I grew up reading comic books and comic strips. Next to watching cartoons, that was my favorite past time. I hung around with the Peanuts gang, went to the malt shop with Archie, counted money with Richie Rich, swung with Spider-man, and shared a laugh with Nancy, Garfield and Blondie. I still have my comic book collection to this day with pages dark golden yellow but growing up, I thought comic books were a thing of the past for me as I “graduated” to text until last year when my optometrist told me to cut back on my reading if I care for my sight.
Now, my grade fluctuates between 100-125 and it has been like that for the past twenty years. So it’s not like I was going blind. But my optometrist said if I want to maintain my eyesight that way, I should be more careful as I grow older. “Cut back especially on computer and tablet reading,” she added. Does she want me to take up braille? She might just as well tell me to stop living in the 21st century.
Anyway, around that time, it just so happened that I bought a few Nancy Drew graphic novels from Papercutz. I only did out of curiosity on the treatment. I had been seeing a lot of graphic novels which I readily dismissed as violent and expensive. But my love for Nancy Drew was greater than my prejudice and that was how my love affair with graphic novel started. I then found myself going back to where I started with my love for reading—the comic books.
I realized that the comic books of today are different from what I grew up with (strictly for kids) and not all are about superheroes and violent. And as much as I love words, seeing the characters, their emotion and action frozen in panel after panel, it felt like I was doing two things simultaneously—reading and looking at works of visual arts which some of them are like Papercutz’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Marvel’s The Wizard of Oz. Clearly, today’s comic books are no longer the comic books of my grandfather. Not even my comic books in my younger years. They’re even given a more mature name—the graphic novel.
I am glad that I can continue with my reading, thanks to this genre that has seen adaptations, re-telling of classics and original stories. My optometrist thanks it as well as it has served a good compromise for both of us. I am happy with my reading and she is happy that I am taking her advice and will not be seeing me as often at her clinic.
Visit the ‘Graphic Novels to Escape Into’ category to find more recommendations from Elizabeth.