Growing up, I was reared to dislike anything nerdy and love sports. The rule of the house was “if you are not doing homework you have to be outside (practicing).” This kept me from experiencing things that many typical kids experienced, such as comic books. Throughout high school, I took pride in the fact that I was the farthest thing from a nerd. I steered clear of the comic geeks, theater people, and bookworms. Everything changed when I entered college. Freshman year I was slowly introduced to comics through my friends. By sophomore year, I was rooming with a geek and two suite-mates that knew their comics. I was taught about the different universes, superheroes, and themes throughout the comics. Now, I have respect and a small understanding about comic book fans. I still have never read a comic book outside of class but this may eventually change.
This may change in part to Y: The Last Man. The book created a pleasant and unique reading experience for me. While I was not a fan of the story, I was amazed with the implementation of the artwork. I was detached from the semi-apocalyptic plot and Yorick. Originally, I was detached from Yorick because he was unemployed, English major, and Magician. He is practically the opposite of what I am and plan to be. However, I kept disliking him more because I disagreed with his major decisions throughout the book. Yorick, fit many of the characteristics of the Trope “Mama Boy“. He was timid, weak, his father was gone, and obey his mother directions. He was under the control of 355 which can be viewed as an extension of his mother. He was not the stereotypical comic book protagonist. This big break from the stereotypical character interested me. It let me believe that there was a wide variety of characters in comics. I wanted to be able to relate to a character rather than despise him. The big break from the idealized comic book character presented in Y: The Last Man gave me hope that I will find a character that reflected my characteristics.
After reading Y: The Last Man, I was impressed with the artwork. Originally, I thought all comic book artwork paralleled the quality shown in Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. The detail in Y: The Last Man added to the story and complimented the text. I was not overpowered by the art or the text. I believe that they “acted like partners in a dance and each one takes turns leading” (McCloud 156). I understood the story and was able to interpret parts for myself. The artist did a great job displaying emotions and feelings through the character’s faces. He added just enough detail to allow the viewer to interpret the emotion displayed, without the characters being overly realistic. The book was relaxing to read because the story was well presented through both words and text.
While researching “adult” comics that I may eventually read, blocking The Dark Knight Returns forced me to search for another book. The Dark Knight Returns was suggested to me by my roommate as one that I may enjoy. In researching comic books, I came upon The Walking Dead. Originally, I thought this was a television show that came on AMC. I was familiar with the show because my suite-mate Matt, watched every episode. I liked the show but hated the gore displayed. After reading a few summaries, I realized the show paralleled the book quite well. What made me want to read the book, rather than watch the TV show is the depiction of violence. In comic books, McCloud said much of the violence happened “in the gutter” or between panes. This allowed the viewer to interpret and visualize what occurred. I would find this easier because I would not visualize the violence and gore like the show did. In addition, I could relate to Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead‘s main character, more than Yorick. He was a common man, who became the leader of the group. He had fears and flaws but was forced to overcome them to be the ideal leader. I believe The Walking Dead is a comic I could eventually read because I am familiar with the story, can relate to the characters, and reduce the violence.