Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A question for the non comics readers out there

I'm sure there's *some* of you that don't read comics!

A question to you all..why don't you read them?  Is there something that puts you off them?  Is it the reputation? Do you think they're juvenile and/or sexist? Is it you don't know where to start?  Have you never thought about it before?  Do you not know *how* to read comics?  (One of my friends doesn't, she finds the layout and panel flow really tough going)
If you read regular novels what is it you tend to read and have you ever looked for similar things in a comic?

For those of you that do read comics but don't read the DC/Marvel superhero stuff, why don't you read the spandex and capes crowd?

No one will be laughed at and no one will be insulted by what you say, I am genuinely interested why more folks don't read comics.  And I have some sort of plans that may come afoot if I can get enough responses.


Devin said...

For me, I think it has more to do with the fact that I feel funny coming in in the middle of the comic. They've been going on for so long that I just feel like I'd be missing something.

I used to read the Buffy and Angel comics, but they got to be a little weird (Buffy) and incredibly expensive. I'll buy the Firefly ones whenever they come out with them.

And also, I really like envisioning what people look like on my own. I actually skip over the description of what people look like in books. I never realized I used to do it until my Sweetie said something to me about it. I just really enjoy my own perceptions of the people and it's really hard to do that in a comic.

Kelly Hogaboom said...

OK, really, you won't laugh?

I read comics as a kid. Now I'm grown and have a life of my own and my interest just isn't there. If I'm sitting down I'm watching an old B-movie or knitting or reading a book.

But! There's another aspects to comics I don't like. My 7 year old daughter loves, LOVES to read them. Like crazy. And I fully support her interest. But when we go to the comic store I'm a little dismayed at the sexist depictions I still see in comic books... as well as (often sexualized) rape or uber-violence. Me personally, I'm cool with my daughter reading comics that depict violence or death, but some of it is a little more dark than I figure she needs, KWIM?

Two comics she has loved: Jeff Smith's "Bone" series and Little Lulu. My daughter likes "Bone" more than just about anything, ever. She also has enjoyed Swamp Thing, Spiderman, & The Watchmen.

Anyway I'm writing this all out because A. I wanted to answer your question and B. I would love to have some pointers to find kid-friendly comics - especially ones that feature a female heroine or have an interesting, convoluted storyline.

Boganette said...

I just wouldn't know where to start. I've never read a comic book. Even as a kid I didn't read them. Or even see them really. I wouldn't know which ones to start reading or even where to get them.

Feminist Avatar said...

I think I wouldn't know where to start. But, also I don't know how to read them. I like to scan books and my eyes move all over the page and I don't read the words in order. And comics require order and they require you to read the images, which I guess I don't associate with reading, and also I am unsure about rhythm- how long am I meant to spend looking at each picture? What am I meant to get out of each one? What am I appreciating- the colours, the shapes, the outfits, the story? And, because I can't read them, then I get frustrated as they seem empty.

Red said...

I do like graphic novels, such as Maus, Persepolis, Fun Home, and Gemma Bovary. I've started reading the Buffy and Firefly/Serenity comics, mainly because they're continuations of stories I've followed from the beginning.

With super heroes, though, like some of the other comments have said, I wouldn't know where to start. Plus there's the whole sexism and violence thing.

I'm reading a book called 500 Essential Graphic Novels: the Ultimate Guide. It's divided into chapters by genre, and each novel is given an age rating.

Red said...

@ Feminist Avatar: Comics are a visual medium, like movies and TV, so the pictures are just as important as the words. With books, all you get are words.

If you read a comic by looking only at the words and not the pictures, it's like reading only the dialogue in a novel, skipping over all the exposition, or listening to a TV show with your eyes closed.

@Kelly Hogaboom: I get a lot of knitting done while watching TV. It's kind of how I justify all the TV watching I've been doing!

Saranga said...

@ Devin: Do you watch and like superhero movies or other comic adapations?
Comics shouldn't be read like regular novels. The art brings a whole extra dimension to the experience and is used to tell the story as words in a normal book are. It's not a case of the art being a simple additions to the words, like in illustrated books.

@Kelly: Yes, some comics are very sexist. If you've been reading this site before you'll know that not all books are sexist. For a few ideas, try the current Supergirl monthly book. Also try Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th grade, the trade collection is being released in Dec I think. It's an all ages Supergril book that has been adored by adults as well as kids, and it's bloody great.
You might also want to pick up the first Runaways collection. They are released in handy digest sized editions and it's about a group of teenagers who find out their parents are evil supervillains. the group is made of 4 girls, 2 boys, some have powers and some don't. there's a telepathic dinosaur, magics, mutants, lesbian and hetero romances and so much more. It's also got a black kid and a Japanese-American kid on the team. there is nothing 'ist' about this book at all. It is wonderful and oh so positive.

Saranga said...

@FA: It can be difficult to learn to read comics. It does get easier the more you read though. As for your questions about what you should appreciate about the art, well everything you said and more really! It all forms a cohesive tool in the storytelling process. Again, the more you read, or re-read, the more you will appreciate the art and what it does for the story.

Thanks for the comments all, it is much appreciated. Can I ask if you all like, or have enjoyed in the past, superhero movies?

Feminist Avatar said...

The TV thing is interesting though, as I rarely 'watch' TV- I listen to TV. I am usually doing something else at the same time- like blogging or crafting or something. Having said that, when I do 'watch' TV or films, I do appreciate cinematography, and colour and composition- but boy to I love sound- a good soundtrack makes something for me.

This is all going to sound really ironic, because I am a painter (but never really liked 'graphic design' type stuff), so I am in other contexts quite visually aware. But, I think I compartmentalise my life and comics complicate that categorisation.

Saranga said...

@FA: probably safe to say you're not an ideal target for new comics readership then :) No problem with that!