Comic books, Graphic Novels and what is considered literature.

Someone asked me a few weeks ago what my pet peeve in the comics medium is, which theoretically is a broad and thought intense question. Not for me, sure it could be due to a constant state of curmudgeonly gloom, or it could be that I long ago decided what my peeve was and realistically it is definitely a combination of those two theories. Comics somehow persist on having a stereotype as either a silly or childish storytelling medium, thought albeit by people who have never picked up a comic once in their lives, much less read the latest Walking Dead or Criminal story arc. We live in a country(America, for those that in fact do not live in this country)where Fifty Shades of Grey is not only a pop cultural explosion that tops the New York Times best sellers list, it is considered “True literature”. Somehow the simple act of using sequential images and only writing out sound effects or a characters thoughts or dialogues makes it seem less like a legitimate method of telling stories. This has long been a peeve of mine on the basis that it continually is something that holds comics back from being accepted not only as a cherished American past time and important piece of pop culture but from even being seen as something to take seriously. I was in tenth grade and was told that on Fridays I was to bring in a book to read for English class, I thought that was pretty fly and the concept of delving into my current piece of literature made me giddy. Then a few months into it after finishing whatever “normal” book I was reading I brought in “The Dark Knight Returns”. The teacher told me that I couldn’t read comics in class and it had to be a real book, I fought tooth and nail with eloquent words and profound hand gestures but it was all for naught, I was not allowed to enjoy Miller’s seminal work for 45 minutes of class. What had bothered me the most besides the whole “real” book thing was the fact that the girl next to me was reading the latest installment of Harry Potter and that was just fine and dandy and I mean no detriment to the works of J.K. Rowling or those that enjoy them, my problem was that a book about teenage wizards that fight the worlds nicest villain(ever notice that Voldemort waited till the end of the school year every damn time?)was considered a book but an intense adult story about what can be perceived as one mans final acceptance of who and what he is was considered less of a book for the simple addition to pictures. It makes my skin crawl every time I hear someone make a passive comment about how comics are kids stuff, or that they aren’t real books, or that at the end of the day simply because of the way it is told Fifty Shades of Grey is more of a book than Alan Moore’s Swamp thing, and with that I take umbrage.

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The Good Captain hard at workWho would win in a fight: The Midnighter or Superman? Who’s crazier: Moon Knight or Deadpool? Who’s hotter: Wonder Woman or Ms Marvel? ComicBook Showdown’s Captain Paul is undeniably opinionated. Thanks to a suggestion from Agamotto after Wolverine had got Paulie thoroughly lubricated with a not-so-wee dram of Jamieson’s, the Good Captain agreed to provide his own unique brand of sage wisdom in answer your questions. Email the Captain at