Sean's History in Comics, Part 3

By | Thursday, March 09, 2006 Leave a Comment
After The Wife and I graduated from college, we moved into an apartment complex not far from where we both worked. One Saturday, we were in the Half Price Book Store and I happened across a copy of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. It was cheap and I'd heard good things about it, so I went ahead and bought it.

For some reason, we opted to spend all day Sunday reading in bed. I think we've done that two, maybe three times ever, but that was the first time we'd ever done that. I sat there and read Understanding Comics in one sitting, and when I finished, I was awestruck. For years, I had thought that I was a fan of comic books, when I realized that in fact I had been a fan of superheroes. McCloud's book caught me at exactly the right time, and -- even though I had read much of my father's collection of indie comics as a teenager -- I then and there became of a fan of comic books as a medium. I've kept an ever-increasing eye out for different titles, themes and genres since I first reading UC, and I've been quite grateful for it.

What surprises me, though, is that Understanding Comics -- while still revered as one of the definitive books on the subject -- is still so under-valued within the comics' community. I can't count the number of people I've talked to who claim to be comic fans but have never even heard of, much less read, the book. I think there's a LOT to be learned from it, and I think it ought to be a staple of every comic collector's and comic shop's collections. If you haven't already, and you're reading this, go buy the book right now.
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