GRAPPHIC LOVE: PROLOGUE
I collected comics as a child, assembling complete or near complete runs of “Spider-Man”, “X-Men”, “Fantastic Four” and other Marvel titles. It was the 1960s, and you could find missing issues at second hand shops three-for-a-quarter instead of hundreds of dollars. When I graduated from high school, I put away childish things, or so I thought, and sold the entire collection-- more than 500 comics-- for 350 dollars (weep for me).
In the 1980s, I was teaching myself crosshatching and pen and ink work and went to a comics shop to study Jim Steranko’s work on “Nick Fury” and Michael Kaluta’s work on “The Shadow”. While chatting with the owner about Why I No Longer Read Comics, he introduced me to Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez’s “Love and Rockets”. I fell in love with ink and paper again, and was there for Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman.
These days I buy mainstream comics for my classroom-- the students most likely to borrow a comic are invariably the most literate, most likely to read for pleasure. Sometimes I convert non-believers with books like “Bone”, “Asterix”, or “Persepolis”. I buy alternative, “adult” titles for myself, and the pleasures of comic reading-- art and text combined-- make a delicious leaven between more traditional texts. (This is reportedly the pattern for readers in Japan, where adult and all-age comics sell millions every week.)
This is a blog about enthusiasms, political, literary and artistic, and I’m happy to share my current obsession over titles like “TopTen”, “Promethea”, “Y, the Last Man”, “Fables”, “Strangers in Paradise”, and others.