As a little kid, I was at my absolute happiest when I read comics. Like most boys back then, my favourite was The Beano, and it was a treat getting one. I continued to read comics right up until I changed schools, and sadly, was forced to stop because the new school did not allow them. Apparently comics weren’t ‘real’ books and shouldn’t be read.
I was 9 years old.
I was nine years old.
This may come across a bit strong but to me this is just plain prejudice. It is like saying all films are childish, or all plays are childish. Comics are a medium and I was told that the whole medium was for little kids – and I believed it. I later came across a copy of the Beano aged 13 and having not seen one in years, I remember thinking how poor the quality of writing was. It may have just been that issue but as far as I was concerned, I had outgrown comics.
I had outgrown comics
When I was 16, someone had a copy of Spider-Man, and I remember reading it and loving it! I was desperate to find out what happened next. Of course these came out monthly, and having to wait a whole month for the next issue meant I had to reread the old comic a few times. So I started buying all the different Spider-Man titles – The Amazing Spider-Man, The Spectacular Spider-Man and The Web of Spider-Man. I was hooked for a good two years!
But after that, I sort of grew bored of the comic because all the stories seemed to be the same. Spider-Man would struggle to beat a bad guy but he would win, only for a new, more powerful threat to appear which again he would struggle to beat. Wash, rinse, repeat. I figured maybe I had finally grown out of the medium.
But then in my 20s, I read Watchmen – and just like that, my love of comics started anew. It was how clever it was. The interplay between the visuals and the text, the double – sometimes triple – meanings; I realised that it was that I couldn’t outgrow a medium. All that changed were my tastes and I simply had to find the right content. I got hooked on comics and now have so many in my physical and digital libraries (and I’m proud to say, which include even my own).
Apparently we have the right content for some people.
I mentioned in a previous blog post that my biggest joy at Comic Con is converting new readers. So to help people find a comic that suits their tastes, I’ve prepared these recommendation sheets. If you haven’t read any of them, why not pick a genre you like and try a title? You never know – you could end up discovering your new favourite comic book.
I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I really like comics, but if I had to explain why, I would say: it’s the efficiency that I love. With TV or film, the pace is set by the director/editor. In books, you can take as long as you like to read. Comics are marvellously in the middle. A picture says a thousand words, and you can just glance at an image or you can drink it in at leisure. And that’s its magic – communicating style and substance, simply through efficiency.
Comics have such a huge fanbase, ranging from the likes of you and me – as well as celebrities. You probably guessed some of them are comic book fans, but others may come as a surprise…
- Joss Whedon
- Paul McCartney
- Ryan Reynolds
- Kate Beckinsale
- Karl Urban
And a few famous people have even read my comics – Jamie Childs, who has directed Dr. Who, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man and His Dark Materials amongst other titles. He is a serious talent and I was delighted when he offered to direct one of my stories after reading the comic. This short was all filmed in one day with the help of some fantastic volunteers, and call me biased, but I think it turned out great!
This story is from Vol 6 of Twisted Dark, and if you haven’t already, you can get your copies here – enjoy!