Tuesday, January 17, 2012

comics

Today I had my first class in Book Topics: The Comic Book and Graphic Novel and it got me thinking about the relationship I've had throughout my life with comic books. When I was in elementary and middle school I remember begging my mom to buy me Archie comics while we waited in line at the grocery store. I even got a The Archies cd for Christmas one year from one of my brothers. I also remember going to this comic book store in Brooklyn with my dad when I was even younger (less than 5 years old) and wandering around looking at random comics while my dad talked to the guys who worked there. One time, after they had recently rearranged the store, I found myself in a section of the store I was used to finding regular comics but now it was more, uh, pornographic in nature. I couldn't read so I just remember the pictures and being confused about why everyone was naked. My dad spotted me pretty quickly (possibly due to a tip off from an employee) and swooped in to redirect my attentions elsewhere.

When we moved to New Jersey my dad found a new comic book place and I remember standing with my brother and flipping through the boxes of comics along side our dad as he looked for the latest issue of something-or-other or back issues of that-other-thing or bags and boards for his continually growing collection. We also enjoyed looking at and secretly (and not so secretly) coveting the various unusual action figures, like The Simpsons or Austin Powers. My dad always made friends with the employees at the store so whenever we would go in he would be greeted, usually by name, and our time in the store would be filled with comic shop talk.

In high school I read Maus and Maus II in my freshman year English class and it changed my life. It was the first time I had seen a comic book as a format to express something other than the adventures of superheroes or misadventures in love. When I read Maus, I felt like I was the first one to discover it in the world (ridiculous, considering that we read it as a class assignment) and wanted to tell everyone I knew about it. It spoke to me.

Around the end of high school I discovered other formats for comics: webcomics. It was then that I discovered some of my favorites, xkcd and toothpastefordinner. The illustrative simplicity of xkcd inspired me to make my own mini comics which I pasted in my journal for at least a year.

I am excited for what other great comics and graphic novels I will be introduced to and encouraged to read in this new class. Maybe my journal will once again be peppered with stick figures and word bubbles.

5 comments:

Braeden said...

And now you're married to a person who has recently renewed his love for the comic books.

I'm excited to talk about them with you.

PS You should read Wonder Woman. It's gorgeous and super exciting.

meganthork said...

Did I ever tell you about my violent vampire comics that were all in spanish? Please keep in mind that I wrote them in high school, before anyone cared about vampires. I think it began because I was bored in class and I happened to know the word "sangre." They are v. similar to my Drawing with Darren masterpieces.

meganthork said...

Oh, by the way, I was introduced to the concept of pornography at a similar age. I remember being in first grade and some tool who lived up the street told me that her older sister had pictures of naked people and asked me if I wanted to see them. I just remember thinking "why would that ever exist and why would I want to see it?"

Cassandra said...

Megan, you should scan and send those vampire comics to me. Braeden says he wants to read them more than life itself. It's pretty serious.

Also, I know what you mean about not wanting to see pictures of naked people. I was very confused why people would want to read those naked comics. I'm glad to know that lil' Megan would have agreed with me.

meganthork said...

Oh man they were mostly in the margins of my assignments so I probably threw them away sometime in 2004... but if they ever turn up, you'll be the first to know.