Comic Books


4/12/99


Essay
Comic books are cheap entertainment that trash the minds of our children. How often have I earned this. And I’ve disagreed with it every single time. If people were willing to go beyond that old stereotype, they would see that comic books are not that much different from other books. The thing is, as for many books, to choose wisely the ones we let our children read. Thus, you will see that comic books aren’t so bad.


First, let us all remember that the authors, regardless of what type of writing they do, can always influence the minds of their young (and not so young) readers. After all, if you look at the storybooks written a few decades (and more) ago, you will find that a lot of them were sexist. For example, it was always the prince who saved Snow White, Cinderella and all the other princesses. Even if that is less true now, there are still some books that can negatively influence children. So if it is true that some comic books are sexist or violent, it is also true that some of them are, to put it simply, fine. It would be wrong to accuse all comic books of prejudice and violence, like it would be wrong to do the same with novels.


In the same line of thought, one of the great things about books is that they can teach you a lot of things, whether it is about deep things or facts that you did not know; they broaden your horizon. Well, that is also true of some comic books. And it is not so surprising, when you think about it. For example, I had never heard of the country of Tanzania before I read a comic book in which that was the birth place of one of the main characters. As for more deep, philosophical things, even though it is less obvious, that can also be found. In a particular comic book title (but also in many others) the main subject in the stories is no understanding those who are born different from us. It can easily be related to racism. Thus, comic books, like books, can teach us great lessons.


On a different note, it has often been said that literature is a form of art and that the writer is an artist and should be looked upon as such. What about comic books ? Shouldn’t the writers and pencilers also be praised for their work ? If not for art, at least because it demands a lot of talent and hard work. After all, how many of us could write good dialogues and scripts to keep the reader hanging month after month or pencil the characters so well ? Of course, some of it is cheap, but that could also be said of some “literature”, couldn’t it ? That said, we should at least recognize the hard work of these people.


In the end, if you take the time to analyze them, comic books are very muck like simple books. The latter can influence children as much as the first, which cannot be solely accused of that; both can help us learn things in their own way; and they both require hard work and talent. So, if you could forget the old stereotype for a minute, you might want to try and read one. Besides, isn’t it true that if a kid reads a comic book, at least, he’s reading something ? Think about it…