Oh man, I am angry! Long newspost warning!
So today while I was drawing the comic my good buddy Lem
linked this Wired article
in the IRC channel. It starts off with a rant about mp3s that would have been stale coming from your grandma five years ago ("90,000 mp3s? WHY ON EARTH WOULD ANYBODY NEED THAT MUCH MUSIC??? GET A LIFE").
But the REALLY GOOD part comes in the next section of the article, where he talks about how Gene Yang's
acclaimed graphic novel American Born Chinese apparently doesn't deserve to be nominated for a national book award...because it's a comic
My favorite quote is this:
"...as literature, the comic book does not deserve equal status with real novels, or short stories. It's apples and oranges."
He then goes on to say:
"If you've ever tried writing a real novel, you'll know where I'm coming from. To do it, and especially to do it well enough to be nominated for this award, the American equivalent of France's Prix Goncourt or Britain's Booker Prize, is exceedingly difficult."
Thereby implying that writing a graphic novel is somehow easier than writing a "real" novel.
It is precisely this kind of backward, ignorant stereotyping that has plagued comics for far too long. Claiming that a graphic novel, no matter how good, is inherently inferior to a prose work and thereby doesn't deserve to be nominated for book awards (to say nothing of the precedent set when Maus won a Pulitzer) is not only ignorant, but demonstrates an utter lack of understanding of the National Book Award's nomination standards. You'll notice that it's the National BOOK Award, not the National NOVEL Award- there is nothing there which makes a disctinction between prose and graphic storytelling. Nowhere in the entry guidelines
does it say anything about graphic novels being inadmissible, and clearly the fact that they nominated one
would indicate that the judges find graphic novels admissible. This is shoddy reporting at best and a willful insult to Gene Yang at worst.
Of course, this guy isn't a REAL journalist. I mean, he publishes articles on the INTERNET. It's apples and oranges! And if you've ever tried writing a REAL piece of journalism, you'll know where I'm coming from. It's exceedingly difficult.