There’s a good chance you’ve belonged to a book club at some point in your life; perhaps it was required, perhaps for fun, perhaps an excuse for friends to get together and drink while gossiping about which characters they like or hate. If a book club is not part of your regular social regimen, I suggest you engage in some such behavior as soon as possible.
I’m an active member of two of the, perhaps at first glance, not-quite-so-erudite of the King’s Books book clubs, but both are hugely satisfying, delivering the joy of regular literary exploration with like-minded enthusiasts.
I’ve been reading comics since I was a kid, though like some of you, I neglected comics for about 15 years, only to happily rediscover them in my adulthood.
Re-entry, or just plain entry into the world of comics can be daunting; its a particularly prolific and wildly-varied genre.
Thankfully, book clubs are a perfect conduit for informed exploration, particularly when they’re led by book store owners.
Both the Graphic Novel and Capes & Cowls Book Clubs are refreshingly eclectic assemblages of comic devotees, skeptics, and the comic-curious – including academics, librarians, artists, scientists, teachers, certifiable comic geeks, and total novices.
When we meet, we discuss the history of the writers and artists, our favorite pages, symbolic relevance, questions ranging from artist and author intent, and even scrutinize costuming.
A pleasing, almost old-fashioned way to while away an evening, it’s fun to stretch and use all those quietly stagnating critical discourse muscles again, long neglected since college graduation (and to unabashedly nerd out about superheroes with a sympathetic group).
Due to the expert leadership of sweet pea, and savvy suggestions from the more knowledgeable book club participants, I have secured an entirely new library of graphic novels and discovered some very exciting artists and writers.
If you were to join up, there’s a a lot of excellent literature you’ve missed, so let me share some of my very favorite discoveries I’ve enjoyed thanks to Graphic Novel and Capes & Cowls Book Clubs (and of course you can stock up on any of these at King’s Books):
Sensational She-Hulk by John Byrne
Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
Tekkon Kinkreet: Black & White by Taiyo Matsumoto
The Complete Essex County by Jeff Lemire
Pluto by Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka
All-Star Superman 1 & 2 by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely
The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century by Frank Miller & Dave Gibbons
From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
Black Hole by Charles Burns
Batman: Year One by Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli
Batman: Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison & Dave McKean
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Stitches by David Small
Incognito by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
If picture books aren’t your thing, that’s absolutely understandable (though just a little disappointing) and King’s Books offers many other options when it comes to literary camaraderie, as you can see from this companion article. Join in any of the seven active book clubs or start one of your own!
Now if book clubs aren’t your thing but comics are, King’s Books owner sweet pea is working hard to expand a very discerning collection of comics and graphic novels for you to choose from. Stop in and ask about his current favorite.