Picture Books: Not Just for Kindergarteners?

Comics have never really been my thing; although I’ve always been fascinated by illustrations in books. I always really liked superheroes and their adventures as well. I spent many Saturday afternoons watching cartoons based on Justice League comics. I only read the Archie comic books because my cousins were reading them–they were pretty funny. But I guess all other forms of comics made me feel geeky. I also remember thinking comic books and superheroes were more of a guy thing in elementary school–and I didn’t want to be the weird little girl who hangs out with all the nerdy guys. It was a silly notion, but it occurs to many of us.

Fast forward to my freshman year of college: much to my surprise, we are assigned a graphic novel to read in COMM 2302. I never thought about analyzing a comic book, but the idea definitely makes sense. Just as writers put underlying meaning in their work through their diction and figurative language, comic book artists and writers are able to give even more underlying meaning by using words and pictures in tandem. Since I love analyzing classic literature, analyzing comic books came pretty easily.

I even enjoyed the storyline of Y: The Last Man. It held my interest incredibly well: it didn’t feel like homework reading. I was disappointed at the cliffhanger ending–I wanted to know what really happened. Unfortunately, I’m a broke college student and can’t afford to buy the next 11 volumes, so I just read the Wikipedia summary. (Sorry to disappoint all you die-hard comic book fans.) I liked looking for different signifiers and foreshadowings among the images. Now, I possibly will start reading more graphic novels.

The graphic novel I’ll probably start with is V for Vendetta. I’ve always been interested in Orwellian “bleak future” style novels. Fahrenheit 451 was my favorite book in my high school English curriculum. I enjoy reading different people’s visions of a dangerously close-to-real world with an overreaching government and vigilantes who try to curb its power.

The cover art of the graphic novel V for Vendetta. It tells the story of a dystopian future with a government that abuses its power and a man who starts an underground revolution.

Many of my friends have seen the movie based on this graphic novel and recommended that I watch it. Usually, whenever a movie is based on a book, I read the book first to get a true feel for the author’s original intentions. Since I’ve now been exposed to the world of meaningful comics, I’ll definitely read the novel before watching the movie.

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