MARINERS HARBOR — They may not be as highbrow as James Joyce or Jane Austen, but a Staten Island book club treats comic books as fine literature.
Comic Book Jones on Forest Avenue has been hosting a monthly book club, Picture Books Anonymous, to discuss graphic novels. Members discuss themes, character development and stories.
“Graphic novels are just like any other book,” said Mark Eadicicco, shop owner and founder of the club.
“They also have the added element of discussing the art. There’s definitely a lot to talk about.”
Eadicicco said he started the club nearly two years ago as a way to expose readers to some graphic novels they might not normally check out.
“It was something I wanted to do to get people to read stuff that they normally wouldn’t read and get a lively discussion about cool books,” he said.
Membership to the group is free, and it currently has around 20 to 25 members who attend the monthly discussions.
Eadicicco said the group attracts a wide range of members, from college students to teachers and cops.
“Pretty much all walks of life," he said.
“It’s a pretty laid-back atmosphere. We don’t meet for too long, just enough to discuss the books.
“I think a lot of comic fans in general know that there’s a lot more beyond the superheroes stuff."
Previous titles looked at by the club include “Blankets” by Craig Thompson, a poetic look at the author’s first love and loss of religion, and “Asterios Polyp” by David Mazzucchelli, which deals with the relationship between a New York City architect and his ex-wife.
For the next session, the group will read “From Hell,” a comprehensive, historical look at the Jack the Ripper murder cases by Eddie Campbell and famed comic-writer Alan Moore.
“It’s a really, really interesting and very detailed account of the whole thing,” Eadicicco said.
For people just starting to dip their toes into comics, Eadicicco said the club can serve as a good way for them to discover new genres.
“I also got a couple of people that are fairly new to comics,” he said “They use the club as a way to find out about different genres they might enjoy.”
The next meeting of Picture Books Anonymous will be on Monday, Feb. 25, at 6:30 p.m. Membership is free, and the store offers a 25 percent discount on the current month’s selection. For more information visit Comic Book Jones’ website.