In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud argues that ones of the choices the artists must make is his level of photo-realism. Most artists could, if they chose, fill their novels with precisely unique faces and bodies, making each page a photograph. But the human mind sees faces everywhere (that is why our emoticons work :-p ).
In Blankets, Thompson chooses to skirt a fine line, drawing his characters a little on the ambiguous side; they are clearly human, but who are they precisely? His character, thin-limbed, long faced and large nosed, could be him, judging by his photo on the back cover. But it could be a drawing of me, too. And that's where the magic begins.
Pressed against herWhat I love about Blankets is how unassuming it is. There are lessons here: hard, painful, familiar lessons about growing up, about faith and parents, about the limits of authority and the limits of our ability to change the world- while Craig is endlessly unresolved about where his life should lead, Raina has already taken on the challenges of motherhood, stepping in with her sister's baby while the sister and husband indulge their materialistic side (they are, in fact, trying to distract themselves from the fact that their marriage will soon fall apart if they don't address their problems head on). But Thompson doesn't beat us over the head with any of those lessons.
I can hear ETERNITY--
hollow, lonely spaces and
creents that churn
And the fallen snow
welcomes the falling
snow with a
Instead, he unfolds this love story, and in unfolding it he gives us glimpses into the traumas that have happened and are continuing to happen to both Craig and Raina. They are doomed but don't know it, and when the inevitable comes, it comes with an honest softness the opposite of the dramatic climax we expect from literature.