The Next Comic Book You Read Just Might Be Your Own....
I just spent twenty minutes in the parking lot of a local college with a colleague, looking over one of his students comic book collection that was for sale.
This was a new one for me.
He called me yesterday, saying that one of his science students had a massive collection that she was looking to get rid of and if I would be able to swing down to the college and play Antique Roadshow, since he was rather new to the whole comic book game. I looked over the boxes, told him what I thought a fair price was, and let the magic happen. He eventually settled on a box of CAPTAIN AMERICA comics for sixty bucks that he said he was going to give his son to get him started with his own comic book collection.
Thank god for people like my friend. Comic books are the greatest things in the world.
Now, all of you that are currently brewing arguments about how they are childish or not real literature, let me stop you right there and pop that smug little bubble...
Comic Books are literature. Period. THE SANDMAN, PREACHER, FROM HELL...I'll put those up against Moby Dick anytime as far as style, content and story go. Hell...Time Magazine put out their top 100 novels of all time and Alan Moore's and Dave Gibbon's WATCHMEN made the list, right beside The Great Gatsby and To Kill A Mockingbird. If you say comics are not literature you haven't read one since you had trouble processing the storyline of that RICHIE RICH book that took you four days to read back when you were seven.
Comic books are modern American folklore. They have provided us with the modern day, spandex coated versions of John Henry, Paul Bunyan, Casey Jones and Johnny Appleseed. Much like these legends, comic book characters grow, evolve and change every time the story is told - keeping just a nugget of what made them unique in the first place but adopting tones which make them relevant for the era - the heroes are alive and reborn with every new issue. They transform and face the challanges of the day...be it the above mentioned CAPTAIN AMERICA knocking out Nazis in the 1940's or SPIDERMAN standing in shock at ground zero on September 11th, 2001.
Reading a comic book is no different than watching Christopher Nolan's THE DARK KNIGHT, reading Stevenson's Treasure Island, or seeing what Dilbert will say next in the morning paper. Comics are for children and adults. It is escapism. It is a ghost story told around a campfire. It is as American as Rock n' Roll, baseball and apple pie. It is fun.