Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

Don't pretend like you've never aspired to fight crime

With the evolution of technology, my childhood consisted mostly of watching comic adaptations on television, in movies, or playing comic-book based games. Unfortunately, I was never really able to get into reading comics. This being said, it would be a lie to say that comic books did not play a large role as far as entertainment goes during my childhood. Dressing up as spiderman during Halloween, sporting my X-men lunchbox at school, playing with my friends pretending to be comic book characters, and playing with action figures. Comics provided the basis for all of these adaptations. But as far as physical interaction with actual comic books, I would have to say my childhood was very limited.

My limited interactions with comic books in the past led me to be skeptical about Y: The Last Man before I started reading. To me comics were just words and pictures, with a limited plot. I thought comics were more noted for their cartoon illustrations than character development; however, Y: The Last Man proved me wrong. Yorick and Ampersand’s journey across the country following the apparent extinction of all male’s proved to be a riveting tale. This comic had it all. Development of Yorick and other influential characters, a very complicated plot and story, action and romance. What surprised me even more was how innovative the story was and how many levels of stories within the main story there were. As Yorick, Agent 355 and Dr. Mann travel across the world in search of answers, multiple levels of sub-plot ensue. Not to mention the whole question of why everything on earth with a Y chromosome died in the first place, of which I have my own theories.  To be honest, I’m surprised it hasn’t been made into a movie yet.

Yorick and Ampersand: A dynamic duo

Clearly, Y: The Last Man is more than a bunch of nicely drawn pictures combined with a few speech bubbles. This particular comic has made me question how I think about comic books. Although nothing will every compare to an actual book, in terms of literary measure, Y: The Last Man demonstrated that comic books can have some meat and potatoes of their own.

As I read through the blog post assignment on wordpress I was first depressed when I saw that we couldn’t read Maus by Art Spiegelman (mostly because I already had to read this in high school). So, in spite of my frustration I turned to Google and made my second mistake by typing “comics for adults” in the search bar. Just a little piece of advice, don’t do that if you want to avoid people giving you weird looks in the library. I won’t even mention some of the titles that came up, but I will say there must be a lot of pent-up sexual frustration among the comic book community.

After editing my search, I came across a comic called American Splendor. This is an autobiographical comment written by Harvey Pekar that detailed his everyday life in Cleveland. Specific themes include stories of his job at the V.A. hospital, interactions with his wife, and his appearances on Late Night with David Letterman. I chose this specific comic because it deviates from the norm, or at least my definition of norm when it comes to comics. Instead of a superhero or apocalypse story, it is simply an autobiography told through a comic book. It would be interesting to see how this particular medium influences Pekar’s ability to convey his life-story to the reader. After reading reviews, I’m sure the pictures and words combine to form a truly unique story.

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