Libraries let you read graphic novels for free. That’s it, man —– the rest of this article is just going to be driving that point home, so if you can grasp that simple concept, get outta here and go read the complete Lone Wolf & Cub series, Ultimate Spider-Man, Strangers In Paradise; whatever. I just stumbled across my own local library’s graphic novel section recently, and so far have read The New Frontier, which was absolutely wonderful; The Golden Age, which was kinda like a companion piece to New Frontier but darker and not quite as good, and Chiaroscuro, which is just as bad as I remember from when the maxiseries came out back in the early ’90s. Chiaroscuro was the series that woke me up to just how much I was spending on comics I didn’t like. I was three issues into it when I realized that the series as a whole would cost me… well, I don’t remember how much the comics cost, but all together they’d have cost me a hell of a lot more than the trade paperback would, and for what? For a mid-nineties Vertigo book, which meant that the comic sucked despite the pretty cover. Man, those Vertigo books all had great covers, didn’t they? Too bad they’re not consistent with the depressing, arrogant storylines which usually proved how hip they were by including a character who was gay, or an addict, or a prostitute, or all three. Just like Chiaroscuro.
The point I’m making here is that yes, I read a lousy graphic novel, but I didn’t have to pay for it. I’m probably going to read some more bad ones in the near future, but so what? I loved The New Frontier, and will be buying my own copy soon. Next on the list is Osama Tezuka’s Buddha, vols 1-5 (or less, depending) and then who knows? All I know is that when I go for my weekly comics, I’ll have that much more money to spend on books I know I’ll like.
Oh, and for current comics? Loved — LOVED — the Skrull storyline in both New Avengers & Mighty Avengers this past week. Keep up the great work, Bendis!