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One of the advantages of the internet is that i can find out about some of the great Independent books before Wizard buzz & awards make them impossible to find. One such book looks to be Craig Thompson's Blankets, his next book after Goodbye, Chunky Rice. Everyone from Neil Gaiman to Brian Michael Bendis is singing its praise, so I had to look it up.

Truth be told, my copy came in recently, but I cant post a review until I'm done wiht it, and unfortunately have been busy this week. Rest assured, I intend to when I finish it, but I wanted to get a few things out there. For one, its massive - 300+ pages, and it goes for about $30. From what all the reviews say, its looking to sweep - or at least do very well - at this year's Eisners (im happy to read one of the candidates before the list comes out, i feel all avant-garde now), so I ventured, thinking it could really be worth it. Here's some info on it:


Thompson's page with a preview of a few pages


The Fourth Rail's review


"... a rarity: a first-love story so well remembered and honest that it reminds you what falling in love feels like. ... achingly beautiful." -- Time Magazine


"... virtual poetry." -- Entertainment Weekly


"Thompson's art ... possesses the artistic detail of a novel rendered in comic-book panels ... In telling his story, which includes beautifully rendered memories of the small brutalities that parents inflict upon their children and siblings upon each other, Thompson describes the ecstasy and ache of obsession (with a lover, with God) and is unafraid to suggest the ways that obsession can consume itself and evaporate." -- Ken Tucker, The New York Times Book Review


"Thompson manages to explore adolescent social yearnings, the power of young love and the complexities of sexual attraction with a rare combination of sincerity, pictorial lyricism and taste. His exceptional drawings balance representational precision with a bold and wonderfully expressive line for pages of ingenious, inventively composed and poignant imagery." -- Publishers Weekly


"Blankets is a great American novel." -- Andrew D. Arnold, Time.com


"This book is a masterpiece ... people will be discussing it in the same breath as A Contract with God, Maus, and Sandman. ... It's the first truly great graphic novel of the 21st century, and I assure you that my own words don't do it any sort of justice." -- Aintitcool.com


"[Craig Thompson] has produced the most poetic evocation of life in the Upper Midwest since the early novels and stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald." -- ICV2.com


"I thought it was moving, tender, beautifully drawn, painfully honest, and probably the most important graphic novel since JIMMY CORRIGAN." -- Neil Gaiman


"In this book, Craig Thompson emerges as a young comics master. In the purest narrative form he tells a highly charged personal story, crammed with pain, discovery, hi-jinx, penance, religious conviction and its loss ... and along comes self-loathing. In this story of family and first love, that which goes awry in life, goes well as art. Mr. Thompson is slyly self-effacing as he bowls us over with his mix of skills. His expert blending of words and pictures and resonant silences makes for a transcendent kind of story-telling that grabs you as you read it and stays with you after you put it down. I'd call that literature. -- Jules Feiffer, Pulitzer Prize-Winner


"Thompson's graphic novel debut, Good-bye, Chunky Rice, was a delicate parable of loss that garnered deserved acclaim. [This] eagerly awaited, follow-up to it is more ambitious, more accomplished, and more accessible... this is a genuine graphic novel, with a universal appeal ..." -- Gordon Flagg, Booklist, American Library Association


"Blankets officially confirms Craig Thompson's place in the world of graphic novels as one of the true greats." -- Brian Michael Bendis


"Craig has documented his youth in the most honest of ways. Not too warm and fuzzy nor too harsh and cold, showing us the insecurities of growing up in what is often a strange and sometimes painful world. The perfect marriage of words and pictures. It's as if Francios Truffaut had written and drawn his own comic with the artistry Will Eisner. His sense of timing is impeccable, always knowing when not to hit you with a heavy hand. It's the genuine article. -- Bob Schreck, Group Editor, DC Comics


"Blankets is one of the most ambitious original graphic novels ever produced in the medium ... both universal and enlightening." -- Peter Siegel, www.artbomb.net


"Blankets is ... the artistic coming of age of an entire school of comics and raises the bar on what the American graphic novel can achieve. Don't miss it!" -- Heidi MacDonald, Comics Buyer's Guide


"Blankets is a rare achievement, a work of art that redefines the parameters of its designated medium. No other graphic novel of this kind has been published ... virtually impossible not to read in one sitting." -- M. William Helfrich, Portland Mercury


"Blankets deftly explores with subtle nuance those universal themes that ballast the best coming-of-age tales: Familial ties, sex, spirituality. ... Blankets represents the full potential of the comic-book medium." -- David Walker, Willamette Week


As a graphic novel, it's a quietly stunning achievement among the best the medium has to offer, with a wealth of rich, evocative imagery that could not be duplicated in literature or film. It's a superlative work that deserves to be read by as many non-comics fans as one can loan it to. -- Chris Allen, Moviepoopshoot.com


" ... a treasure trove of image and word ... Thompson's illustrations pack more beauty and power than much prose or poetry, and the frozen images allow the reader's gaze to linger, to examine, to climb inside the picture in ways that film cannot. ... Words cannot do it justice. One page after the next opens to wondrous images, and the feelings behind them are sincere and overpowering. I would be unlikely to share Blankets with someone who told me they wanted to understand comix. Instead, I would give it to anyone who told me they wanted to read a book that made them feel transcendent, sad, generous, hopeful -- but above all, to truly feel something ..." -- Chris Bolton, Powells.com


" ... a sober, profound meditation on the protective space two individuals can create by moving close together. ... an impressively concrete portrait of emotional ephemera, captured with talent, disarming humor, and a gentle sincerity that glows through on every remarkable page." -- Tasha Robinson, The Onion


" ... every page argues the value of the form as a sophisticated means of personal expression." -- Curt Holman, Creative Loafing


Amazon.com - where i picked it up for $20 with free shipping. Helluva deal, tho its label, Top Shelf, is offering a "buy 2 trades, get one free" deal as I hear it. If youre up for it & in an indy mood, I highly recommend Monkey vs Robot, a great short one that I'm doing a review on hopefully soon.


Again, review forthcoming, but seriously: that's an awful lot of hype for a little-known indy project. Those who've read it on other boards have honestly mentioned being brought to tears at parts; what i know of the plot involves a coming-of-age young boy whose fundamentalist family is..unusal, and his one shot at love & all that. I'd love to see others get in on this one.



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That'd be really cool, id love to see more get onto this one, it seems to really deserve the attention. Im hopin to pimp it out soon, just dont wanna push it all-out till im finished..but honestly, I hope ya do, you & 2T both if he can, and be sure to give feedback if you do. I intend to start reviewing in here like you do with movies, and this one's shaping up to be that really good one that needs hype. Ill look around for cheaper copies, too.

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:D Just read a little into it so far and already I know that this is the kinda thing that illustrators and cartoonists would kill to pull off as well as Thompson does. Like Maus, this one makes me kinda depressed every time I sketch out another panel of superficial DTL fluff. Now I need to go and actually buy the thing...
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Wow... just... wow. Damn Thompson and his talent. It's been a long time since I've read anything that connected with me as much as this one did. A lot of my life has been eerily similar to this (if you replace the snow with rain, I guess). This one deserves to sweep the Eisners, if you ask me. Now excuse me, I need to go write some sorta memorable comic... Maybe I'll attempt a serious review later on.

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I just finished reading it m'self. I finished all 582 pages + acknowledgements in a little over two straight hours of reading, and just like the Bob all I can say is "wow." -- No, more like "ouch." The book is a fabulous and addicting read, and while the art is somewhat simple the story is one of those extremely rare page-turners that truly takes your emotions on a rollercoaster ride. For me personally it built me up and made me hopeful and then in about two pages it took all that hope and stomped on it, picked up the pieces and tossed them in a burn bin, and then lit a match. It's a story of growing up. It's a story of finding God, finding Love, and finding the fine line between childhood and growing up, between love and lust and hate, happiness and misery, Heaven and Hell. It's a story we all can relate to on some level. Pick it up and read it, you'll see what I mean.


thanks, IC, for recommending it. :D

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2T, i know you caught some of the hype on this one over at Bendis' board, whaddya think?

I never even heard of Blankets, but it sounds good. I've got me some birthday clams left and a day off tomorrow, so I'll hit the comic book store and grudgingly hand over the 30 bucks...it better be good or else :D


Either way I was gonna get the complete Box Office Poison trade (has anyone read any of 'em? Alls I read was the color special and I liked it alot, hence having no beef with shelling out the $30 for the trade) but I'll take a chance and get Blankets instead. BOP can come next week.

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2T dont forget: $20 for Blankets at Amazon.com, as well as Box Office Poison complete for $20.97 - buy em both, get free shipping.

Ive got Box Office Poision # 1, fun stuff, i wanna get the complete trade. If/when i get it, ill give ya issue # 1 if you still want it.


As for Blankets...im in chapter 3, its damn hard to put down. Im really happy to get some feedback from Silent Bob & Ruby's tho, glad to hear its topping your lists as well. :D

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  • 4 weeks later...

..finally finished this one. Damn.


Ok, i foudn it somewhat anticlimatic, but its both indie and a coming-of-age tale, and you only have access to Thompson's knowledge of things, so the unresolved issues have to be left alone as well. Damn fine, just rather sad & touching at parts, but...anyway, you really have to read & experience this one. I look forward to the chance of meeting Thompson at next year's MegaCon, and hope he puts more out there down the road.

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  • 10 months later...


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