Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hey! It's Me in the University of Texas Library Newsletter! Talking Comics!

A while back I was hanging out in the office of the Communications Officer for the UT Library.  I like to go in there both because Travis is hilarious and also because he often let's me take promo items like pens and whatnot.  Anyway, I was hanging out and Travis asked if I'd be interested in participating in their usual feature for the official newsletter for the UT Library where they ask a librarian to talk about some books they like.

Well, I'm not a librarian, but it's not like I can't read, and lord knows I'm not going to not give my opinion if asked.  "Can you walk about comics?" asked Travis.

"How many thousand words?" I asked.

Apparently they keep asking librarians this question, and they tend to get a lot of the same sorts of columns.  The Hail mary desperation play: ask the guy with the Superman poster what he thinks folks could be reading.

So, this quarter it's yours truly on Page 10 of the UT Library Newsletter.  "Ryan Steans Recommends".

I tried to mix it up a bit by mentioning different kinds of comics: biography, memoir, sci-fi, superhero...  We'll see how I did.

And, yes, Longhorns, that's me in the stacks of the PCL where I work everyday.


Anonymous said...

So, where's the link? TA

The League said...

It's that funny blue text above where I said "it's yours truly on Page 10 of the UT Library Newsletter."

Anonymous said...

Kind of weird, but the "blue" didn't show up either time I opened it. (No, I am not making an excuse!).

Very well written, and at a level appropriate to the audience. Interesting to see the other articles and their scholarly content. It is great that you were asked to contribute and you did a very nice job in raising it to the correct level.

The word "comics" no longer fits the medium. The vast majority are not comic, and the art has progressed to a much more sophisticated state. While "graphic novels" is a good fit for the longer, more complex stories it
seems there should be a name or term for the standard length which is more descriptive and garners more interest and respect. (Is one out there and I am just out of the loop?)


The League said...

That question gets floated every few years.

I think the truth is that the folks working in the medium have pushed back against new names because they're done asking the mainstream to accept the art form. They'd like to see the medium accepted on its own terms or to hell with the establishment, you know? It's been an art form and community that's built itself for 100 years, so there's not a lot of interest in changing to suit folks with nothing invested and even when you do change or try to explain what a graphic novel is to somebody, there's usually that awkward moment where you just say "yeah, it's a comic book".

Other names have been suggested. Sequential Art. Stuff like that. At the end of the day "comics" is usually what people immediately understand. In print, writing "comix" also carries some weight when talking about underground or indie comics.