Considered cheesy, futile, and childish, reading comic books is a habit that has been renounced by many adults. Once an integral part of our childhood, comic books now exist in the memories or in the attic, stored alongside old family photographs and heirlooms. However, what made graphic novels obsolete is not time but stereotype: the fear of being called a nerd or a geek pushed many adults away from the comics.
“Deviants and losers and mutants and the loveless … were the proper readers of Marvel comics,” said American Novelist Rick Moody. Prejudice aside, is reading comics really a bad habit for you as an adult? Considered intellectually inferior and easy to read, comics have the ability to inspire you, and widen your perspectives and imagination. “I don’t remember when exactly I read my first comic book, but I do remember exactly how liberated and subversive I felt as a result,” remarked professor of literature at Columbia University and orientalist, Edward Said.
In a world where stress is a part and parcel of life, comic books offer the kind of relief that can help you relax and unwind. “Words and pictures are yin and yang. Married, they produce a progeny more interesting than either parent,” said children’s book writer Dr Seuss. Comics are such union of words and pictures, which bring them alive to be your saviour from boredom or a monotonous life.
American comic book writer Stan Lee had this to say, “I’m no prophet, but I’m guessing that comic books will always be strong. I don’t think anything can really beat the pure fun and pleasure of holding a magazine in your hand, reading the story on paper, being able to roll it up and put it in your pocket, reread again later, show it to a friend, carry it with you, toss it on a shelf, collect them, have a lot of magazines lined up and read them again as a series. I think young people have always loved that. I think they always will.”
In Asia, comics are still quite popular. In Japan and other neighbouring countries, millions of people read manga comics like Naruto and Death Note . In India, the publishing house Amar Chitra Katha with its classics has kept the flame of comics burning in the hearts of adults. This being said, once read across the globe, comics have largely lost its place in the lives of many.
Living in a world of comics is massively entertaining and exciting. But to answer the question: whether adults should read comics, Soulveda dives into the world of graphic novels to restore their importance and value in adulthood.