though they’re neither of them finished yet.

    All this is to say “I haven’t really read too many graphic novels yet; what would YOU recommend?”

    Pahahaha on deadlines. One idea focuses on that very quotation….don’t let me forget to write about it…

    • Well, I haven’t exactly read tons of graphic novels, either. But of those I’ve read, I recommend Finder (obviously) and Fables, which is published by Vertigo. Fables’ premise is that all the fairy tale characters are real, and it focuses on a society of Western fairy tale characters secretly living in New York because their Homelands are under siege. It has beautiful art and is well written.

      If you read webcomics, I also recommend Freak Angels by Warren Ellis. It’s about a group of teens with mutant abilities living in a post apocalyptic London. Very well written, though warning for sex and a lot of profanity.

      Yeah, I started reading Watchmen, but it made me kind of depressed, so I didn’t finish it.

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