Rarely do graphic novels attain the respect accorded "serious" literature. For many readers, the very term is synonymous with camp or worse, conjuring images of be-tighted men flying hither and yon, saving the world with their otherworldly powers. A shame that these readers will miss Capote in Kansas
, written by Ande Parks and illustrated by St. Louisan Chris Samnee. It features no superheroes, only author Truman Capote, who, armed with nothing more than his natty wardrobe and a reporter's notebook, travels to Holcomb, Kansas, to investigate the grisly, inexplicable murders that will be the subject of his groundbreaking classic In Cold Blood
. Parks' writing is crisp, especially in his depiction of Capote and his New York literary milieu, but it is Samnee's stark black-and-white illustrations that give the novel its resonance. We see Capote age over the course of his writing, both literally and figuratively. A particularly powerful -- and nearly wordless -- scene shows Capote thinking nothing of seducing a local teacher (who, unlike Capote, has everything to lose in this one-night stand) and then, after the teacher has left, facing the crime-scene photographs he has been avoiding. A bravura sequence, it gives notice that St. Louis is home to a significant new talent. Give him -- and an entire field of literature -- a chance.