I collected comics to the most extreme when I was growing up. I started at 7, and by the time I was almost out of high school, I worked at a comic shop and never brought home payment that wasn't in comic books. Now I own about 6000 of them in the closet, in the largest boxes you could buy, all wrapped in plastic with back boards to keep them perfect. But, I read every one of them. I was an addict for Marvel Comics. I stopped, but I still read trades when I have the money to burn. There is a lot to learn from comics, both virtue and vice. Life lessons and moral lessons.
I'll always consider it a legitimate form of literature, if for no other reason than you can learn about life from them just as much as you can from The Grapes of Wrath. They also mimic the events, styles, and feelings of the time they are written and published in. They make valuable social commentary, even if the layman can't see it, it's there.
Editor's Note: What I Learned from Games & Comics
Russ Pitts may not have revered comics enough to bag-and-board them, but still values the lessons they taught him.
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I'm at risk of sounding dumb here, but I've never understood the "/fingergun" you write at the end of your Editor's Notes. Care to enlighten me?
I think he is pointing his fingergun at you. That is the thing where you have your thumb up and your index finger pointed at someone as if it were a gun, then you pull the trigger and act as if your hand goes off.
I never really spent much time reading comics - unless Asterix and Tintin apply. That was until after nearly two decades, someone invited me to enjoy their 'nearly complete' Sandman collection. Reading this article reminded me of how I was arrogantly oblivious to how it "would blow my mind wide open to the possibilities of storytelling." Thank you for the reminder, and thank you Gruesome for introducing me to Dream...
Everybody has their pet soapbox; for some it is a sport or team, for others it is games or films; mine is comic books. More accurately the blinkered viewpoint that they are only deemed "good literature" if they have an adult theme.
Preacher, Sandman, Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, Transmet.,Planetary, these are all excellent examples of not only what can be achieved with the medium, but also of how it is the least creatively restrictive way of telling a story; but why should these accolades go to books that, though well written, tend to lean towards cynical outlooks on society, and not to books that, due to their idealistic viewpoints, take a more frivolous approach to characterization and story telling?
I think it's great that comics now have more credibility in the eyes of none comic readers, but it's also a shame that the success of "gritty realism" has led to a slow demise of most of the characters I grew up with.