Going Through My Graphic Novels: Cull or Keep? (SPOILERS)

I've got rather alot of graphic novels, most of which sit on my bookshelves or in boxes in my closets from one year to the next, never being looked at. So, I've decided to go through them all, re-reading each one and deciding whether to keep it or to cull it. Culls will be donated to the local public library.

 

As I re-read each one, I'm going to try to present my impression of each one, and then announce the verdict: Cull or Keep?

 

There will be spoilers here, so beware. I most likely won't read one every day, but I 'm going to try to keep up a steady pace.

 

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Actually, I did mention Goscinny, if you go back up a post or three, but these are later books. Wish I still had the early ones, but they seem to have gotten lost a move or two ago.

I've read different theories as to why the Asterix books were never big in this country - from simply that they were "too European", to the notion that since we're the modern world's "Romans", we instinctively don't cotton to stories where the original Romans tend to end up looking like chumps.

When I was little, one of our local papers carried a daily Asterix comic strip briefly, but it didn't catch on, really.
I see the books sometimes in some of the bigger comics stores, but I've never seen them in a Barnes & Noble, or Borders, when they still existed.

Maybe if they had colorful costumes they would have caught on. I've wondered the same thing about Tintin. (Except the one with the aliens. Never saw the point in a story where the hero doesn't remember it even happened at the end.) I found most of his books at the library (with the exceptions of the first two, possibly because they're controversial, and the final one that was unfinished when Herge died. His assistant started to finish it but Herge's widow asked him not to.

When I was a kid visiting my uncle and his family in Manhatten where he was the superintendent of an apartment building, my cousin took to the basement where there were a catacomb of chambers. In my uncle's workshop, he gave me a slightly dinged up but very readable copy of Asterix and the Goths. I was enthralled! The combination of heroics, history and absurdity was amazing and the dialogue had a Marxian quality to it (Groucho, not Karl)! Later on, I got several more and enjoyed each one! What a wonderful series!
 
Figserello said:

Every day I read something that makes me pity America, but not having Asterix books?   ... Tch.

How come you don't mention Goscinny, the original collaborator with Uderzu?  Are these later books?

Asterix is wonderful.  The art is so expressive.  And pretty much without flaw.  It's as if they were drawn by a machine.  And there is a wily understanding of how humans act and react that lifts the books above mere kids entertainment.  The English translations are verging on genius, when you consider they were written in a different language originally.

What can I say?  I'm a fan!

Karl Marx would have written one weird Asterix book.

The Baron said:Actually, I did mention Goscinny, if you go back up a post or three, but these are later books. Wish I still had the early ones, but they seem to have gotten lost a move or two ago.

Sorry, I missed that.  Anyway, I see you explained that these are Goscinny-only books.

I've read different theories as to why the Asterix books were never big in this country - from simply that they were "too European", to the notion that since we're the modern world's "Romans", we instinctively don't cotton to stories where the original Romans tend to end up looking like chumps.

Interesting theory.  Normally I like that angle, but I'd say that the US has only been playing the overt Roman role in the last 10-15 years. But that might be just a function of my age.  I wasn't really aware of much when the US was bringing the Pax Americana to SE Asia, and was being fought off by small angry villagers in pajama-like trousers and sandals.

Come to think of it maybe it was all a bit too close to home...

Considering we are really talking about Asterix not taking off in America in its 60s-70s heyday - is it condescending of me to suggest that Asterix was too complex (Asterix' village was full of chumps too...) and cosmopolitan (with all those different cultures and languages being represented) for Poughkeepsie, or wherever those cinema moguls famously aimed their wares at?

The combination of heroics, history and absurdity was amazing and the dialogue had a Marxian quality to it (Groucho, not Karl)!

Very nicely put!

From wiki: "Born in New York City, the Marx Brothers were the sons of immigrants from Germany and France."

Well, now...

Puss in Boots made a lot more money in 2011 than Tintin did. We seem to want to avoid culture in this country. Perhaps if Captain Haddock drank a lot more they could get the beer crowd.

From what I saw of the Tintin movie, it didn't seem to capture the comics properly.  It looked freakish, with that 3D CGI animation.  I'm a fan of Tintin too, but never felt I had to see that movie.

In the comics, Haddock is a complete soak, so that's another score against it, if he wasn't a lush in the movie..

And to think Spielberg used to be infallible...

I feel the same way about most movies these days. Especially horror. Got a bunch of recent horror movies for Halloween and compared to them Freddy's Dead should have won an Oscar. My sister just told me today she and her sons just saw the recent film Oculus, and after awhile they stopped trying to make sense of what was going on, both because the stars were victims of plot induced stupidity and the film was full of far too many flashbacks. From her description it sounds like they put the wrong character in a mental hospital for 11 years.

More fun with our favoite Gaul as I re-read Asterix and the Secret Weapon, by Albert Uderzo.  Women's lib arrives in the village in the form of Bravura, a female bard, whilst Caesar, knowing that the Gauls would never fight women, sends a century of female legionaries to attack the village.

 

This is interesting, as it seems to reflect the sexual attitudes of an early 60's sitcom - the female legionaries are all worried about snakes and spiders in the forest, and are distracted from attacking the village by an impromptu fashion show! The men, of course, are all reactionary "I'm the boss around here!" types.

 

Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Next is Asterix and the Actress, by Albert Uderzo. In this one, our heroes get caught up in the machinations of Pompey, who is attempt to raise an army to rebel against Caesar. The more interesting part in this is that we get to meet the parents of both Asterix and Obelix, the first time we've seen much of their backgrounds. The story itself is not one of the stronger efforts.

 

Cull or Keep?: Keep, though more for the backstory than for the story itself.

 

Lastly, we have Asterix and the Falling Sky, by Albert Uderzo. While there have always been fantasy elements in these books, this one goes flat-out sci-fi, as the friendly alien Toon from the planet Tadsilweny and the hostile alien Nagma both arrive on Earth seeking to obtain the druid's magic potion.

 

Toon has an army of familiar-looking Superclones who subsist on hot dogs, whilst the Nagma had an army of mechas called Cyberats. One does get the impression that Uderzo isn't that big of a manga fan.

 

Cull or Keep?: Keep. It's always interesting to see how other cultrues look at our popular culture.

As a side note, in my own personal canon, Hourman's "Miraclo" was simply a re-discovery of the Gaulish "magic potion".

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