Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reading comic books and graphic novels

Now a lot of people out there either look down on comic books or don't realize the artform that they really are.  Most of the comics printed today are really more than the simple comic book from when I was a kid.  The stories are richer, the art is both more detailed and less and they cover topics that are central to the world today.

Anyone who watches the movies as they come out know that the big dollar draws in the summer are mostly comic book characters lately.  Superman, Batman, Wolverine, Spiderman and others.  They are strong characters living in complex worlds that are just a step to the right or left of our own.

The thing is when dealing with a lot of people my age unless they are crazy people like me many of them think that comic books are a waste of reading material.  This is just not so.

Recently while on a bus ride with my daughter I ended up in a discussion with one of the teachers from her school.  When she asked her what she had been reading over the summer my child proudly popped up with Elfquest and Archie comics.  The look on this teachers face was like she had just bit into a lemon.  Now really that was just wrong.

Having a ten year old child who is devouring comic books is a good thing.  With all the video games, youtube, movies and tv shows out there having a kid who will read ANYTHING is a good thing.  She said I should make her read Nancy Drew as if that was the cure for her reading things filled with Elves (wrong attitude to take with a fantasy author right?)(

Well the next time we headed off to the library we spotted Nancy Drew and in of all things graphic novels.  I talked my daughter into trying one and she is has just finished reading the five and sixth of those books that she picked out herself at the library.

Now I know graphic novels have less words in them than most books.  After all since they have an artist the authors don't need to do the setting of scene for the reader.  The way my daughter rips through these things I think is interesting.  As a child with working memory issues she has trouble accessing the words.  It is like when you know something and it is on the tip of your tongue but can't pull it out of your mind.  We all have moment like that but my daughter has them all the time.  That she rips through graphic novels and comic books makes me excited for her.  She enjoys them and I do not have to make her sit down and read them like I used to have to other books.  This is a good thing.

Sometimes in our current culture we put too much emphasis on having each child exactly like the others and do not look to see the wonder that is each child.  We need to find out what makes them excited and then go for it.  I am glad she is reading and when she is ready I will turn her on to the Manga I have in the basement.  The next step in the wonderful world of fiction that will hopefully someday let her pick up a copy of Dragonsong from Anne McCaffrey and enjoy the tale in print.

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