it’s new comic book day!

well, actually, yesterday was new comic book day. as they drop on Wednesdays.

i’m a big fan of the comic book, both as entertainment and as an artistic medium. i’m not going to go into the history of comics, as there are many more eloquent (and informed) writers who have.

instead, i’d like to comment on the perception that comics are a medium reserved for children and social cripples. it’s strange to me that in a world where films based on comic book properties, both well known (Spider-Man) and less well known (V for Vendetta), can make hundreds of millions of dollars, the format they are based on is discarded as made of fluff or post-adolescent fantasy.

instead, comics deal with real topics in an approachable way. they are just as valuable as more mainstream literature – comics have dealt with social issues like the civil rights movement (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s X-Men), family and interpersonal issues (Lee and Kirby’s Fantastic Four and Spider-Man), and even the issues surrounding personal political responsibility and the tyranny of the state (Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta). the key to many comic book stories is responsibility, and the consequences involved in shirking or betraying one’s responsibility. indeed, comics like DC’s Kingdom Come and Marvel’s ongoing Civil War constantly ask the reader to consider issues like these.

so comics aren’t just for children. yet the current trend of dark stories in comics is overblown, and an overall “lightening up” of the medium would be sorely welcome. comics should be open to children, in more than just colourfulness, price and format. while there is a place for the dark elements of comics today, i think many readers would welcome at least a partial return to the halcyon simplicity of the superhero books of the past. because the simplistic dreams of childhood may be carried into adulthood, in fleshed-out form; and there is very little as pure as the dreams of a child. and, to use a hackneyed phrase, children are the future. i would hope that comics, both now and in their adult years, would help to inspire them to make our future a better place.

quote(s) of the day:

“Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul I swear: until the day when my dream of world where dignity, honor, and justice becomes the reality we all share, I’ll never stop fighting. Ever.” – Superman Action Comics #775

“When I was a child, ladies and gentleman, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times…I learned very early in life that: “Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain’t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bed – without a song.” So I keep singing my song.” – Elvis Presley

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