Through 2013 I've read quite a few of what gets called 'graphic novels'--
A graphic novel is a book made up of comics content. Although the word "novel" normally refers to long fictional works, the term "graphic novel" is applied broadly, and includes fiction, non-fiction, and anthologized work. It is distinguished from the term "comic book", which is used for comics periodicals (ref).I guess most of what I've read can be called graphic novels but I've learnt to appreciate the periodicals too.
There has been a mix of quality in what I've read. I won't detail my preferences, but here is my top ten list for the year (in no particular order/you can get more details here):
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (Scott McCloud)
Hey, Wait... (Jason)
Tits and Clits (Various women)
Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (Ulli Lust)
Percy Gloom (Cathy Malkasian )
Monologues for the Coming Plague (Anders Nilsen)
Box Office Poison ( Alex Robinson)
Why I Hate Saturn ( Kyle Baker)
Stuck Rubber Baby (Howard Cruise)
Drawn to New York: An Illustrated Chronicle of Three Decades in New York City (Peter Kuper)
It has been an amazing journey both through graphics , dialogue, characterisations and story telling such that I'm gobsmacked at the skill and creativity of the folk who make this stuff.
Among my stand out preferences this last year has to be Peter Kuper: always inventive, engaging and wryly observant. A great talent. But it is to the women I owe my biggest collective debt: Ulli Lust, Cathy Malkasian, Mary Fleener and M.K Brown. Already this year I'm blown away by Gabrielle Bell and can't wait to get my hands on Joyce Farmer's Special Exits.
Why women? Because so much comic work generated by men is misogynist, arrogant and self serving...more so than you'd find in many literary genres. It's a burden than cheapens the medium. It is machismo and sexism that has played such a big part in underground and alternative comics culture.
As for me...
While I suffer from bouts of comic makers/collage artist's block, I have been productive and experimental. I'm learning by dint of self taught DIY.
Since I'm not drawing or inking I'm not in sync with these others. I may start drawing over the next year -- combining art work with my photomontage and collage approach -- such that my work will tend towards a sort of assemblage or scrap book medium with words . I love the improvisational impulse offered by finding graphics and working through the stimulus they offer.
And besides I can work more quickly using found objects than generating panels from scratch with pen or brush.
I also hope to create more stop motion animations. But it is very time consuming to do so, although my technique is becoming more inventive.
My problem is that I have more projects in my head than my creativity discipline is up to fulfilling. So that's the gambit, I guess: I need to develop more discipline .
Mind you if I did manage to sentence myself to the comicifying on a work-a-day sort of schedule it would be quite an adventure. I can envisage a niche I could fill if I could only skill up.
But then, while my dyslexia worsens (a cognitive symptom of my Fibromyalgia) I'm gonna have to get myself a proof reader cum editor to correct my seemingly silly mistakes.