Everything’s Coming Up Comics!

This is a guest post by Ali Colluccio. Ali enjoys comics, cocktails, and curling. She lives in Brooklyn with her adorably blind kitten, Minerva, and tweets with reckless abandon at @WonderAli.

Comic-Con International in sunny San Diego has recently come to a close. Here’s where I tell you that SDCC, as we comics-types refer to it, is the biggest, most epic geek culture event of the year. But with each passing year there’s less of a need to explain it to people. And the around-the-clock coverage has grown past the comics blogosphere and gamer networks to include MTV and Entertainment Weekly. Movie studios are clamoring to get their would-be blockbusters in front of throngs of fervent fans.

As much as I’m tired of the “Bang! Pow! Kaboom! Comics Aren’t Just for Kids Anymore” headlines, I find myself saying, “Hey! Comics aren’t just for kids anymore. They’re actually really cool!” with increasing regularity.

Because the thing is, there’s a comic out there for everyone. Reducing comics to simply superhero stories is doing the medium a disservice. And that’s what comics is: a medium. There are crime comics and horror comics (Criminal and Lock & Key), sci-fi comics and adventure comics (Saga and The Sixth Gun). There are spy comics and historical non-fiction comics (Queen & Country and Green River Killer), romance comics and naval-gazing memoir comics (Scott Pilgrim and Blankets). There are even comics for your mom (don’t look at me, I don’t know what your mom likes). I’m starting to sound like Doctor Seuss. You get the picture.

It’s true that the lion’s share of weekly mass-market comics is superhero based. But I think Christopher Nolan (and Heath Ledger’s Oscar nomination) proved to us with The Dark Knight that even capes-and-tights tales can be compelling, mature stories. The Avengers has proven that even bombastic superhero adventures have real heart to them. The seminal comic book Watchmen (notice I did not say “graphic novel”) has such a strong, longstanding following outside the comic community that DC Comics is now publishing Before Watchmen comics to tap into a new readership.

All of this is awesome because, on some level, that means comics are starting to be taken seriously. Sure, I’ll still get odd looks when I read my funny pages on the subway. But for every five people I have the OMG THAT SUPERHERO MOVIE WAS AMAZING conversation with, at least one person says, “It made me want to read the comics.” And that’s pretty much the greatest sentence in the world.

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