Episode 4: Comics: Not Just "Funny Books" Anymore

With all the superhero movies flying at us, it's hard to believe that comics were once seen as bad. This episode, Frank digs into comic's controversial past.

Frank's Thoughts

When I was growing up, comics were not “cool.” If you read them, you were a geek. A nerd. You were looked down upon. They were considered junk, and no one ever thought to teach them in school. That didn’t stop me. I enjoyed the emersion that comics brought.

I was lucky to have parents who didn’t censor me from reading comics. They would always indulge me, buying me issues when we would go to the store. I had quite a collection (though well-read and wouldn’t be worth anything today due to that). I would try (and usually fail) to copy their drawings. I would imagine what it would be like to have super powers.

Still, I always assumed they were a lesser form of literature or art. I was always slightly ashamed that I read them, instead of going out and playing sports or whatever it was the “cool” kids did.

That was until I was in freshman year of high school. My english teacher saw me reading a copy of X-Men, and asked me if I had ever heard of a comic named “Kingdom Come.” I hadn’t and told him so. He said, “okay,” then left me alone.

The next day I came into school, he handed me his copy to let me borrow. He said that not only was it his favorite comic, but it contained beautiful art, and writing that could give some of our school requirements a run for their money.

And he was right. Written by Mark Wade and Alex Ross (who also did the incredible art), this graphic novel explores themes of morality, religion, responsibility, and politics. It grayed the lines between good and evil, and showed superheroes in a new light.

I finished that entire graphic novel in a night, brought it back to him and thanked him. From that day on, I was never again ashamed of being a fan of comics, because I saw comics for what they are...great works of art.

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