Monday, April 25, 2005

“What’s a nice single girl doing with a double bed?”

From the diary: “December 31, 1981

“Christmas is over. … [In books] I got: The Book of Terns, Garfield Bigger Than Life, Cathy: “What’s a nice single girl doing with a double bed?” and Cosmos by Carl Sagan.”

We’d enjoyed Carl Sagan’s Cosmos TV series – except I remember thinking Sagan looked out of place on that molded-plastic super future set. I liked the idea of getting the book and reading a bit more in depth.

But once I got the book I couldn’t help thinking, haven’t I already covered this? I flipped through it several times looking at the pictures. I still have the book. I still haven’t read it.

I recall being disappointed in The Book of Terns. (Hey, sometimes we mean you-shouldn’t-have.) It was cute, a collection of cartoon terns representing various puns.

The two comic strip collections, the Cathy and the Garfield, were a hankering for the age of the graphic novel, I think. The term hadn’t been invented yet, had it? Wasn’t “graphic novel” coined to market Will Eisner’s Contract with God? Or not … Anyway, the book-length comic story, with the exception of Tintin, just wasn’t something you’d see. I remember wishing for a little development in the life of Cathy. Does she always have to pine after Irving? The only development in Garfield was the gradual adjustment of the way Jim Davis drew him. These days I find Garfield dull. If the writing ever was clever (and surely it was! I had some taste back in ’81!) it’s long since worked out its vein. Comic strip collections were the closest thing to a comic in book form.

Used to be the only way you’d be able to catch up on old adventures of comic book characters was to hunt up the backissues in comic stores. I’m happy to see many comics are now collected into books. Probably cuts into the market for backissues. But hunting up backissues was often expensive and there were times you just couldn’t find the one you wanted most.

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