• Chad R. MacDonald

The Importance of Comic Books

Comic books got me interested in reading. When I was young, I was really interested in what was happening in those stories, so I pushed myself to learn to read more than I otherwise would have, and I entered school reading at a higher level because of it.

Comic books taught me a lot. Stan Lee​ has repeatedly recounted how he would purposely put larger, more complex words into his stories, because he figured this was an opportunity to educate.

Comics taught me what the speed of sound was, what the speed of light was before school did, and explained the Theory of Relativity.

They traveled back through time, and not only directly introduced me to historical events and figures, but examined them from different points of view.

They immersed me in art, teaching me that were countless, myriad ways to see the world, or that a character that everyone knows could be portrayed in a fresh and original way.

They showed me the importance of morality. That we all know the difference between right and wrong, and that people are not always brave enough to stand up for what's right and true.

So when I'm told that comics are what's wrong with society today, that they've contributed to the decay of discourse, I can only shake my head.

We are at a point where our kids need all the encouragement they can to read. Competition for their attention is more fierce than ever before.

When I was a boy, TV and movies were the major competition for your reading time.

Now it's TV, and *specialized* TV, whatever TV show you want, whenever you want it, presented by whatever channel you want it, told to you in the way you want it told to you.

We currently, right now, have a "news" channel divorced from reality, keeping a third of the nation in a bubble of fantasy, doing their very best to tell us that an administration that seems actually made up of comic book villains are heroes, despite all of the evidence to the contrary.

So that's where TV is these days.

Now add the internet.

Now add the idiotic anti-vaccine movement.

Now add the vested financial interests flooding this country with guns, making sure that they end up in the hands of those who are most decidedly *not* responsible gun owners.

Now add any number of horrific and insidious elements that can make the world a horrible place if we let them have their way.

Now tell me again that people who like comics are the problem.

Putting aside that people like Bill Maher​ mean "superheroes" when they blame comics for larger issues; that the superhero genre has mostly transitioned out of comic books and into, you guessed it, movies and TV; that the oldtimers like me who did grow up reading comics tend to be well versed in literature, science, sports, the arts, and any of a countless number of topics; the point that keeps being missed over and over again is that comics are books that make reading fun.

Comic. Books. Make. Reading. Fun.

I want my son to enjoy reading. Comic books will help him do that. And if sharing my old friends with him makes you think I should "grow up," then so be it.

Just be careful. If you find yourself looking down your nose at people who like comics because you think they should be "better than that" what you're really saying is you're better than them.

And if that's the case, people who like comics aren't the problem.

You are.

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