Writer/Artist Craig Thompson; Top Shelf
This week’s graphic novel pick, where we suggest a classic graphic novel for our visitors to check out is a massive book indeed. Thompson is now a well-known figure among the adult graphic novel industry but when Blankets came out back in 2003, he had only produced Goodbye Chunky Rice before. Blankets won two Eisner Awards and four Harvey Awards back in 2004. Blankets is a touching, lowkey autobiographical tale of Craig, a young man who is at a pivotal place in his life. Should he train as a priest or follow his heart and become a cartoonist? Meeting Raina,a girl who he falls for, forces him to reassess his priorities and to make his own choices.
Blankets is a hefty book, clocking in at an impressive 582 pages and it is certainly a very ambitious work. You can see that Thompson’s art is heavily influenced by the likes of Will Eisner and Jules Pfeiffer but he also manages to bring a contemporary feel to his work. His characters are expressive and he makes the Wisconsin setting for Blankets really come to life on the page.
In terms of his writing, Thompson has a deft hand for measured pacing and he also has a good ear for credible dialogue. Emotionally, Blankets rings true and sometimes it feels very raw, so the reader feels privileged that Thompson has let you into his private world.
The autobiographical independent graphic novel is a well-trodden path for creators but here Craig Thompson succeeded in bringing us something that feels honest, thoughtful, truthful and emotionally connects with the reader. He is a very talented creator, certainly one of the best in the independent graphic novel field. Blankets is a work of genuine honesty.