Last week featured the annual Free Comic Book Day (sorry not to mention it earlier; I forgot about it myself!). Essentially, Free Comic Book day is exactly what it sounds like: a chance to go into a bookstore and select a comic book for free.
For many reluctant readers, comic books are a gateway drug into reading other books. For many hardcore readers, comic books are something to sneer at. And while I appreciate the fact that comics can lead to more avid readers, I definitely don't think we should dismiss comics as something lesser. In fact, I'd argue that comics often hold some of the most important stories in literature today.
For me, I cut my teeth on graphic novels. My favorite ones were Sailor Moon and Fushigi Yuugi and, later, InuYasha. And while bringing up Japanese shojo manga on a blog about dystopian worlds may not seem to make much sense, I beg to differ.
This is something that I've tried to emulate in my own writing. Fight scene? Short, choppy sentences. Something heart-breaking and nuanced? Long, lyrical sentences. And white space. Never underestimate white space.
Really, ultimately, that's the point of dystopian novels, too. It's that when the world is crumbling, when it seems like there's no hope any more...someone stands up to fight. And maybe they fail, or maybe they don't, or maybe they just die trying...but the point in that they tried.
When I was at ComicCon NY last year, the panel moderator asked me why I think dystopian literature is so popular right now. Isn't it, she said, essentially very depressing? I said no. No, it's not. Because at it's heart, dystopian lit is about hope. It turns regular people into superheroes. It's not about the end of the world: it's about fighting back and rising up despite that.
You tell me: What have you learned from comic books and graphic novels? And if you don't read them...go out and try one! Leave your faves in the comments so that other people can know good places to start reading them!
In other news, today I've got a post up on my own blog about charities and zombies, with prizes and less world suck all around. I'd appreciate it if you gave it a look and spread the word about the charities.