(This is the first of a series of Literary Transgressions, posts in which Corey or I will either post an embarrassing literary admission of our own with some commentary, or post a transgression one of our readers has sent in. If you have a Transgression you’d like to submit, please e-mail it to email@example.com)
I love graphic novels and comic books.
Love love love. Give me a superhero, and I’m enthralled.
The sad part is, I’m not even one of those fans who has an encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel, DC and the rest. I can’t even name the rest. Probably I’ve never read a true comic book in my entire life. In fact, I know my only exposure to Marvel has been through the Iron Man movie, and my DC reading has been limited to Watchmen and V for Vendetta. The only credit I deserve is that I at least read the latter two novels before I saw the movies.
My lack of knowledge only makes this transgression more embarrassing. I can’t carry on a decent conversation with a true fan because I lack the background, and explaining my appreciation for the form to an uninitiated one sounds less like a valid argument for why graphic novels should be considered literature and more like an argument centered on the statements, “I like books with pictures” and “Superhero movies ROCK” (which, incidentally, several of them do).
Maybe my love is based solely on the artwork and who played Cyclops in the film. But I also love a good kick-ass character; though many of the heroes have existential crises from time to time, generally they have jobs and purposes and defining characteristics. In most classic comics, you can easily tell the good from the bad, the moral from the immoral–and normally you can tell who is going to win in the end.
I wish I had a firmer background in the form, as it would give me a better grip on Alan Moore’s work. It’s hard to understand the subversion behind V for Vendetta and Watchmen without already having a working knowledge of the fundamentals Moore is subverting. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a little bit easier for me, as he’s toying with Victorian ideals and literature rather than superheroes; however, and perhaps because of that omission, I didn’t find that work as riveting as I normally would.
I promise to have more ‘big girl books’ reviews in the future, like next week. But for now, all I’ve got for you is my admission that I’m a comic book addict — and not a very good one at that.