In his great book Understanding Comics, comics artist and theorist Scott McCloud writes “Comics is a powerful idea, but an idea that’s been squandered, ignored and misunderstood for generations. No art form has lived in a smaller box than comics for the last hundred years. It’s time for comics to finally grow up and find the art beneath the craft.”
I thing that, now more than any other time in history, comics and graphic novels are showing the depth and breadth the art form is capable of. Keeping in mind this lofty call by McCloud, I’m happy to announce the Southern Maine Graphic Novel Book Club (or SMGNBC for short)! Right now, the plan is to meet once a month and talk about a graphic novel – along with other comics, movies, and comics culture. Meetings take place on the first Monday of every month at Bard Coffee, located on Middle Street here in Portland, ME. Meetings start around 7, and go for a couple of hours.
Although this is the first time I’ve mentioned the club here on Brews + Books, we’ve actually had a couple meetings already this summer. The first meetings have been a lot of fun, and we’ve discussed the books I Kill Giants and Gotham Central. We’ve picked out our next book, the first volume of Y: The Last Man, to discuss at the start of September. If you want to get a real head start, we’re going to discuss Suburban Glamour by Jamie McKelvie at the start of October.
If you’d like to take part in our meetings, you can join the Google group for the club. Discussions are also hashtagged on Twitter with #smgnbc, so you can keep up with the group on there as well. Or, you can simply come to Bard Coffee on a meeting night and join in. As much fun as the monthly local meetings are, I strongly encourage comic fans from all over to join the group. Discussion online has been lively so far, and the internet makes talking about books easy without needing to be close geographically.
As I mentioned, the current pick for the club is the first volume of Brian K. Vaughan’s series Y: The Last Man. If you’d like to take part in the discussion pick up the book and join us for our next meeting, or just join our groups and jump on in!