An Unexpected Appreciation for Comic Books

As a kid that was always trying to fit in the “popular” social groups, comics for me were taboo. I knew to stay away from them because I wasn’t about to turn into one of those super-geek comic con fanatics. Secretly I may have wanted to find out what comic books were all about, since I knew some of my favorite television shows and characters were based off of or adapted into comic books, but I never was adventurous enough to try them out. So after suppressing my early childhood desires to walk into the Atomic Comics as I passed it at the mall for so long, comic books eventually just drifted into oblivion in my mind. It was not until this semester that I was aware that comic books even existed still.I was surprised and somewhat uncomfortable when I learned that this course was incorporating comic books into the lessons. However, McCloud’s Understanding Comics helped to transition into the idea of comics as an effective medium for communicating messages, and made it easier to finally approach Y: The Last Man as my first real comic/graphic novel experience. I was fascinated with the great artwork, and the writing was simple yet engaging– so engaging that I read just about the whole story in a single sitting. Part of what allowed for this was that the book covered topics that were geared towards a more mature audience, such as imagining a world with no men from a political standpoint. This went against many of the previous (childish) notions I had of comic books, which were more along the lines of action packed superhero crime fighting, complete with all the WHAM!s BLAM!s and POW!s you could handle.

There was a big issue that threw me off, though: just when the story was getting really good, it ended. This is where my lack of understanding of comic books really threw me off, because I was expecting a conclusive ending and was merely given the background to a series. Although this was frustrating, I should have known that just about every comic book/graphic novel has more than just one part. With my lack of spare time and resources, I will probably never know how the rest of this series plays out, but overall it at least helped to refresh and reshape my ideas of comic books.

For the sake of speculation, if I ended up being so inclined to pick up a new comic book in the future it may be Ex Machina.

In my quest for a new and exciting comic book to read in the future, I came across Ex Machina

I did not think much of how to begin the search for new comic books appealing to an older audience, so I first Googled “adult comic books” which did not provide me with any good leads– note to self, do not do that again. Then I got the bright idea to go to and look at titles under the “Customers also bought…” section of the titles that we covered in class, such as Maus and Y: The Last Man. Ex Machina is a series of comics by the same author as Y, Brian Vaughn, and seemed to be the most interesting. According to the Wikipedia page, the story is about a superhero who is elected mayor after 9/11 and the political situations that he has to deal with. It also covers the “mysteries that surround his super powers”, which may help to keep me interested if the political messages start to wear me out.

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