Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Comic That Changed Your Life: Part II

Editor's note: Last week, we ran a piece by Megan Kurashige, in which she asked people, "What is the comic that changed your life?"  You can find the first installment here--today, we feature more of the answers...

Eduardo Ceballos, a filmmaker, told me about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. "It's such a bizarre little comic and Scott Pilgrim is in his own little world. And he has the challenges that come with being in your own little world, with the real world moving around you and you not noticing… That's why I relate to the character. It's like how I think. And the storytelling, just the character arc, the story arc… I think that's what is important for any kind of story, whether in a film or book or comic book. It all comes down to storytelling."

Sean Chiki, a fantastic and brilliant artist and the resident comics expert at Booksmith on Haight Street, picked Enslaved by the Needle by Joost Swarte. "I must have read it in Heavy Metal Magazine, back in the eighties, before the magazine took a turn for the worst. Growing up, I was (still am, actually) obsessed with Tintin, but I had always associated his style with children's comics, until I discovered later practitioners of "Ligne Claire," many of whom had an underground sensibility. Joost Swarte seemed to have the perfect blend of clean, modernist graphics and warped, somewhat disturbed storytelling. He even coined the term "Ligne Claire."

["Ligne Claire," for any of you who are as unfamiliar with this term as I was when Sean mentioned it is, according to Wikipedia, "a style of drawing pioneered by HergĂ©, the Belgian creator of The Adventures of Tintin. It uses clear strong lines of uniform importance." Sean's own comics work fits right in with this sensibility.]  

Harley Stein is an author and a presentation consultant. He is also the father of one of my best friends and I've heard stories about his epic love for Batman. But, he told me that if he were going to pick a comic that changed his life, it would be Spider-Man. "Spider-Man was different. He was a teenager, and as a teenage boy he had problems I could see coming in my life. He was uncertain and procrastinated on making decisions--and then still made the wrong choice. And his life was a mess! Batman and the other heroes were easy to look up to, easy to dream about, but Spider-Man… Well, I could be him! He made me believe that I, too, could make a difference without superpowers, without money."

Next week: the final installment.

By Megan Kurashige