Rediscovering Comics and Graphic Novels
As a child I avidly read comics during the seventies. I had a subscription to several titles and use to enjoy having them delivered. I purchased both US and UK titles and would trade old copies with friends. I wasn’t a collector or purists, I just loved what I read and in some respects that lead me on to discover other genres of fiction. However comics fell by the wayside when I hit my teens. I have no memory of there being any specific reason for this. It was simply a case of one pastime being replaced by another. I think music became more important to me and my reading moved on to classic horror and sci-fi literature.
In the late eighties and early nineties I returned to the genre and started reading a lot of graphic novels. The main attraction was their greater narrative depth. There was also a significant cultural shift roundabout this time and such material was becoming far more common place and popular. Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke, both by Alan Moore were literary milestones for me. I also enjoyed Eclipse Comics adaptation of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood. They offered far more with their visial interpretation of Rawhead Rex, than the film version. Sadly circumstance and a changing lifestyle meant that this hobby was also put aside.
I recently discovered that the Humble Bundle frequently offers selected comics and graphic novels at major discount. As I own a seven inch Android tablet that I don’t use as often as I should, I decided to resurrect my interest in the comic genre. After some basic research I decided to install the free version of Komik Reader on my Hudl and CoView on my PC. The results have been very satisfying. Reading comics on a seven inch screen is surprisingly good. The zoom facility solves any issues with the text and allows the artwork to be examined closely. Viewing on a PC is slightly different experience. My twenty four inch monitor presents the images perfectly but sitting at my desk lacks the comfort of perusing via a tablet on the couch or in bed.
What I have found very surprising is the wealth of material that is available. Most major publishing houses have online portals that can supply electronic version of the latest titles as well as an extensive back catalogue. Furthermore I have managed to track down copies of specific comics I read as a child. As a result I have reacquainted myself with Beep the Meep (from Marvel UK Doctor Who Weekly circa 1980) and found on iTunes the classic strip Hookjaw (from UK Action comic circa 1976). It will be available for the Android platform shortly. I am also working my way through The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series and intend to read The Punisher revival from a decade ago.
I am very pleased that the comic genre has successfully migrated over to this contemporary medium. It has many practical benefits such as negating the need for storage and significant cost savings. It has also reminded me that the standard of writing in the genre is often outstanding and that there is a great deal of quality reading material out there. My subsequent rediscovery of the comics and graphic novels has also fuelled my latest vice, namely bundles and group discounts. I shall have to ensure that I do not get too carried away with my purchases. In the meantime I look forward to hours of entertainment from a medium I had previously forgotten.