I used to read comics as a kid – Bunty, Debbie, the occasional Beano but that was it. I never even saw Superman or Batman I don’t think. Comics in that form only invaded my consciousness when I got into geek stuff at an older age and even then I just ‘knew’ of them, I never really thought of reading them, although I did briefly try out the comics made available on the PSP.
A few years ago I began listening to more rock music, including the band My Chemical Romance who I became a big fan of. The fan base talked about the singer’s graphic novel (comic) “The Umbrella Academy” so much that one day, when I had some spare coins, I bought it off Amazon. Oh dear – I discovered a whole new genre of reading to spend my gold on.
The first time I read it was extremely confusing for me. I had voraciously devoured books from a young age, but graphic novels need a totally different mindset to read them. I was missing the narrative until I realized I had to look at the pictures as well as the words to understand the story. Once I grasped that concept I was away.
I am learning that each pairing of writer & artist is not only important to the telling of the story but also creates different feelings in the reader – whether the art is finely drawn, full of hidden meanings or is it strong outlines and ‘in your face’ concepts for instance. The artist uses their art to create the mood just as the writer of a conventional novel uses words.
I read “The Umbrella Academy : Apocalypse Suite” and its follow up “Dallas” and thoroughly enjoyed them. Not because I was a fan of the band but because it was fun & exciting & well-written & (possibly more importantly) well-drawn. For those who may have not tried graphic novels let me tell you – they ain’t for kids anymore. Pick one up, download an app to try out free ones, borrow one from a friend. Try it out, you never know, you may enjoy it.
my journey continues in Pt 2 : The n00b transforms (coming soon to a blog post near you)