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The NBA “Comic Book” Backlash Begins

In response to the nomination of Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese for the National Book Award for young people’s literature, the Wired News copy chief would like to remind us that “the comic book does not deserve equal status with real novels.” And just in case you didn’t get the point, Tony Long is happy to drive it home for you:

“If you’ve ever tried writing a real novel, you’ll know where I’m coming from. To do it, and especially to do it well enough to be nominated for this award, the American equivalent of France’s Prix Goncourt or Britain’s Booker Prize, is exceedingly difficult.”

Sounds like somebody’s got a “real novel” gathering dust in a drawer someplace (or, these days, taking up space on a hard drive), and I bet he’s a crummy draughtsman to boot. Comics newsblogs are being restrained in their attention to Long’s whiny complaint, but bestselling author Neil Gaiman, who flits between comic books and real novels with the greatest of ease, gets in a blistering oh-shut-up retort: “I suppose if he builds a time machine he could do something about Maus‘s 1992 Pulitzer, or Sandman‘s 1991 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, or Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan winning the 2001 Guardian First Book Award, or even Watchmen‘s appearance on Time‘s Hundred Best Novels of the 20th Century list. Lacking a Time Machine, it seems a rather silly and antiquated argument, like hearing someone complain that women have the vote or that be-bop music and crooners are turning up in the pop charts.”

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