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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The Baron said:

It seems such an obvious gimmick, to tell the story of one these "sleeping kings" re-awakening. Has anyone else ever done it?

There's a list of comics here which mentions several reincarnations-of-Arthur in (Avalon High [a continuation of a novel], "Cagim" in Eerie, The Knights of Pendragon, Mage)  and a story from EC's Valor involving the apparent return of Arthur in the Middle Ages. I found a review of another, recent comics one called Arthur: The Legends Continues here.

Googling "Does one good return deserve another?" "Raymond H. Thompson" brings up an essay at Google Books that discusses a number of works of fiction on the theme. Most of the ones with actual returns of Arthur, as opposed to reincarnations of Arthur and/or other Arthurian characters, post-date 1970. The essay is the introduction to the collection King Arthur's Modern Return ed. Debra N. Mancoff.

There's got to be other examples, including ones involving sleeping kings other than Arthur in the literature of the countries they came from.

It's not comics, but Peter David wrote a trilogy of prose novels about King Arthur coming back in modern New York City. They are titled Knight Life, One Knight Only and Fall of Knight. I haven't read them.

The Camelot in Four Colors site mentions some more on its page on Arthurian stories in non-Arthurian series, here. This page mentions further relevant items.

Cool, gents, thanks for the info!

I did alot of reading yesterday.  First up is The Plot, by Will Eisner, essentially a history of the infamous anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocol of the Elders of Zion.  Eisner gives a history of the Protocols, demonstrating that although it has been convincingly proven that they were plagiarized from an older French document attacking Napoleon III, people in many places still believe in them as valid, even today.


This was one of the last things Eisner did, and one can tell that it was very important to him. About the only criticism I would offer is that parts of it are a bit dry, particualrly in the parts where Eisner documents similarities between the French document and the Protocols.


Cull or Keep?: Definitely keep. Everyone should read this.

Next was Asterix and the Magic Carpet, by Albert Uderzo.  The Asterix books were a big treat when I was a kid, my parents would bring them back from their trips to Canada - in those days, they were very difficult to find in the US. Originally, they were written by Rene Goscinny, but artist Uderzo took over the writing chores when his partner passed away.


As I recall, the Asterix books tended to fall into one of three categories:


  1. Asterix and his pals visit some foreign country for one reason or another.
  2. The Gauls deal with something closer to home, usually either a Roman attempt to disrupt their village or some form of internal dissension.
  3. Something else.


This story falls under the first category, as a fakir from India seeks the Gauls' help in bringing rain to his drought-stricken village.  The book contains the usual stuff one comes to expect form one  of these stories - funny names, baddies getitng beaten up, and an ending where our heroes sit around and have a big feast.  Brilliant writing? No, but sufficiently amusing.


Cull or Keep?: Keep, though as much for sentimental reasons as anything else.

Finally, there was Asterix and Obelix All at Sea, by Albert Uderzo.  This one was kind of an odd mixture, with a number of plot threads. Roman slaves revotl and commandeer Caesar's galley, making for the Gaulish village. Meanwhile, Obelix overdoes on magic potion and is returned to childhood, causing our heroes to seek help for him from survivors of Atlantis in the Canary Islands. It'  bit "crowded", but it was an interesting attempt to do something new, anyhow.


Cull or Keep?: Keep.

Definitely agreed about The Plot. It's a great, really important work. Absolutely a keeper.

I second that. I have all of Eisner's TPBs and have never been disappointed. Glad I got to shake his hand in San Diego.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Definitely agreed about The Plot. It's a great, really important work. Absolutely a keeper.

There was the 90s cartoon Mummiies Alive, based on a toy line, about the pharaoh Ramesis being reincarnated in the present day. More recently there was the card game Yu-Gi-Oh. While the pharaoh in that was a ghost that possessed someone that looked like him other characters were reincarnations of his guardians while he was alive, and the writer apparently didn't see any difference, since he said in an interview to Viz that the pharaoh was a past life of the main character's.

Only Asterix I ever saw was the cartoon The Twelve Tasks of Asterix, which I had to watch and write a poem about in school. Never seen the books anywhere. The stores that used to be all over the place used to carry a lot of manga but European comics are almost as scarce as unicorns. The few survivors tend to stick to the companies Diamond puts at the front of their book.

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!

Haven't read them but someone told me the ones without Goscinny don't work.

I know Goscinny worked on Lucky Luke, but again all I've seen is one cartoon, the first one.

A guy in Canada recently told me he was shocked at how the characters in Tintin had their names changed in English. He'd never seen an English version until the movie came out. I've heard it wasn't very successful, Pity. Means it's unlikely more like it will be made.

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