Friday, April 30, 2021

Graphic Nonfiction

I'm not a fan of comic books or even graphic novels that much, though I have come to appreciate some of them more than I thought I would. I realized not too long ago that it's probably has something to do with my form of neurodivergence, which just doesn't find the nonlinear visual page as easy to get content from as the written one.

But what I have found much more to my liking is the smaller category of what I guess must be called graphic nonfiction, for lack of a better term.

That could take the form of single graphics like this one Michael Leddy shared with me about the mental load women carry for men in their lives. Or this one by writer Ranae Hanson and two artist helpers, explaining how she came to perceive the connection between being diagnosed with diabetes and facing the climate crisis. Or the multi-pagers that end many issues of Yes magazine.

Often, though, it takes the form of an entire book. I thought I would list some of my favorites.

Probably the first ones I read were memoirs: Persepolis (and Persepolis 2) by Marjane Satrapi. Then Fun Home by Allison Bechdel.

I might have come across Guy Delisle's Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea next. Then Parecomic by Carl Thompson and Sean Michael Wilson, which is one of my favorite topic explainers on a topic I return to often in my thoughts.

Probably next was Gene Luen Yang's two-book young adult set, Boxers and Saints, which is more historical fiction than nonfiction, but so historically grounded that I think it counts. Then in 2017 on a trip to Montreal I found a copy of Fire!! The Zora Neale Hurston Story by Peter Bagge at the Drawn and Quarterly shop.

I've wanted to write about each of these books at some point over the years, and realize I probably never will fully, so I thought I would recognize them together for what they have in common. There are a lot of differences, too, of course, but their strength binds them.

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