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I used to be a hardcore Marvel fan. Back when I was running around in pigtails. I have no recollection of how I came by them or how they got into the house. I do remember none of my hard earned weekly allowance went to purchasing them. My attraction could be summed up in one word: Storm. Tall, beautiful, and powerful. She was at the time the leader of the X-Men. Pretty awesome package. Looking back, the second part of that equation was more important to me. It was a hopeful message. That women could be successful. I don't know where those comics went. I certainly don't have them in my collection but I wish I did. I wouldn't hesitate to reread them and hand them off to my daughters if I thought them appropriate.

Graphic novels are an overlooked resource for helping kids to read. Even with zero vocabulary, kids can pick up a comic book and "get" the story just from the pictures. Their eagerness to further understand promotes the literary portion. Bubble dialog is short enough my kids didn't feel at all intimidated. Natalie and Emily couldn't get enough of "Asterix and Obelix" as toddlers. They still can't! "Tintin", "Garfield", "Calvin and Hobbes", "Spider-Man", and "Archie" are also highly popular. I would love to introduce them to a regular release comic book, one that can arrive in the mail. I wish "The Adventures of Batman and Robin" still existed.

My interest in Marvel didn't survive into adulthood. I'm still trying to figure that one out. As much as I'd LIKE to enjoy the universe, I don't. I haven't seen the X-Men movie series past the first installment. I enjoyed Iron Man but haven't seen the second one. DC has captured most of my interest over the last ten years. It was sparked by the first Batman movie (and by that I mean Keaton not Bale). It was trampled on by the movies that followed then reignited by Batman Begins. Then.... THEN... I got my hands on the novelization of No Man's Land by Greg Rucka. It was my first "comic book" since my childhood. I'd like to say for the record: Thank you Mr. Rucka. If I could only quote one name in association with the DC world, it would be yours. Long before I ever saw the comic book version of No Man's Land, I'd already imagined it in my head.

So... Controversy. Lots of it going on right now. I haven't gotten my hands on any of the new releases. I've heard some are good. Some are bad. Thanks to Kat, I've seen a couple excerpts. My very first thought upon seeing the last page of Catwoman was "Where are my kids?" I wanted to make sure they weren't standing over my shoulder as they so often do when I'm at the computer. Later on that evening, my husband and I had a conversation about sex and violence in popular culture. We, as a culture, are much more used to seeing violence than sex. He told me in Europe it's reversed. Our conversation didn't at any point include the perception or portrayal of women in comic books. I'll note here that he didn't see the art work. I'm not sure our conversation would have gone any differently if he had. And honestly, I'm not sure that bothers me.

I read comic books for a couple reasons:
1. I enjoy a good story. If the story or characters aren't engaging, I don't read them.
2. I enjoy a good, short story. Same as number one? Almost. My life is broken into little tiny pieces. I don't have time to sit down and read through a whole book at a shot most of the time.
3. I enjoy good artwork that augments a good story. Artwork doesn't make or break a story for me. I can enjoy it on its own merits but I don't pick up a comic book to look at just the pictures.
4. I like the concept of people battling for the forces of good despite the odds (be they overwhelming or not).
5. I like to see the good guys win.
6. Good characters and stories inspire my imagination.

My four cents. I'm interested in hearing what you have to say about your own views.

Date: 2011-09-26 12:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moonanstars.livejournal.com
I still remember an article I read when I was in my 20s where this author was talking about how he used to look down at comics and hated that his 4 or 5 year old read them until he took away his Hulk comic and read through it to see what he was learning.

And then all he could talk about was the vocabulary and concepts and actual LEARNING his child was doing all because it had the pictures to go along with it.

What I don't get is that children's books are created intentionally with pictures and designs to make it interesting for kids to read and to have something to look at to get the story if they can't read yet but if you do the same thing with a comic it's suddenly not the same.

I know when I was a kid I never wanted to read the comics that were targeted toward me (Archies, Disney etc) I wanted super heroes. The idea that these people had powers and yet still didn't have an easy life, well that worked with me all the way through my 20s as a life lesson lol.

They spawned my love of art, I went to a school specifically for comic art and while I don't work in the field I still draw and write thanks to the comics I read.

Date: 2011-09-27 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yellowseptember.livejournal.com
I didn't know that! That's wonderful!

Your comment about books with illustrations is really interesting. Maybe it's the emphasis? With comics, the story IS the graphics. With books, the words are the focus.

I wanted superheroes too. :) But there was a series of comic books that retold the classics like Robin Hood too. Once I discovered those, I couldn't get enough of them.

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