Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: N/A
Written by: Craig Thompson
Penciled by: Craig Thompson
Inked by: Craig Thompson
Colored by: N/A
Lettered by: Craig Thompson
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
As luck would have itâ€¦
The fact that I purchased Blankets was really just dumb-luck. Amazing luck, but nonetheless a freak coincidence. I’ll often meander about the racks if I have a little extra money to spend any given week. So, that’s exactly what I did. There in the section with new releases was a mammoth graphic novel that I had never seen, or heard of, before.
An inviting blue cover with a snowy scene with two teenage lovers beckoned me to pick it up. The first thing that happened was that I was blown away by quotes from the likes of: Bob Schreck, Neil Gaiman, Booklist, TIME, and Brian Michael Bendis. These were some highly respected comic pros, and mainstream media attention as well.
Why hadn’t I heard of this?
The art immediately grabbed me. It was simple, yet carried amazing detail. Bob Schreck in his quote likened Craig Thompson to the masterful Will Eisner. That’s possibly the greatest compliment that can be heaped upon anyone in comics. From my first cursory look at the material this seemed quite apt. I’ve been collecting Eisner’s The Sprit in Archive Editions for the last year. Eisner’s work on The Sprit may be the greatest work this industry has ever seen, so Mr. Schreck’s comment alone was almost enough to get me to buy this volume.
Pinnacle of the art form!
Blankets is Thompson’s autobiographical look back on a simpler time in life, a time that’s not so simple really. Childhood, and the movement into adulthood are an amazing time in life. How often do you look back and yearn for the simplicity of youth, but do you really remember just how hard it was? Clearly, Craig Thompson remembers, and has an uncanny gift for telling a touching story with not only words, but pictures as well.
Craig Thompson’s story captures what it’s like to be a young person in love, perhaps better than any story or account I have ever read. Essentially the storyline follows Craig and his relationship with his parents, his brother Phil, his first-love Raina, not to mention the difficulty of a young man dealing with faith. The term voyage-of-discovery has never been more apropos than in Thompson’s work. In so many places I could see my own adolescence and movement into adulthood within Thompson’s story.
Don’t take my word for itâ€¦
It’s rare to find a comic book so well reviewed in the mainstream media. While Marvel and DC often receive mainstream coverage, it’s often for exploitative material. Happenings like the Rawhide Kid becoming homosexual, gay bashing in Green Lantern, 9/11 related works, or the death of Superman seem to be the extent of most media coverage. The fact that Blankets has been so well received outside of the comic industry, and so few comic readers seem to know about it is all the more reason to pick it up. This is the type of book the industry is capable of, but so often fails to produce.
Take a look at some of the unbelievable reviews that Blankets has received. Anyone that reads comics, especially if you consider yourself the type that reads quality work, must pick this up.
Do you have a girlfriend or wife that won’t read comics? I guarantee if you give them this they’ll respect the art form a lot more, then maybe you can get them to give Batman a try. Of course, I wouldn’t count on it, but I’m sure if you found other quality work that appealed to females they’d be more than willing to try it.
I’ve only dished out three perfect scores in nearly a year reviewing (one was for a retro book), so take this score to heart. Blankets is as good, or better, than anything you’ve read this year, or any year!