As many of you know, I love stories. It’s this love of stories which has always drawn me to writing, but it also makes me an avid consumer. I love movies and books and TV shows, and there’s always far more available than I have time to consume. It’s a great problem to have.
If there’s one way I’ve been a failure (and there’s actually been many ways – this is just the one I’m pointing out today), it’s been that until recently, I’ve not given comics and graphic novels enough of a chance.
When I was younger, I was always interested in comics as an idea, but I never was interested enough to figure out how to buy them. As a boy growing up in very small town in the 1980’s comics weren’t accessible. The small local library didn’t carry them, and I didn’t know how to convince my conservative parents that I should be reading comics and they should bring me places hours away where I could buy them. Complicating the fact was that none of my friends were comic fans, so I couldn’t rely on them either.
As I got older, I looked down on comics. They always struck me as something for kids, and I didn’t have time for kid’s stories anymore. It wasn’t until Watchmen (the movie) came out, that I decided to give comics and graphic novels a shot.
I fell in love. On one hand, they’re much easier reading than the huge novels I tend to read. You can speed through them, or better yet, page through and enjoy the brilliance of the artists who work on them. I’ve read the entire Akira series, Watchmen, Sandman, and a handful of actual comics, Batman and classic Spider-man.
Here’s what I love the most: when an amazing writer, like Neil Gaiman or Alan Moore, can use short, evocative prose that perfectly matches the artwork of a talented artist. It creates an emotional response beyond what words and pictures can easily say alone.
I’m hardly an expert on graphic novels. I’m only just getting started, and there’s much to discover. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.