Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Correcting Brad Meltzer and Colleen Long at the A.P. 

In this Associated Press article, Colleen Long credits Brad Meltzer's Book of Fate as being the first novel to also include a comic- a section of a Justice League story he'd written.

"Meltzer and his publishers also put excerpts of "Justice League" into the paperback edition of "Book of Fate," the first time a comic book has appeared in a novel, he says."

It's horribly, appallingly nerdy of me to pipe up about this, (or even to know it, I guess) but Laura Esquivel and Miguelanxo Prado beat him by over a decade. Esquivel's novel "The Law of Love" came out in 1995 and contained several comic book sections illustrated by Prado that functioned as part of the narrative.

It's always a little frustrating seeing these "novelists do comics" articles because they only seem interested in novelists dipping their toes into work-for-hire superhero projects or (in the case of the Stephen King item) allowing others to adapt their work. Nothing about Chip Delany and Howard Chaykin's ground-breaking graphic novel Empire thirty years ago. Nothing about Esquivel, no mention of Rucka's dual-media Queen and Country. No mention of Avi's City of Light, City of Dark. And (most aggravating, for obvious reasons) nothing about Eisner-award nominee and Oregon Book Award winner Sara Ryan- the first novelist I know of to write comics stories about characters from her own published novel. (I'll emphasize that "that I know of." If any of you out there know of someone before her, please let me know.)

My big question is this: Why do journalists go with "novelists write comic books about other people's characters" every time? Isn't "novelists explore the possibilities of an emerging medium" a better story?

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