High Five! Comics

Gateway Drugs: The Hyper-Literate

Posted on: September 9, 2009

“Hey, Rob, what are you reading?”

“Oh, I just picked up all the trades for Animal Man. Seems like a pretty good book.”

“Wait… That’s a comic book… Forget it, I’ll be over here jerking off to James Joyce.”

There are so many uppity people who I’ve tried to get to read comics who turn them down because, well, they’re just comic books. So fucking what if comic books don’t dress all dapper and fellate your ego? They are FAR from the mindless entertainment that they are stereotyped to be (blame the Golden Age for that one). Stop being so elitist, jerks. I’ve got suggestions and you’re gonna read ’em, come hell or high water.

sandmanFirstly-first, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman might be a great jumping off point. I mean, check it out. It’s about a guy who granted William Shakespeare the ability to write and frequently visits Hell and Asgard to consult with the deities and demons there. Wait, who are those weird-lookin’ folks? Oh, that’s just Elemental Girl and Martian Manhunter. Yeah, they’re DC superheroes. Ha! I tricked you! You’re a couple hundred pages into the DCU and you didn’t even know it! Oh, that’s rich.

invisWhat else we got? Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles isn’t about heroes, it’s about being fucked up, wordy, and making you feel as uncomfortable as humanly possible (something it accomplishes almost immediately). It deconstructs reality and reassembles it in a way that leaves you feeling like you are missing some integral part of yourself. Plus, the Marquis de Sade plays a gigantic role and we all know what he did for literature, right? Double plus (book joke!), you know The Matrix, that movie all the kids had their panties in knots over a decade back? Well, the Wachowski Brothers Siblings stole it right out from the pages of The Invisibles. Take that, elitists!

v1Then there’s Alan Moore, who snobby types probably already like without knowing it. V for Vendetta explores fascism versus anarchy and all that other esoteric shit pretentious people like. Moore’s ‘V’ character quotes about a million different literary works and spreads anarchy through vaudeville. If you quote V in arguments, you’ll win. The hyper-literate LOOOOVE to argue and win. Probably. Elistist braggarts eat this shit up, right?

And isn’t hyper-literate elitism simply the art of quoting people cleverer than you are? We just hooked you up. Look, there’s nothing wrong with reading books that aren’t comics. I do love me some occasional Sedaris or Foer or whatever. Books what ain’t got none of them pretty pictures don’t make nobody better than nobody else, you know? You might as well do yourself a favor and discover what other stories (and storytellers) are out there. Curb the pompous superiority and read a fuckin’ comic.


3 Responses to "Gateway Drugs: The Hyper-Literate"

OMG, I LOVE JAMES JOYCE…wait, this is a comics blog? NEVERMIND.

Hey, John Constantine drops in halfway through the first issue! I didn’t even have to wait very long for a DC character to show up. Awesome.

I really do need to give comics a whirl. I almost did this weekend… I wanted to check out the Buffy comic series, but I ended up not picking it up. The store had the books, and volume 1 was $16.99… and I thought to myself “I can read this is 20 minutes.” I’ll give it a whirl eventually.

Borders is actually a surprisingly good source for decently priced trade paperbacks, what with all their coupons. If you ever find yourself in Long Beach, Pulp Fiction has amazing selection and tons of discounted books. Naturally, supporting the local comic shops is a big deal to us, so unless a book is more than $20 we’re most likely going to be getting at it at Beach Ball (corner of Beach & Ball in Anaheim, or Pulp Fiction, with the occasional pilgrimage to Meltdown in LA.)

And of course there’s always half.com or amazon.

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