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Friday, September 6, 2013

Some graphic novels about art:

Visual Art


Bellstorf, Arne (2012) Baby’s in Black:  Astird Kirschherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and the Beatles.  New York:  First Second.
Set during the early days of the Beatles, this concerns the romance between bassist Stuart Sutcliffe and photographer Astrid Kirchherr.  Sutcliffe eventual leaves the band to become a visual artist and e close to Astrid and the way she sees the world.  Not really a happy ending. Best for high school or older.


Castellucci, C. and J. Rugg (2007). The Plain Janes. New York, Minx.
After a 9-11 sort of incident, a girl named Jane moves to a new school where she eventually meets a bunch of other girls whose names are all variations of Jane.  Together they use art to wake up their sleepy little town.  Best for middle school and high school girls.

Castellucci, C. and J. Rugg (2008). Janes in Love. New York, Minx (DC).
The Janes are back and looking for love.  Actually a nice story.  Tow themes:  Art rules and be yourself.  Best for middle school and high school girls.  

Kindt, Matt(2013)  Red Handed:  The Fine Art of Strange Crimes.  New York:  First Second
When it was on my shelf, waiting to be read, I figured it would be a graphic novel about strange crimes and the mysteries that surround them.  I was figuring it was going to be an excellent non-fiction book (or, in the current bizarre parlance of Education-speak: an Informational Book).  When I finally started reading it, I had it pegged as an exciting whodunit kind of a book.  By the time I finished it, I was seriously confused.  I enjoyed it, I am just not sure how to describe it.  This book is about mystery, crime, heroism, art, the uncertainty of knowing, morality, and more beside.
     It seems targeted for adults, and there are one or two scenes that hint at marital infidelity  -- but it is pretty much PG 13 -- a high school kid could handle this  (See the illustration below.)  This scene is about as risque as it gets.
     There are some very intriguing moments -- a woman who steals chairs from places she works and stores them all in her house, a man who steals famous paintings, cuts them up, and sells framed pieces of them.  A different woman who plans the perfect crime, and a detective who solves crimes by relying on cameras.  There are also some scenes that are likely to disinterest some  high school readers including a couple of long digressions about the meaning of art.  In the end, it all comes together and wraps up nicely, though I would not call the ending satisfying. 
     The art is strong, and the use of panels most excellent, but I am afraid this book is not destined to become one of your all time favorites.  Don't rush out to buy it -- but if you see it at your favorite bookstore, page through it for a while -- if it interests you, check it out.  I could be completely wrong about it.

Thompson, C. (2004). Blankets. Marietta, GA Top Shelf Productions.
Good semi-autobiographical story – deals with conflict between fundamentalist religion and artistic expression.  Nice bit of romance.  Might be hard to use in high school, though.  Some nudity.

Thompson, Craig.  (2006)  Carnet de Voyage. Marietta, Georgia: Top Shelf
Craig goes on a trip to Europe and deals with life and his own art while there. 



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