Thursday, 2 February 2012

Thursday Thought: Comics

Image by Bybyy
Yesterday was Hourly Comic Day so I thought we'd look at comics again! You probably know by now that I love comics (and when I say comics here I mean everything from comic strips to graphic novels) so bear with me. If you don't like comics then...let me know why. I'd really like to know.

Seeing as this blog mostly focuses on books and I want to be a published novelist one day *crosses fingers*, I thought that I'd chat a bit about comics and their place in literature, or in other words how comics are cool and you should read them. So here we go!

Firstly, like I said comics to me encompass from those little strips you get in the newspaper to great big tomes on the shelves of bookshops. They're all different but all have the same core, words and pictures working together to tell you a story and get a point across.

Image by Danny Haas
Comics divide opinion and I think that a lot of that comes from people not really understanding comics. They're often still thought of as those thin, papery things that kids read. Comics are about talking dogs, super heroes and cats that love lasagne...right? Those who read comics or are around people who read them usually understand much more that comics can cover all sorts of subjects and are certainly not just for kids. In fact there's an awful lot out there that are shrink-wrapped and kept on high shelves for a I don't just mean the erotic ones I'm talking about the violent ones too. There's also a lot that kids simply wouldn't understand because they cover more adult subjects that only grown ups can really relate to. How many twelve year olds would want to read about a twenty year old trying to come to terms with adulthood? Or about the day to day ups and downs of a couple's relationship? Or about a violent gang of criminals who smoke and drink and swear and...wait...maybe that's not such a good example.

Obviously there are tons of superhero comics and comics about talking animals and all that, and there are tons of comics for kids too. But that's not all that there is. There is so much more out there.

Can a comic be literary? Of course it can. Actually, I think that more comics have moved me than novels. I also tend to get more excited about comics than novels, for some reason that I'm not entirely sure of.

Just because something has pictures doesn't make it any less important, profound or good than a novel. Picture books are amazing and I adore picture books. It makes me sad that people grow out of them or find it a novelty to read them. I love reading picture books. I often buy them for myself and for my boyfriend because they are awesome. Not in an ironic way but simply because they are. Comics work the same way for me. Just because it has pictures doesn't mean it's silly or childish. In a comic the pictures and the words have to work together to tell the story. It's not like a script or like a piece of art. The two have to work in unison. It's why comics can be such a pain to write and to draw.

Eiichiro Oda's desk. Creator of One Piece.
Not all comics are good. Not all books are good either. So just because you've read a bad comic doesn't mean you should condemn them all to being pointless fluff or overly violent or whatever. There are some amazing comics out there.

Some of my favourites are:

There's lots more but I think that's enough for now, I'm sure I'll make another post one day and tell you some more.

To continue: I don't really understand how comics can be considered geeky. If comics are geeky then surely books are too? Or you know what, maybe neither are? I also don't really understand how that's an insult. It just means that you're really into something, that you enjoy it a lot and you're knowledgeable about it. How is that a bad thing?

“Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself.” John Green

Comic books are quite simply just another form of storytelling and personally I think that anything that can get people reading is fantastic. But you shouldn't devote yourself to just one thing and turn your nose up at another. Books and comics can live side by side, you can adore them both. You can also love reading and still love watching films and playing video games. You can have it all. With these kinds of things you really can have your metaphorical cake and eat it. You might not like all the books out there or all the comics, I'd be very surprised if you did, but don't give up on them. There are so many comic book and a lot of novels have comic books versions too. Everything from Pride and Prejudice to Twilight, Artemis Fowl to The Bible. Keep trying, that's what libraries are for.

Read. Read lots. Read anything. Read comics.

Also read these links if you want to:

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