Comic Books; Real Literature or Juvenile Comic Strips?

Comic books typically come with a juvenile stigma attached. When people ask what you’re reading and you say Faulkner, you get a nod of respect. However, If you say Ghost Rider, you will likely get an eye roll. (At least, that’s how it was pre-Big Bang Theory, anyway. That show made being a nerd acceptable, and whether you enjoyed the show or not, I think we can all be thankful for it bridging the gap between the cool kids and the geeks.) Most people have no idea that the latest run of Ghost Rider follows a Hispanic teenager/young adult, working as a mechanic to support and care for his disabled younger brother who’s bound to a wheelchair. The character development in most comic books is phenomenal. Iron Man has had struggles with alcoholism, and Green Lantern & Green Arrow have had to deal with the death of a sidekick due to a drug overdose.  The story arcs are broken up into small chunks, but they’re enthralling. They must be entertaining, or they wouldn’t still exist. Just like “regular” books. Besides, they’re called comic “books”, doesn’t that automatically give them credit for being real books? What about graphic “novels”? Any difference there?  The article at this link does a nice job of touching on all of these questions, so I won’t rehash what they’ve already covered.

Let’s take a look at the cover of “Pumpkin Heads” by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks. The first thing to notice is that Rowell is clearly labeled as a #1 New York Times bestselling author. That is a massive achievement for any author, and automatically gives legitimacy without even opening the book. The second thing worth noting is the part where it labels itself as a graphic novel. It very plainly identifies as a novel, but recognizes that there is art involved, which is why they shoehorn the word “graphic” in there. This is obviously just one example of the countless graphic novel offerings, but it makes quite a compelling argument I’d say.

Consider a couple other reputable authors who have ventured over into the graphic novel side of the publishing industry.  Chuck Palahniuk, most notably of Fight Club fame, decided to use comic books to tell his story for Fight Club 2 instead of writing another novel for the sequel to the massively successful book.  While there was a lot of criticism for that series, it hasn’t stopped Dark Horse Comics from announcing plans for Fight Club 3, which Palahniuk will maintain creative control over.  Kurt Vonnegut’s timeless classic, Slaughterhouse Five, is also getting the graphic novel treatment.  How’s that for legitimacy?? Continue reading

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The CKFiction Dictionary: Creative Cursing – Alternative Curse-Nasties

Sometimes you really need to get a point across and normal vocabulary just doesn’t seem to cut it.  Sometimes, you want to pack a little extra punch with your delivery and unload with some four-letter favorites, but then other times you don’t want to disappoint your mother or be compared to some salty sailing sea dog.  Sometimes there are small children around and you don’t want to be accused of tainting their virgin ears.  Sure, sometimes those small children are even yours and you don’t want your wife to blame you for setting a bad example.

That’s where this list will come in handy.  Simply plug in my top tried and true cuss word alternatives, and you’ll be sounding like a huge cheeseball in no time! Continue reading

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Fun Size Friday: Story Teasers, Part 5

We reach the final story teaser this week to get an idea of what the Fun Size Anthology will have in store! This great collection comes to a close with a fantastic story from Ben Oneal‘s Benjamin Kroh series. Continue reading

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Fun Size Friday: Story Teasers, Part 4

This week, we have a couple more story teasers to get an idea of what the Fun Size Anthology will have in store! First up is an introduction to breakout author, Jason Cobalt. Continue reading

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Fun Size Friday: Story Teasers, Part 3

We have a couple more story teasers this week to get an idea of what the Fun Size Anthology will have in store! Our first teaser today features George Kramer, one of the most established contributors to the Fun Size Anthology. Continue reading

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Literary Locations: Indianapolis, by way of Kurt Vonnegut

After my previous tour around Indianapolis, centering around John Green’s “The Fault in our Stars”, I cranked up my literary playlist, and decided to take another bookish tour around the city that gave the world Kurt Vonnegut.

Before we get to the legend himself, it’s important to learn a little about his family and their importance to the formation of the city to fully understand his deep-seated connection to Indianapolis.  Vonnegut’s father and grandfather were both architects, and are responsible for designing some of the most iconic Art Deco style buildings in the downtown area.

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Fun Size Friday: Story Teasers, Part 2

This week, we have a couple more story teasers to get an idea of what the Fun Size Anthology will have in store! The first one is from yours truly! Continue reading

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Fun Size Book Review: Die Laughing

This Fun Size teaser will take a bit of a detour from the previous posts, as we take a look at one of the series that’s connected to the anthology.  Die Laughing is the first book in a series following FBI Agent Benjamin Kroh.  It was also my first foray into Ben Oneal‘s mind, and what a fun trip it was.  The book was masterfully crafted, with some very unexpected turns to keep readers guessing.

As mentioned, Benjamin Kroh is one of the best the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit has to offer.  When a body turns up along with a cooler full of finger tips, Kroh gets called back to the area he grew up in, with his team in tow.  The body is staged and displayed publicly to appear initially as a suicide, with connections to the automotive industry that had closed up shop and moved out of town. Continue reading

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Fun Size Friday: Story Teasers, Part 1

This week, we’ll kick off a series of story teasers to get an idea of what the Fun Size Anthology will have in store! First up, I’m stoked to announce, is a story inspired by Patrick J. O’Brian‘s West Baden Murders Series. Check out the teaser below, then learn a little more about the series below that! Continue reading

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Appreciate a Dragon Day

The dragon stalked his prey, watching the puny humans walk by the window of their castle. His senses heightened, and all he heard was the slow pulse of his heartbeat and the chirping of nearby crickets. The dragon slinked into his surroundings, stealthily drawing closer to his target. The humans never saw the attack coming. The dragon sprang from his hiding place and devoured his meal. The chirping from the crickets instantly ceased. The quick action caught the humans by surprise, causing the queen to jump from the sudden movement. Continue reading

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