BTT ~ Do You Hafta Be So Graphic?!

Booking Through Thursday

Suggested by Vega:

Last Saturday (May 2nd) is Free Comic Book Day!

In celebration of comics and graphic novels, some suggestions:

– Do you read graphic novels/comics? Why do/don’t you enjoy them?
– How would you describe the difference between “graphic novel” and “comic”? Is there a difference at all?
– Say you have a friend who’s never encountered graphic novels. Recommend some titles you consider landmark/”canonical”.

For the longest time, I never gave graphic novels a serious consideration. To me, they were just kids’ books, just a glorified comic book. Not only did I refuse to read them on the grounds they were “books for dummies,” (after all, wasn’t it the mark of growing up? Graduating out of picture books and into chapter books?) but I avoided their whole section like it had a highly-contagious, IQ-lowering virus emanating from it.

However, a few months ago I started getting curious about them. It was about the same time I gave anime an open-minded look. I started walking by their area in the bookstore, then started looking at their spines, and even cracked a couple open before passing them up. Then, when Gwen’s school had a book fair, I came across Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives by Ellen Schreiber and finally bought my first graphic novel.

I had always found the few graphic novels I’d read a little confusing.  Who said what first is sometimes hard to tell, as the bubbles aren’t numbered, and often bump together.  So I sat down with Maggie (it was for her I bought the book) and began to read VK, determined to get through it.   And, after a few pages of working it all out, I started enjoying it.  They’re not the awful stupid-fying, “Dick and Jane grows up” kind of book I’d always accused them of being.

Still, I haven’t read many.  I’ve only read one other graphic novel, Robot Dreams by Sara Varnon.  Part of that, though, is there are just so many to choose from.  I do have one, a manga, coming from PaperBackSwap called Psychic Academy.  Also, since I like Neil Gaiman, I’ve put his Sandmanbooks on my wishlists.  I’ve also got the first Fruit Baskets on my wishlist.

As to which book I’d recommend, well… I’m kind of in that same boat with the hypothetical friend.  Maggie doesn’t like the traditional manga books because they open backwards… lol… it seems I’ve passed my book-prejudice on.  And besides, she says, they’re not worth anything in the Accelerated Reader world, which is her yardstick of book-value.  “Why read it if I’m not getting points for it?”  *sigh*

If you’d like to participate in Booking Through Thursday, click the button above 🙂

Edited to add:  I forgot about the Far Side book I recently read and reviewed, Night of the Crash-Test Dummies by Gary Larson.

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14 Responses

  1. I’m more or less the same. I am ashamed but I did sort of shun comics throughout my life until I got to college and my friends liked them. I did a total 180 but still haven’t really read many.

  2. I pretty much felt as you did about the graphic novels. Now, I’m not so sure because I see so many people raving about them. I still haven’t read one for myself though.

  3. Great post. I had no idea manga books open backwards!

  4. I don’t read a ton of graphic novels but I loved Epileptic by David B. It was incredible.

  5. Thanks for visting my blog! I am definitely going to have a look into graphic novels, I think I need to find out more about them.

  6. My entry into the world of graphic novels was a little different, but I really enjoyed reading your post (and laughed about the Accelerated Reader yardstick).

    You can check out my post here.

  7. If I met you before you decided to be open minded about graphic novels and anime, we’d probably be arguing all the time, haha. I was pretty much into those at a young age, so I never really had the “those are for kids” mindset. It’s actually interesting because a lot of graphic novels are very much geared for more mature minds than for those below 18 (generally).

    Sandman’s a good place to start. I think a huge number of graphic novel converts started with that. As for manga, well, there’s quite plenty to choose from, in various genres too. Glad you’re enjoying the ones you’ve already read. Welcome to the club! 😀

  8. I viewed graphic novels the same exact way as you. I don’t know how I went from that to being curious about them, as I was so opposed to them previously… But I’ll definitely keep the ones you listed in mind! Thanks!

  9. I’ve only read a few graphic novels. I did enjoy them, but I prefer a regular novel.

  10. I like your post 🙂

    it’s a great learning process to start becoming open minded on something.

    Furaba (fruit basket) is a light manga, there’re also complicated manga

  11. Wonderful post, a lot of information.

  12. Vampire kisses sounds really good. I’ve never read a Graphic novel so I haven’t experienced the problems you have mentioned.

    But all this talk of Graphic novels is really making me want to give them a try.

  13. I’m a book nut, but enjoy comics & graphics, too.

    Words in books call to me. lol.

    http://thebookresort.blogspot.com/2009/05/booking-through-thursday.html

  14. What Kat said! Arguing in a nice way, of course 😛 And I second the recommendation of The Sandman. I love those books so much.

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