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Comics Mean Education, Entertainment, and Escape


The week of April 29th leading into Free Comic Book Day on May 4th, I’m asking bloggers, podcasters & artists to post something explaining what comics mean to you. (prompt courtesy of Comics Kick Ass Week)

Comics are a great source of education, entertainment, and escape for me. I’ve learned a lot from comics–stuff that’s stuck with me, even helped shape some of the ways I see the world around me. They’re certainly a source of entertainment, or I wouldn’t still have the interest I do in them (which in turn branches into everything else). And along the lines of entertainment, they also provide a means of (temporary) “escape.”

One of the most common, practical things I learned from comics comes from the price of the comics that had most of my interest at the time: $1.25. The majority of the comics I recall particularly from late 1992 seemed to be $1.25 for regular issues or $2.50 for (Eclipso) annuals, with some other price points thrown in. As such, I find it quite easy to recall that 1.25 goes into 10.00 8 times. That may not be terribly useful, but I’ve been amused at the times it’s come into play in my life.

I learned the differentiation between “justice” and “the law” from an old Batman comic, which informs my views to this day, that there IS a difference at times, between seeing the law upheld vs. seeing justice done, or vice versa.

I’ve learned about history and the world around me thanks to “exposure” through comics. I’m often fascinated when I discover that something referenced in a comic is true/corroborated elsewhere, or prompts me to research stuff on my own. I learned a lot that way from The Sandman series in particular.

 

I’d learned to read before comics, but comics certainly encouraged me to keep reading–and I’ve learned all sorts of words and phrases (slang and otherwise) from comics. And I’ve long believed that the combination of words and images–sometimes far less of the former than latter–might encourage a new reader to read more (in the long run) because a single issue of a comic may be far less intimidating than a 100+ page prose volume.

I speak of education and comics as comics being the source, but comics have been a part of my education in general…whether reading comics at school, incorporating comics or their characters into papers and other academic assignments, or as a subfocus OF my education (majoring in Popular Culture as an undergrad and drawing a lot of stuff together from comics).

And really, there’s probably an incredible amount of things that I’ve picked up through the years subconsciously, even, from comics.

As entertainment…for me, there’s little more enjoyable than simply reading a good story. Passing the time while taking something in. But there’s also the challenge in tracking down back issues; the time spent with friends over comics (whether talking comics, going to a comic shop, attending a convention, or whatever); experiencing the characters in other media and knowing the source material; and so on.

The fact I’m writing this right now, that I post to a blog a couple times a week ABOUT comics–even combines my enjoyment of writing with my enjoyment of comics. I find that I’m not much of a (video) gamer–I don’t have the patience, for one thing–but find time for comics as they’re at least a lot more scalable…maybe I can’t read 6 issues or an omnibus in one sitting or at a given time…but there’s usually time to at least read one issue of something.

And as escape…comics are–technically–like a lot of other means of “escapism” in serving as a focus/distraction (something to focus on to distract from something else), and it’s easy to get lost in a good comic series (just as with a good book).

Just last week, in particular, I “got lost” in reading IDW‘s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, vol. 4 revisiting the first part of the now-classic City at War story. Looked up from my reading when I realized I’d read right through sunset into enough darkness as to be hard to read without getting up to turn on a light.

Whether I’m looking for “mere” entertainment, or escape from “real life” and “the world around me” for a time, comics allow both. And in the process, comics have also been a large part of my education through the years–formal and otherwise.

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2 Responses

  1. […] Other posts in my participation in Comics Kick Ass week:Comics Mean Memories | Comics Mean Connection | Comics Mean Education/Entertainment/Escape […]

  2. […] posts in my participation in Comics Kick Ass week:Comics Mean Memories | Comics Mean Connection | Comics Mean Education/Entertainment/Escape | Comics Mean Marking the Passing […]

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