The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is awarded each year to an American author whose book in some way captures the spirit of American life. Early in 2009, I wondered what sort of snapshot of the U.S. one could develop by reading each of this past decade's winners. So I did. And what did America look like in the Aughts?
For adults fond of pictures and art accompanying their reading, there is the graphic novel—what Daniel Clowes calls a "marketing moniker" in his depressingly hilarious 2005 book Ice Haven. "Are comics a valid form of expression?," he asks. "The jury's still out, I'm afraid. There exists for some an uncomfortable impurity in the combination of two forms of picture-writing (i.e. letter shapes that form 'words') while to others it's not that big a deal." The past decade saw abundant excellence in adult comic books. Below are a selection of 10 critics' favorites, volumes which also come with the Alibi seal of approval. In alphabetical order:
Take a bow, 2000 to 2009 A.D. You’ve given this millennium one hell of a first act to follow. Here in the U.S., the decade brought terrorism, biblical floods and two wars—the sort of hardships we always assumed (or pretended) we were exempt from. We no longer have the luxury of that thinking. Yet the decade also ushered some of our wildest dreams into reality—medical and technological breakthroughs that are redefining life as we know it, and a president whose election changed the very face of politics.