While I often have trouble with the writing in old comic strips, I must give a whole-hearted recommendation to the Walt & Skeezix collections that Drawn and Quarterly is putting out. I just got volume three and am already a good quarter of the way through. I've been waiting for months for this book to be released and I am rationing the strips to draw out the experience. Frank King was a gifted storyteller and one could learn a lot from the way he paced his storylines.
The way he drew out the question of Skeezix's paternity, for example, is brilliant. The story builds over several years (volume one and, I think, volume two), giving the strip an underlying current of anxiety as Walt frets and worries about Skeezix's real parents and whether he'll lose the boy in his attempt to adopt him. The strip drifts away onto other topics -- such as a summer road trip to New Mexico -- and then hones back in. You can't help but emotionally invest yourself in the characters and worry about how things will work out.
Along the way, you watch Skeezix grow from a baby to a little boy, the characters aging in real time. And King throws in little observational touches that really bring the characters to life. I can't say that the strip is laugh out loud funny, although it is humorous, but it has tremendous heart. I find the books to be the perfect thing to pull out to read just before bed -- the strip's warmth and good humor the cure to any bad day.
Now I just need to save up for the Sunday book -- it's something like 22"x16" with 100 full color pages. It's also $100. Ouch.
Recommend books, comics, graphic novels, etc.
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