29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the pantheon of the greats
The drawing in Blankets is so awesome it makes me want to weep. There is such a surety to Thompson’s line that is perfectly balanced with a fragility, a supreme sympathy for what he’s drawing; imagine Modigliani drawing comics and you’re getting close. This means that Thompson’s panels are full of a sensitive confidence that is mind-blowing. The...
Published on 11 Aug 2003 by Alistair Fitchett
5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Graphic Novel we can all empathise with
Surely one of the most emotively drawn graphic novels, Blankets is a biographical story about childhood and growing up. Set in the snow covered Midwest, Craig Thompson lives in a devout Christian family, sharing a bed with his brother and cowering from school bullies. He finds comfort in drawing and meets a girl he meets at Christian Camp. Suddenly he finds the world...
Published on 12 Mar 2007 by Sam J. Ruddock
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the pantheon of the greats,
The drawing in Blankets is so awesome it makes me want to weep. There is such a surety to Thompson’s line that is perfectly balanced with a fragility, a supreme sympathy for what he’s drawing; imagine Modigliani drawing comics and you’re getting close. This means that Thompson’s panels are full of a sensitive confidence that is mind-blowing. The writing is fantastic too, and Blankets is a richly veined voyage of (self) discovery in which Thompson explores themes of family structure, first love and religious observance with a tenderness and a self-effacing charm that is uniquely beguiling. There are numerous passages which are hypnotically, breathtakingly beautiful; passages that leave you spell bound and utterly in thrall to the visions set in ink before you; passages that will break your heart; passages that will make it sing.
Blankets sits right up there in the pantheon of greats, is on my top shelf with Chris Ware’s 'Jimmy Corrigan', Daniel Clowes’ 'Ghost World', Chester Brown’s 'I Never Liked You', Dylan Horrocks’ 'Hicksville' and Seth’s 'It’s A Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken'. What more recommendation do you need?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone Who Thinks Graphic Novels Aren't For Them Should Read This,
`Blankets' is a graphic novel but it also feels like a fully built novel. I am not saying that I don't think the two can co-exist but it's rare when they have this effect on me personally. There are two strands running through `Blankets'. The first is the tale of two brothers Craig and Phil and their childhood in the strict, highly religious and rather scary family home in Wisconsin, the second of two young people falling in love for the very first time. In a way it's like two separate coming of age (a subject I am not normally a fan of) events and times in one persons formulative years.
What impressed me first of all was how Thompson manages to interweave these two strands in a way that isn't confusing. He doesn't need to insert `flashback' or `present' and `past' the pictures paint it all clearly (excuse the poor terminology) and what illustrations these are. I definitely wasn't expecting to have an emotional connection with this book. I thought I would be entertained and pick it up now and again. Instead I read it in three sittings, I was hooked. The pictures convey, as do the choice wordings throughout, the emotions of both growing up in the severity that Craig does and how he feels when love first hits.
The second thing that impressed me was how Craig covers a lot of modern subjects that are quite tough just in the written form (not that I am saying one medium is better than the other). Through `Blankets' Thompson encapsulates a world which at varying points features mental and physical disabilities, religion, sexuality, child abuse, depression, divorce, families and most of all love. It really has left me wondering if you can call a graphic novel epic, if so then `Blankets' is indeed a modern epic. I would be surprised, but pleasantly so, if there were any graphic novels that can better this on both artistic and emotional levels.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, the cusp of inspirational,
I'm not a big fan of (over)analyzing art works such as this, however I have been moved to do so in this instance. Blankets is powerful, considered and tantalizing in its delivery, but it is also one of the saddest things I have ever read. I was floudering in fury having read it - I was left wanting more; ultimately, the blanket over me was an anti-climax. Adrian Tomine's Summer Blonde collection is far more gratifying in this sense, although the latter lacks Thompson's exquisite sensibility and artistic flair. If you like sad/moving stories because they reveal something essentially inspirational (i.e. in the human spirit, in the nobility of a gesture etc.) then Thompson here frustrates, beautifully - perhaps try Tomine. On the other hand, I have been moved enough to write this ...
For me, Blankets revealed Thompson as a long-lost vunerable friend, a friend I could not, and cannot, help from being hurt.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful,
I loved this book , I am very new to the world of graphic novels, having not even read comics as a child I can't pin point the reason I decided to buy it, but I am so glad I did. The art work is as you'd expect fanatastic, but what is really beautiful is the story - such a touching and honest tale about innocence and love. If you are looking for a place to begin reading graphic novels I can not think of a better book to take that first step with.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incrediably moving book,
I have tried to write a reveiew that would do the power of this work justice. I did not have the words.
All I will say is that my Mother, who never reads comics or graphic novels, was moved to tears several times whilst reading Blankets after I recommended it to her. Powerful stuff that is heartwarming, endearing, funny and beautiful.
Apparently already on it's 3rd printing I cannot urge you to buy this book enough. Mr Thompson, I thank you.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yeah, ok.,
I'm a comic book fan of the capes and spandex variety. I just like big whoosh bang explosions and flying people silhouetted against the sky. But every so often, when trawling around the internet, I'll hear lots of good buzz about a comic that involves nether guns nor implausibly built women. Blankets was one such publication. I heard wonderful things about it, people raving about it, so I bought it. And it was all true.
It's a fantastic book, told with subtlety and tenderness. The burgeoning relationship of the main character is beautifully real, pulling no punches and taking no shortcuts, showing us anew the teenage infatuation that we have all experienced. The art is also of a very high quality, on certain pages creating some truly arresting images, as the conflicts in his head spill forth onto the page.
If I'm brutally honest, it was a little quick to read, as the art takes centre stage, but I'm sure I'll come back to it again and again. AAlthough, it has to be said, it probably would have been made slightly better with some spandex SOMEwhere.
But this is recommended. Highly.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars something that will resonate with everyone,
By A Customer
I read this book in one sitting, and then started it again straight away. Craig Thompson's 'Blankets' is basically the story of his first love. For me the best way to describe what I like most about this book is to remember when I fell in love. My mother would ask me what I liked best about her. Being young and embarressed about having a serious girlfriend, I'd simply reply 'everything'.
I see this book as a catalogue of every last thing that makes you do stupid things for someone you barely know, but can't stop thinking about.
The chapters describing his home life and relationships with his family and the church could easily have been my own upbringing.
In short, this book is beautifully drawn and I suspect that anyone who has fallen in or out of love will be able to apply the story to their own life and experiences.
This book has the capacity to make you weep but also to fall off your chair laughing out loud because Thompson is describing something very similar to something you yourself once did.
Highly recommended for anyone that has loved and/or lost
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding,
It is rare that, upon finishing something, I immediately feel so compelled to hit Amazon to type up a review of it; in fact this is the first time this has happened. But Blankets has just had that impact on me. Quite simply, I have never before been so irrevocably moved by pictures on a page, and I read a lot of comics.
Blankets is, without, I hope, revealing anything, all of these things: astonishingly beatufiul, effortlessly, gently confident, charmingly modest, perpetually and sensitively intelligent and, more than anything, hopelessly, hopelessly true beyond words. One of the best experiences I have ever found between the pages of a book, I cannot recommend this title highly enough. Outstanding.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, painful and lovely,
This is Thompson's autobiography and at over 580 pages it is a doorstep of a graphic novel, but utterly compelling, expressively drawn in lovely monochrome.
Craig and his younger brother Phil sleep together in a single bed, suffering the everyday traumas of growing up as an outsider, strict Christian fundamentalist parenting and sexual abuse at the hands of a babysitter. As he negotiates high school with its social hierarchies and casual brutalites he falls in love at Christian summer camp with fellow outsider Raina. She has her own burdens, a brother with Downs, a sister who is mentally retarded and an utterly selfish older sister who leaves the care of her own baby to her sister and mother. Thompson chronicles the tender wonder that was his experience of first love, wonder battling with his fundamentalist inspired terror of the sins of lust, of his vision of Raina as a beautiful angel set in contrast to his own self loathing. Blankets took me achingly back to my own adolescent years, it is stunning in its honesty and expression.
The title refers to a number of evocative concrete images, of a quilt created as a message of love, I know as a quilter the act of creation for a person means that there is an alchemy of thoughts about the person the quilt is destined for in every stitch. Blankets also refers to the thin inadequate blanket Thompson and his brother shivered under together as boys, that could in their wild lovely imaginations become a pirate ship but could also lead them to fight, to Phil being punished by being traumatically shut in the house's tiny dark spider infested cubby hole and to Thompson carrying a burden of guilt at being unable to protect his brother. Blankets refers to the snows that cover the land during his time with Raina, to memories of creating snow angels, of watching snow fall in the dark and of the coming of the end of love with the thaw.
Cannot recommend enough
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cold Fire,
Blankets is a autobiographical graphic novel by Craig Thompson. Written chronologically, Blankets starts with Craig's relationship with his younger brother, Phil, when they are both young children growing up in a strict religious environment. Thompson's art is often quite sparse with a lot of blunt lining, but during scenes with Phil the art takes a turn for the bold and almost hallucinogenic as the boys imagine their bed has turned into a ship and Craig has fallen overboard. Occasionally getting into arguments and punished by their strict parents, as much as the brothers annoy and aggravate each other, they always came back to bed to huddle together from the cold outside. Rural Wisconsin is a lonely place with severe winters, and snow is a prevalent theme throughout - blanketing, suffocating, beautiful or transient as it melts away.
Craig's experiences with religion are also strong throughout his childhood and into adolescence. He regularly attends church and instilled with the fear of the Lord (including some very claustrophobic paneling when his parents discover he has drawn a "rude" picture of a naked lady and tell him that he has been influenced by Satan), but it is also how he meets his first love, at a so-called Bible Camp. Raina is drawn with lots of curvy lines and soft shading that contrasts with the rather straight, lanky lines that make up Craig's graphic equivalent (sometimes only a triangle for a nose and sharp elbows are visible under all his layers of clothes). They begin a shy first love as they correspond in letters over the following year, but it is always the winter that is theirs, and it is then Raina invites Craig over to meet her family. But as Craig discovers, not all is well with Raina and her family.
It is obvious that Blankets is a labour of love. While Craig Thompson's art isn't the most intricate or impressive style I have ever seen, it gives a sense of roughness and personality that compliments the subject matter. Meanwhile, more abstract sections of art, such as Craig and Phil's imagined adventures and Craig's daydreams about Raina, are imbued with a sense of passion - they almost seem to soar off the page - and a more outright testament to Thompson's talent. Blankets has a sense of sincerity that transcends the confines of the comics medium and makes Blankets an unforgettable, bittersweet story of the loves and losses of growing up. Like the blankets that keep young Phil and Craig warm and the quilt Raina makes Craig in the beginnings of their relationship, reading Blankets is a return to the warmth of youth in a cold climate.
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Blankets (New Hardcover Edition) by Craig Thompson (Hardcover - 23 Aug 2011)