Yesterday, I went to lunch a little early and took a copy of Bourbon Island 1730 to read. I just finished it up and got up to leave, when I noticed a co-worker sit down not far from me. It was her first day back after an extended leave, so I went over to say hi. A couple other women sat down and we all chatted a bit. After an early pause in the conversation, one of them noticed the cover of the book and asked, "You're reading about ducks?"
"Pirate ducks, actually." I held the book up and she took it from me, starting to flip through the pages. "It's historical fiction about French pirates. Except they're drawn as ducks. And other animals."
"Historical fiction? Really?" She looked at some of the pages more intently. "It wouldn't have occurred to me to do it like this. That's a really interesting way of tackling it. It looks like it took a lot of work."
She seemed genuinely surprised at the book. Not interested enough to read it (I don't expect she'd care for the subject matter) but interested enough to make a mental note about it. Something like, "Comics can be historical fiction. Huh."
Now, did she rush back to her desk after lunch and fire up Amazon to look for other historical fiction comics? Probably not. She probably won't seek out historical fiction comics, or comics of any sort really, any time in the near future.
But she just might pause a bit the next time she's walking through the library or Half-Price Books or wherever when the shelves of graphic novels catch her attention. Maybe not long enough to pull anything down, but her memory might be jogged enough that she'd mention to whomever she's with.
Comics aren't for everybody; some people simply don't like to read. But, one person at a time, we can show them that there are nifty cool things being done with comics, and it's not all bulky guys with capes.