RARA-AVIS: Re: Graphic Novels/Snobbery

From: ssshapir ( ssshapir@yahoo.com)
Date: 01 May 2008

> My problem, in part, is that in some way I don't feel competent when I
> read a graphic novel. That is to say, I feel competent to read and
> interpret the words on the page, but somehow my brain does not know what
> to do with all the images. Sometimes I'll be sitting there and staring
> at a panel and thinking at some level, "Have I looked at this picture
> long enough? Have I seen what I was supposed to see? Have I
> appreciated what I was supposed to appreciate?" Maybe I feel this way
> because I didn't read comic books as a kid, didn't read my first graphic
> novel until I was in my 30s. Whatever the reason, it's a frustrating
> feeling to me.

I have read comics since I was a kid. From as long as I've been a reader, in fact. And in some weird way I think reading non-graphic novels has spoiled my reading of comics. I now read very quickly whereas when I used to read comics as a kid I would linger over the pictures for ages and re-read a comic several times. Now I'm impatient to get through the story -- why should it take me longer to read a four issue comic story than a Hammett, for instance? The older I get the more impatient I become. So I whiz through comics these days while my inner child chides me for not getting the whole picture. And if you've never grown up reading comics with the patience of a child you might not even know what it is you're missing when you skim through a comic.

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