The Return of the Comics

Suppandi, my favorite character from Tinkle Digest.

My previous experiences with comics could be classified as quite limited. The only comic that I have read substantially is called Tinkle Digest, which is an Indian monthly magazine containing several comics as one-off stories featuring regular characters that appear in stand-alone fashion. I have to admit that as soon as I started elementary school, leisure reading ceased to exist. However, I was a member of a children’s library between 2002 and 2006, and that is where I discovered Tinkle Digest. I was almost instantly drawn to it, because it has one-off stories, and it does not require one to read each issue in sequence or in its entirety. Moreover, I always looked forward to reading comics about Suppandi, who is a village simpleton who gets into trouble, because he thinks for himself rather than following his master’s orders blindly. Suppandi’s stories were interesting to me, because he is a character that I can relate to the common man found in the area that I live in.

It was when I was 16 years old that I stopped reading the above mentioned comic, because I felt that comics were for children. It was only after last week’s lecture in my Media Interpretation and Criticism class that I realized that there were comics out there that targeted more mature audiences by examining more mature subjects. A comic called Maus, sounded extremely interesting due to its creativity. Maus deals with issues from a time when Nazi’s were in power in Germany, and it portrays Nazi’s as cats and Jews as mice.

In addition to being enlightened to the fact that there are comic books that are aimed at mature audiences, I also discovered the comic, Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. This was definitely one of the most refreshing readings I have ever had for class, and I would like to thank Dr. Delwiche for choosing that as one of the texts for Media Interpretation and Criticism this semester. Y: The Last Man appeals to me greatly, because it does not have a stereotypical comic book plot with superheroes who almost always save the day. The protagonist, Yorick, is a regular male in the unusual circumstance of being the last man alive. Furthermore, the art in Y: The Last Man is brilliant, and does an effective job of portraying the story. Having read the first ten issues of Y: The Last Man, I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of Y: The Last Man as soon as I get the chance to.

All in all, I am glad that I have rediscovered the medium of comic books again. In addition to having the intention to read the rest of Y: The Last Man, I would also like to read Chew, which is an American comic book series  written by John Layman with art by Rob Guillory. The plot revolves around a police detective, Tony Chu, who is a “cibopath.” A “cibopath” can take a bite from anything (including humans) and get a psychic sensation of what has happened to that object. Tony Chu uses this power to solve crimes by getting psychic impressions by eating things, including people. In my opinion, Chew sounds interesting, because it has a cannibal for a protagonist, and this is very morally ambiguous. The only other cannibals that I know of are Jeffrey Dahmer (serial killer) and Idi Amin (violent Ugandan dictator). Finally, it revolves around mystery and criminal investigation, which are topics that interest me when reading literature. I certainly look forward to rediscovering the art of comic books, and keep an open mind to all other media that I may have shunted due to stereotypical beliefs.

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