Like all readers, I have reading preferences, likes and dislikes, and a comfort zone where I can safely read what I enjoy most. For me, this means I stay in a bubble of classic novels, Gothic novels, horrors, thrillers and YA fiction. I want to become braver, as a reader, so I have devised the Learn to Love Challenge, in which I will sample a a variety of genres I tend to stay away from, and review my experiences along the way, and perhaps I will “learn to love” them.
Today I have chosen to Learn to Love … graphic novels!
1. Have you ever read texts from this genre before?
2. Why have you stayed away from this genre?
Firstly, I think the term “graphic novel” is a fancy way of saying “comic book”. I think the stories will be too cheesy and too short for anything exciting to happen. I just can’t see the appeal of looking at pictures and hardly any writing.
3. Why have you chosen these particular texts?
As comics are so short, I thought it would be better to sample two texts than just the one. I have chosen the first The Walking Dead comic by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore because a little while ago, I started watching the AMC TV series, The Walking Dead and I really enjoy it. I thought it would be interesting to see how the comic and the show match-up.
I have also chosen the first X-Men comic by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby because I didn’t mind the X-Men films, and I thought it would be good to sample two different comics that are on completely different topics.
1. What did you like?
I much preferred The Walking Dead comic because the story appealed to me more and I thought the illustrations looked better. I can see instantly see why the series caught on, I was left wanting to read the next comic, despite already knowing the storyline!
I thought Kirkman’s explanation following the comic, describing how he didn’t want to create a horror, but a survivalist story which just so happens to occur at the time of a zombie apocalypse, was really interesting and explains at times why you can feel as if have been no recent ‘walker’ attacks.
I thought Lee’s idea of the X-Men was very creative, and I could see how it sparked films and TV shows and drew a wide fan base for lovers of science fiction, fantasy and superheroes.
2. What did you dislike?
I didn’t enjoy the X-Men comic as much; the storyline was okay but it felt so predictable and the use of bright colours made it seem very childish and cheesy. Also, I didn’t like the overuse of explanation marks for almost all thoughts and dialogue! It just didn’t seem real! Can you imagine if someone wrote a novel in that style! It would seem over the top and ridiculous! Continuously!
1. After reading the texts, would you say that you enjoy this genre?
Not really. I am still not convinced that the “graphic novel” is a form of literature comparable with novels, poems, plays etc. and I can’t say that my overall opinion has changed dramatically. The narratives in both comics were really brief and I felt like I’d only just learnt who the characters were or what was happening before the story was wrapped up and I was told to subscribe for the next edition to find out what happens.
2. Have any of your preconceptions changed?
I was surprised by how little words like BAM, ULP, CRASH, WOW, POW etc. were actually featured in either comic – stereotypical words I assumed were always worked into the narrative somehow.
3. Would you read more texts in this genre?
I wouldn’t mind reading more of The Walking Dead comics, as this might develop my understanding of the TV show. I certainly wouldn’t pay for them however; they do seem like an expensive purchase for so little content. Thankfully, the texts I sampled today, I was able to read them for free!
As always, I am more than willing to discuss opinions further in the comments, so please leave any thoughts you have down below. Do you enjoy graphic novels? What’s your favourite series?
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