Friday, February 12, 2010

A Valen-times Melange

Here’s a drinking game for a slow weekday morning. Watch Sportscenter and take a shot every time the anchors misappropriate urban slang.

Valen-time is two days away. The melange hopes you bought it roses.

Yen Press is printing 350,000 copies of the Twilight graphic novel. That’s an enormous number for an initial run. Most graphic novels only sell between 20,000 and 25,000. Of course, this is Twilight we’re talking about. Stephenie Meyer has sold about 45 million books from her angsty-vampires-in-love series. I’m pretty sure Yen will recoup.

I previously established that I have no love for Twilight, but I do like Meyer’s willingess to break into graphic novels (with help from artist Young Kim.) The graphic novel is a medium which has been treated as a genre, focusing on science fiction, fantasy and superheroics.

I’m interested to see what kind of stories people will tell with graphic novels when the emphasis is off the spandex.

Also, graphic novels and their lil’ cousin, the comic book, have been boys’ towns. With some worthwhile exceptions, sequential art has mostly ignored or objectified women. Its creators are also predominantly male. (It often feels like Gail Simone and Devin Grayson are the only women writing comics.)

Meyer has a fanatical female following. Perhaps, she and other female voices like Janet Evanovich (who has a Motormouth graphic novel coming) can generate parity for women.

Next on the itinerary: a Brazilian author talks about how difficult it is to be on the cutting edge of science fiction, when the cutting edge hasn’t been translated to your primary language yet.

Fabio Fernandes, author of Os Dias de Peste, said: Having no access to what’s new from the world outside, Brazilian SF writers either write stories using old, stale tropes (for example, writing space opera novels with cardboard characters and tremendously clichéd situations that reminds us, at the very best, of RPG campaigns) or reinvent the wheel.

This is a legitimate gripe. It’s almost impossible to push forward any school of thought when you’re using the eighth-grade model. If it’s any consolation, U.S. writers don’t read enough translations for some people either.

Finally, Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN, played the Smith Magazine game by writing 6-word biographies for a few athletes. (Scroll to his tenth point.)

Have a happy Valentine’s Day. Read Byron, lots of Byron.

-Jason Lea,

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Blogger Fabio Fernandes said...

Thanks for mentioning my article, Jason! Happy Valentine's Day!

February 12, 2010 at 9:11 AM 

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