Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why I Read Comics

Comic books were never something I got into. As a young kid, I wasn't allowed to read them because of the "violence" they contained (back in the late '80s when that was the parental concern because violent video games hadn't caught the eye of the parent groups). When I got old enough to make the decision on my own, I'd delved deep enough into different interests that my money got spent elsewhere.

Then I moved out on my own, got laid off from a job, and found myself with a ton of free time. And an internet connection. That's when I got introduced to webcomics. They made jokes about video games, being a nerd, living life in a world where technology was evolving faster than we could have ever imagined. And I was hooked!

I started out simple with Ctrl+Alt+Del, then moved to the now-defunct Apple Geeks, Questionable Content, and Penny Arcade. Over the years, I followed several other comics, but those three links are the comics I read as soon as they update. They distracted me when I was depressed about job-loss, and two breakups. Then they, along with MegaTokyo (which I no longer read due to a change in taste), inspired a short-lived web-serial that I wrote many many years ago.

From there, I branched out and flipped through a few graphic novels that I genuinely enjoyed as much as any first-rate traditional novel I've read. And the art fascinates me.

All of this is to say that, as a kid, I didn't understand comics. To an extent, I still struggle with the concept on a small level (like why someone would read the old-style comics rather than wait for the glossy-sheet compilation of the entire storyline). But they inspire me. I want to write better stories because of them. I want to encourage other people to READ because of them. And some day, I'd love to get involved in a comic project. Somehow.

So I'll leave you with three questions: do you read comics? Why or why not? And would you be willing to read one based on the recommendation of a friend or acquaintance?

This picture represents a lifelong ambition to draw comic books, stemmed from a childhood of visualizing stories and never picking up the ability to draw, no matter how hard I tried. Instead, I create pictures with my words and talk about other art forms that inspire me. Like comics. If you missed that, read the non-italicized words above.

Also, you can find me over at High Aspirations on Mondays and Fridays. Or on twitter @gileshash.

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