Sunday, July 26, 2009

A.V. Club: recommended first comics

The A.V. Club is running a great Q&A on their site asking various folks which comic / graphic novel they would recommend for first-timers.

I'm pretty much a noob when it comes to comics; I didn't grow up reading them, and had the unfortunately mistaken notion early in life that they were for kids, and weren't serious reading. In fact, I didn't really start taking them seriously until I got to Japan, which has a well-known appreciation for all subjects presented in the manga format (surprising topics were Japanese history and economics). Staying with one of my friends in Hiroshima, I devoured much of his collection of The Sandman and Preacher while he was at work. Later, after I came to Stanford, I managed to finally read Watchmen (since it was in the library). They were beautiful and I loved the stories, but I still had a hard time trying to make up the distance between Archie and Frank Miller. As comic books because increasingly popularized in mainstream film and television, I was also sensitive to walking to a comic book store and being overtly judged by the superfans who work there.

There are a few on this list that I have been meaning to check out (e.g., "From Hell"), other ones that I've forgotten that I must check out (e.g., "The Dark Knight Returns"), and ones that I've never heard of that I want to now check out (e.g., "Pyongyang: A Journey In North Korea"). The A.V.'s feature is refreshing because it reminds me that people who truly love comics really want other people to love them, too, and that the gatekeeper stereotype is not universal (although, like indie rock, probably common):

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