Comics are important


There was always something about comics that drew me towards them. Ever since I was little, I was reading comic strips in the newspaper, and as soon as I was introduced to Calvin and Hobbes by my parents, I became obsessed. I quickly moved on to superhero comics, graphic novels, alternative comics, and basically anything I could get my hands on. Well-crafted stories enhanced by art will always appeal to me.

When I was in elementary school, I came across a graphic novel entitled American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. At the time, I didn’t completely understand different messages that were conveyed in the book, but as I grew older, it would have a profound impact on my life. I kept finding myself being drawn back to the book, and I read it numerous times. Being half Chinese myself, I found that I could relate to many struggles that the main protagonist Jin faces throughout the story. In the many comics I read over the years, I began to find that I could relate to characters on a much deeper level as much as I would if I read a regular novel.

Just recently, the world-renowned Marvel comic book creator Stan Lee passed away, and this news hurt millions of fans along with myself. After Lee’s death, comedian Bill Maher made comments regarding Lee’s work, stating that he was “a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess.” When I heard this claim, I regarded it as a statement of pure ignorance and nothing else. This just goes to prove that Maher clearly hasn’t ever picked up a comic book (or a good one for that matter). The characters that Lee created have inspired generations of people. Characters such as Daredevil (a blind man with heightened senses who fights crime) are powerful and empower readers. There are times when Daredevil is driven to the edge, times when it seems that all hope is lost, and times when the enemies he must face seems far too strong to defeat, but he will always find a way to power through any great ordeal. Points like this appear in everyone’s lives, and seeing these characters succeed makes getting through hard times easier. Lee did far more than encouraging people to see Marvel movies.

The general public seems to look down upon comics and assume that comics are just for kids which is quite untrue. Comics such as X-Men tackle what it’s like to be a misfit,  American Born Chinese shows how difficult it can be to adjust to a new environment, and Maus tells the story of a survivor of the Holocaust. All of these comics, along with hundreds of others, tell serious and relevant stories that contain subject matter that kids could only appreciate at an older age.

As I made my way through a sea of comics, I came to realize just how important comics are and how much they affected me. Some of my best memories were made reading comics, and I really hope that more people begin to start reading them. I feel that once someone gets the taste of what comics are like and adjusts to the format, they will be able to find something to relate to in comic books. Comics are a medium of art. They can convey meaningful messages, they can be influential, and they can be emotional. Comics are important.