Thursday, April 27, 2006

Blasted Contraption!

Today was the used book fair at the boys' school. This is a day they greatly anticipate. First, we begin by cleaning house on all the books they no longer read, and for every ten books they bring in, the boys get a $1 credit towards another book purchase.

We took in 200 books, and the boys each earned a $10 credit. So, out with the old and in with the new. Luke chose a real cheese-log of a book called Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. I don't know why someone would want to get rid of this!

It's a quasi-comic book, which I have later learned is called a "graphic novel." The cover is like a regular paperback, but otherwise, it's just a comic book inside without advertisements.

The book is filled with voluptuous babes, big guns, and cheesy macho role models. The dialog is trite and overdone. This is perfect dreck for Luke. He lops this stuff up like I do sausage gravy. As a parent, I have to say, "Hey, at least he's reading!"

To give you a sample of the literary (ahem) content within its pages, here's one of the fine captions:

What did Eddie choose? Is it any surprise that Eddie chose more academic titles--geography and culture books on Canada, Germany, Japan, China, and one about U.S. National Parks?


JamesF said...

The term you're looking for to describe the comic is "Graphic Novel". They became popular in the 80s thanks to Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" book. That won critical acclaim and subsequently everyone started having graphic novels that tried to provide the definite definition of a character.

Unfortunately the book you're looking at wasn't one of the better ones. It dealt with SHIELD (originally known as Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law Enforcement Division, but later changed Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage and Logistics Directorate) having become corrupted and Nick (who is the leader of SHIELD) having to fix the problem. I should point out that to further make this sound crazy, Nick has the Inifity Formula coursing through his veins which slows his aging (thus explaining how a guy that was in War Comics in the 40s is still alive and kicking and running SHIELD in the current day). SHIELD is most notably known for it's Hellicarrier (think of an aircraft carrier with helicopter like propellers at the four corners that allow it to fly, I'm sure it's fuel efficient). At any given time SHIELD is either the shadowy govt agency that stands between you and what goes bump in the night or is a shadowy organization that has become corrupted (the number of times SHIELD has been corrupted is a lot, even more times than Nick has died and somehow come back to life).

But I digress...

Scott said...

Well, I can see where your mispent youth went... reading comics. (I mean, graphic novels!)

You knew a hell of a lot more about that than I thought was possible.

You wanna borrow it when Luke is done?

Barry said...

Responding to James:
You are a big "L" !!

Sandi said...

Scott, I worked at Babenhausen in the BSEP (Basic Skill Education Program) teaching English skills so illiterate GI's that flooded into the military during the Carter Administration could read their basic manuals & be able to do something more than sign their name. We allowed them to read "Graphic Novels" or anything else that they wanted just to get them to read & write.

Keep in mind that many of these guys came out of the inner city in many of our large metro areas. They had usually been in trouble repeatedly with the law & were given the choice of the military or jail. The guys were all school drops outs., at that time they didn't have to have a HS education to go into the military. So graphic novels do have their place?

JamesF said...

Sadly no, I don't need to borrow it because I think I own it (and next five issues). If I recall, Quartermain turns out to be a LMD (Life Model Decoy). See, the problem with doing a Spy / Covert organization comic book is you you have it set in the superhero (btw, the term superhero is a trademark of Marvel and DC Comics, a bit of useless trivia there) universe where the fantastic and impossible are taken for granted. Therefore doing a spy story in that type of universe is extremely difficult.

And yes, I am the big L.

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