Monday, November 23, 2015


In the past decade or two there's been a revival of interest in Ernest Shackleton. He was never completely out of mind, but with books and documentaries and serials coming out, his story apparently strikes a chord today.  Maybe it's the stiff-upper lip way he has with his adventure, or maybe it's nostalgia for the end of the great age of exploration (followed by the modern age of instantaneous communication and world wars), but either way his story is compelling.

I knew the basic outline of Shackleton's tale, but after reading Nick Bertozzi's graphic novel Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey I feel like I was on the journey (without all the suffering).  We get introduced to all the people on the ship, what the plan was supposed to be and how it turned out.  I don't want to tell too much because I suppose some readers don't yet know and should be allowed to find out for themselves.

This isn't Bertozzi's first foray into historic adventure.  His previous book was about Lewis & Clark. Maybe I'll check that out, too.

Some treat the graphic novel as if it's for kids, but I think it's a respectable art form on its own.  The people who made Classics Illustrated retold famous novels this way, and perhaps that was a mistake--novels are words, and without all of them you lose their essence.  But history is about action as well as words.  And you know what a picture's worth.

Am I saying we should replace regular books with graphic novels in college courses?  Yes.


Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

It does seem the obvious thing to do, once you say it out loud.

2:44 AM, November 23, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do they need to learn history even? Just gives them ideas to daydream about in their shared cubes

6:50 AM, November 23, 2015  

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