Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Oh noes! Save teh children frum teh ebil komix!

Trolling around Strollerderby the other day, I stumbled on this post blasting librarians using comic books to get kids to read more:

Must we dumb everything down?

Like teaching babies about numbers using Baby Einstein, or learning about vegetables by feeding them Lean Cuisine. Seems like the best way to teach kids to read, is to read to them. Failing that, how about the good old reward system? For every book you read, you get a star (which might not work in today's video game/movie preschooler set), or how about a new car?

The only thought that went flying by in my head (well after I finished reading my Hellboy books and BPRD) was "WTF?"

Who's to say that parents aren't reading to their comic-loving kids? Having pictures with the words isn't necessarily a bad thing -- all of Benevolent Dictator's books right now have pictures on every single page and little text. That's because she's a baby -- reading Moby Dick would make no sense to her right now.

It's almost like the writer didn't take into account some great and classic comic books such as Maus, Persepolis and even the stereotypical superhero comics which can be great works of art at times. It's ghettoizing of writing in my mind similar to when people deride science fiction, romance, mysteries and other genres.


QuietlyGoingMad said...

A friend of mine just posted how he finds it sad that the U.S. culture views comics/graphic novels as something childish, whereas in Japan (where he's teaching) it's considered a child/teen/adult pursuit at the same level of acceptance.

I think the reality is that most adults don't want to contemplate the amount of time, energy, and effort that goes into creating a storyline (not to mention story arcs) that last over many issues. They don't want to see that there's just as much importance to being able to visually (i.e. imaginatively) absorb a story via pictures as there is to there is to absorbing words. Hang a few comic/graphic novel pages on a 36X48 canvas in the MMO and I bet they start seeing it a bit differently.

*hops off soapbox to run out and purchase "Spike: Shadow Puppets"*

QuietlyGoingMad said...

OOPS...That's supposed to be MMA.

Eva said...

I've heard that argument before and I still think it's total BS. You can tell stories that are just as beautiful and compelling with comics as with traditional books. Half of everything is pulpy junk so steering kids towards a particular medium is going to have no affect on the quality of what the read (I know I read some total crap along with jewels of modern literature.

On top of that, Rachael Brownell's bitching reeks of the worst kind of elitism to me. Just because something is more accessible doesn't make it intellectually inferior, not by a long shot.

Bah. She's being both short sighted very narrow minded about the whole topic.