Tag Archives: Unsolicited Advice

Let’s Get Graphic – Literopathy and Comics

When you write your troubles/questions into the group here ate Literopathy I suspect you are expecting your prescription to include mainly novel ideas.  Poems, essays, books – medicine of the written word.  There are a bevvy of smart, sassy and well-read people here who can recommend something along those lines but sometimes you’ll get something a little…different.  Sometimes we’ll tell you to get yourself to a comic store and read a graphic novel.

Comics.  Manga.  Sequential art.  Largely misunderstood by the general population (despite a string of successful movies and television shows) as something childish and the domain of males.  I’m here to smash those misconceptions and introduce you to the wonderful world of graphic storytelling!  Here is my personal list of “comics for people who don’t read comics”.  I have compiled this list with two criterion:  1)  The story be contained in one graphic novels (rather than series that can span many volumes) and 2)  I have had success recommending them to real live people in the comic store I work at.  I tried to pick the best of the best but truthfully even that was hard – there are so many great choices lining my shelves!  Since this post couldn’t go on forever though I narrowed it down to five.

So without further ado:  “Lady Dee’s Comics For People Who Don’t Read Comics

essexcountysoftcover_lgEssex County by Jeff Lemire

This book is as Canadian as hockey, beer and small towns in Ontario.  All of which it includes.  A 2011 selection of Canada Reads – the essential Canadian novels of the decade.  Jeff Lemire weaves together the story of three people in a small Ontario town with the delicacy of a master craftsman.  It’s the story of one community through the years – through all the joy, the loss, the regret, the love.  The artwork is simple, fresh and draws us into the story quickly – holding us there until the last page is turned – and the last tear is shed.



Blankets – Craig Thompson

A coming-of-age autobiography from Craig Thompson that tells the story of his childhood growing up in an Evangelical Christian Family, his first love and his early adulthood.  Craig originally penned Blankets as a way to “come out” to his parents that he was no longer Christian.  This is the book that I constantly hear from customers how they “couldn’t put it down” and read it from cover to cover in one day – despite it’s large size.   Blankets was widely considered a milestone in the graphic novel medium because of it’s literary depth and delicate artwork.  There are so many ways one can connect to the story within Blankets that I’ve found myself reading it during times of great change to remind myself that I am not alone – and that things will work out though not necessarily as I planned.


 Castle Waiting – Linda Medley

This is the story of what happened after “Happily Ever After…”  A feminist fairy tale that anyone can read and enjoy but will get a special joy out of if you have any knowledge of myths and tales of old.  The amazing detail in the artwork.  The pleasant and interesting characters.  The focus on the lives of the castle’s women.  Faeries, magic, potions, pregnancy, death, laughter – Castle Waiting is a vibrant fantasy world full of what fairy tales always were – reflections of our own lives.



Daytripper – Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba

The unforgettable and engaging story of the lives and deaths of a writer in Brazil – a fascinating puzzle of a story I’ve read several times, each time finding new pieces to add.  I was brought to tears.  I was angry and happy all at once.  Master storytelling and beautiful artwork combine to create something truly unique and magical – something that has stayed with me since my initial reading.  Daytripper is for those looking for something different in their comic book experience – or for those who don’t realize that comics can be so much more than what they think.



Watchmen – Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Have you seen the movie?  Good – forget it.  You need to read the only graphic novel to make Time’s 100 best NOVELS of all time list.  Watchmen is regarded as the greatest graphic novel or comic series ever produced.  It’s simultaneously a critique of superheroes and a reflection of the social anxieties of the time.  It’s an alternate reality that closely mirrors the contemporary world of the 1980’s.  Overturning the usual tropes of the genre, this makes a hero of a psychopath and a villain of a do-gooder, leaves the only true superhero powerless and comes to a genuinely shocking conclusion.  Take your time with Watchmen – there is more to digest than at first glance.

I hope my list has inspired you to try something graphic.  Your local comic shop should carry most of these.  Find a shop here:  Comic Shop Locator and get yourself some comics!


What Would Atticus Do?

Sometimes you don’t want to write to us with your problems, even anonymously. Sometimes you just want some unsolicited advice, or a great role model, or a general guide to living. Don’t worry. We get it. Which is why we’ve put together this handy list of Atticus-isms.

Because, really, the world would be a better place if more people stopped and wondered, “What would Atticus Finch do?”

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.

Right? I mean, right?

They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions … but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.

I wish I could hire Atticus to moderate, like, the entire internet.

The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.

Oh, no big deal, that was just Atticus explaining white privilege is all.

You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ’em get your goat. Try fightin’ with your head for a change.

I do kind of love how scrappy Scout was, though. She’d fight anyone.

It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.

I need a little Atticus to sit on my shoulder and whisper stuff like this to me whenever people are being assholes. Imagine a teeny-tiny Gregory Peck in a three-piece suit, just hanging out, maybe sometimes braiding my hair and telling me secrets. The best.

We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe- some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they’re born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others- some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of men.

But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal- there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court.

This  quote is just chock-full of facts. Some ladies DO make better cakes than others. That’s a fact. Some people ARE born with more opportunity. That’s a fact. And yes, people do often misuse the phrase all men are created equal, and that’s a super annoying fact.

I have a crush on Atticus. That is yet another fact.

Also, immagine if this was how our court system actually operated.

This time we aren’t fighting the Yankees, we’re fighting our friends. But remember this, no matter how bitter things get, they’re still our friends and this is still our home.

I feel like someone needs to read this to me every time I get into an argument on Facebook. Because they’re still my friends, and Facebook is still a social network that I like to frequent.

Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that’s something I’ll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children out there. You understand?

Atticus advocates turning the other cheek. Of course. He’s basically like Jesus, only white and with a southern accent.

Atticus had said it was the polite thing to talk to people about what they were interested in, not about what you were interested in.

This is good advice for pretty much everyone.

Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they’re not attracting attention with it.

Ignore children who cuss. Check.

Oh, and speaking of child-rearing tips, here’s another one:

When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But don’t make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles ’em.

So, you mean, don’t make up ridiculous stories when your kid asks you where babies come from?

If this thing’s hushed up it’ll be a simple denial to Jem of the way I’ve tried to raise him. Sometimes I think I’m a total failure as a parent, but I’m all they’ve got. Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I’ve tried to live so I can look squarely back at him … if I connived at something like this, frankly I couldn’t meet his eye, and the day I can’t do that I’ll know I’ve lost him. I don’t want to lose him and Scout, because they’re all I’ve got.

Oh, and walk your talk, lead from the front, etc., if you want your kids to respect you. That is some fucking solid advice.

And finally, something to keep in mind when fighting the good fight starts to feel overwhelming:

Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.

Here’s one last quote, this time from Miss Maudie because frig, she is just about as great as Atticus.

Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)… There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.

Seriously, though:



That’s my new mantra.