Diverse comic books for diverse experiences: Deji Bryce Olukotun writes about the work of Gene Luen Yang and the importance of having “our own personal superhero”
"You can read Magneto as the nightmare of every post-1945 Jewish humanist. He is the Jew who lost the soulful liberalism of the Yiddishkeit, and who has allowed the Holocaust to turn him into everything he despises. He is the Jew who will bomb Gaza and say, with some credibility, that it is for defense while privately acknowledging a pleasure in revenge. He is the Jew who has allowed the Holocaust to instill in him a debilitating paranoia.”
Spider-Man was one of the few superheroes who was more interesting than the supervillains he fought.
Spider-Man and Peter Parker were inventions of New York, not the New York of our world, but a New York, despite all Lee and Ditko’s use of proper landmark names, that was as foreign as Metropolis or Gotham City. When Marvel Comics introduced a new Spider-Man in its Ultimate Universe a few years ago, one who had a black father and a Latino mother, the decision only highlighted one of the weirder elements of the world Lee and Ditko created 50 years before. Parker was a working-class teenager growing up in 1960s Queens and yet his social circle — Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, Flash Thompson, Betty Brant, Ned Leeds — did not include anyone with an obvious white-ethnic marker, an Irish, Italian, or Jewish name.
"The problem with Spider-Man is the same problem with all popular comics heroes. Eventually, after several hundred issues, he hit a moment of stasis in which he stopped evolving, stopped discovering the strange hidden facets of his personality.”
Audrey Niffenegger has a new short story in the form of a comic. She collaborated with cartoonist Eddie Campbell on a comic about the dangers of using P.I.s to spy on your husband. The comic is one in a series of collaborations between novelists and cartoonists to celebrate the British Library’s forthcoming exhibition of British comics.
After 73 years, everyone’s favorite redheaded comic book hero will be killed off. Archie Andrews will die in a July issue of the Life With Archie comic. “He dies saving the life of a friend and does it in his usual selfless way,” Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater said. That won’t be the last you’ll see of Archie, though, because Lena Dunham will write a few issues in one of Archie’s other comic incarnations.
We all doodle, but Meg Wolitzer gets inspired by it. When she was writing The Interestings, she frequently drew her way into her characters. “I sometimes drew crude, Harvey- and Archie-inspired images of my characters, in keeping with the spirit of Ethan Figman and Figland,” she wrote in The New Yorker.