Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fear of the C-Word

Please welcome to our lovely abode Candace from Beth Fish Reads, writing about why she no longer fears the C-word: comics!

comics: hidden, this one summer, hereville, anya's ghost
When I'm asked if I read graphic novels, I light up with enthusiasm and can barely stop talking about my favorite books and making recommendations. So why is it that I find it difficult to use the C-word in public? "Um, well," I mumble quietly, "I guess I do read comics."

Perhaps I imagine that there's something artsy and mature about saying I read graphic novels: I'm on the cutting edge, I appreciate good art, I support alternative ways to tell a story. Saying I read comics, on the other hand, seems to imply that I'm either a sweet middle-schooler reading The Powerpuff Girls or a sullen teenager locked in my room reading Batgirl (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Comics, however, are so much more than superheroes and pink ponies. The comic is, in fact, a medium not a genre, and it's time for the C-word to shed it's less-than connotations. Besides, who among the non-comics readers can say they've never read a novel for pure escape and enjoyment?

So here I am admitting it to the world: Yes, I read comics!

But wait, don't get all superpowery on me now that I've come out in the open. It's not that I don't love me a caped hero once in a while, but my reading tastes draw me elsewhere. I always found myself to be a little outside of the hero universe, with its ingenious technology, mad scientists, and complicated weapons, not to mention the interlinked stories and deep history.

comics essex county, shackleton, boxers, the initiates
Although I like a gripping good vs. evil story as much as anyone, I'm more attracted to comics that deal with mysteries, fantasies, quests, relationships, and friendships and those that take me to new worlds. I like my comics to offer escape, but I also want themes and characters and plot lines that make me think and open my mind.

What I'm really saying here, is that I pretty much read the same things in comics as I do in so-called regular books. And so doesn't that really make my point? There is no reason for me to be reluctant to use the C-word: Comics are as diverse as traditional books, and it's time to stop with the euphemisms and call them what they are. Besides, there's something magical about discovering that perfect combination of irresistible story and art style that makes comics--of any genre--such a pleasure to read.

Hi, my name is Candace, and I'm an adult and I read comics.


  1. YEA! Embrace the c-word! :)

    Love this post, Candace.

  2. I avoid the c word too for some reason.

  3. When my mom was the age I am now, she was reading comics. (They were Archie Digests, but still...) Apparently, she was way ahead of her time! The main reason I haven't followed her lead is that so much of the time, the lettering is just too small for me to read comfortably. That's probably a lame excuse. This post is a terrific encouragement to get over it!

  4. I've not jumped into comics or graphic novels because do I really need another genre to add to my reading lists. I hadn't thought about the print but that does keep me away from print mass mkt paperbacks and cozy mysteries, I only read those in e book format. I'm all for variety in reading, I just think the C books are on a different level.

  5. Yay! Comics! I am glad you read them. I enjoy discussing them with you. :)

  6. Loved this post, Candace! I'm the same way with comics - the ones I love the most are the same types of stories I love reading in "regular" books.

  7. Great post! I do try to *not* avoid the C word, but depending on who I'm talking to I'll often use graphic novel instead.

  8. *all together* Hello Candace!

    I was always a bit put off by the superhero style and as an adult I was beyond the Tintins and Asterixs, so until recently i didn't read any comics. It was only recently that I discovered them again (thanks book bloghsphere!), mostly through the ones you mention.

  9. You know, I find myself not using the c-word myself, simply because I think most people think of the superheroes and that is not really what I read either. BUT, you are right. I really should be embracing it!


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