Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Joy of Comics

When I was younger I was an avid comic book fan. I use the term fan because I wasn't a collector until I got slightly older and grew concerned about having my childhood comics to read. I unlike some people was never in it for money, I didn't care how much a given issue would fetch me some day. This was long before the days of E-Bay and your only real source of comic sales were stores and conventions anyway. But I was more interested in getting complete runs of series. I can still vividly recall finding old issues of comics in long boxes stacked in dusty old stores and happily adding it to my collection. With the advent of trades and now digital comics this is no longer necessary. My old comic books now sit snugly in my attic tucked away in a corner where I rarely venture. I think about taking and issue out now and again but most of the time it isn't worth the hassle. But something strange has happened recently that made my struggle with what to do with my collection come into perspective.

My daughter has begun getting her own comics. She picks up Savage Dragon, Tiny Titans and Batman Brave and the Bold. Also anything with Spider-Man and Wolverine ( though I try to censor those a bit since most aren't for small children) and just this past week she got the first issue of The Incredibles. Which also happens to be her favorite movie. In the few days she has had the comic it has been turned into a treasure map and a spyglass. It also has had numerous trips in the family car as she reads it over and over while we drive. And by reads I mean makes up a story to go along with the pictures in the issue. It is already battered and beaten and is not close to mint condition, but I would suggest that this comic has given her more fun then anything that may have ended up bagged and boarded and only read once in a blue moon.

I think this is a point my generation has missed the mark on greatly. Comic books are disposable entertainment. Not something to be hidden away in the corner of the attic. We rail against people destroying our childhood by making movies that don't conform to our memories. Or comics that lack what the ones from our childhood made us feel. But the whole time what we are really doing is ruining it for the next generation. We've made comic lovers a smaller and smaller group by excluding anyone who doesn't hold comics as some high art form. When most times it is a guy in a goofy costume made to entertain kids.

The rush of the digital age will most likely save comics from the scrap bin of history and thankfully new generations will discover the joy of reading comics. But something is lost in translation when a kid can't just roll a comic up and stick it in their back pocket. So next time you're at the local comic shop pick something up for your kid and let them destroy the thing, after all that's what comics are for.


Jon said...

I couldn't agree with you more Marc!

Thanks for posting about this, it made me take pause this morning and think about how we can keep passing down our love for comics to the next generation. And by next generation I don't mean the teenagers, I mean our kids.

Hope you don't mind me quoting you on my site! ;)

Nice article...

Scott Godlewski said...

That's great. And that's exactly what comics are - cheap, fun entertainment.

She reads Savage Dragon?

Marc Fletcher said...

No problem glad the article worked for you, Jon. Thanks, Scott and yes she loves Savage Dragon, I think its because he is green and has a fin. She also likes the Hulk. :)

Jon said...

You'd be proud of me! Got the Incredibles #1 today and am sitting here watching my two year old bend it all to hell.

And it feels great.

Let the indoctrination begin!