Guest Author - Eugene Bradford
Comic books are an amazing medium. They represent so much for me as I am sure they do for others. The feeling one gets from walking into a local comic book shop or a comic book convention is a wonderful one. There is a great joy in relaxing with a stack of comics, and getting sucked into the deep and intriguing worlds. I often take some with me when I take trips and have some when I am on campus. There is never a dull moment when I can flip open a comic and join in on a character’s journey.
I have enjoyed comic books since I was in elementary school. The model of the superhero was one of my first loves. I would of course learn later that there were more to comics than capes. To me, however, superhero genre will always remain king. These caped characters are often a source of inspiration. Caped carrying a figurative meaning most of the time as many super-powered characters don’t actually wear them; but the term stands nonetheless as a tribute to the archetype. A high percentage of my 3000+ comic collection consists of these types. To many who don’t really know or understand, that number might sound astounding. But to me and the other hardcore and regular readers, that count is minute compared to the collections out there.
My all-time favorite characters are the X-Men. Back then, they were followed by Spider-Man and Spawn. While Spider-Man has remained number two to my favorite mutants, Spawn has slipped out of my top 3, but I still read the title and enjoy the overall concept.
As a reader in general, I read many tales about characters with different backgrounds put into varying circumstances. But to me, there is something special about the comic book format. That is not to say that I only read comic books; my reading habits include a diverse group of genre’s including but not limited to novels, historical accounts, and intellectual writings.
One of the many misconceptions concerning comic books is that they don’t have substance in comparison to other forms. There are those times when a comic revolves around ‘character a’ beating on ‘character b’ simply for the sake of fighting, but more often than not, there is usually always a deeper meaning behind the conflicts presented. Not too long ago, I had a discussion with a very close friend, who also shares my interest in this medium, on this same topic. We both expressed that outsiders don’t and probably can’t see these as regular readers might. I am often faced with a conflict between two characters born not out of hatred for each other, but as a means to reach two distinct end goals. As is common with other subjects, the perception about what is occurring and its meaning can be quite different for many people.
I have had discussions with people who weren’t really interested in the medium, but who would ask questions or make comments. I eagerly engage anyone who has a question about a particular character or storyline. One of the most common ones I encounter involve the vast lineup of the Green Lantern Corps. I enjoy this, because I can spread my knowledge and also attempt to help others understand one of my deep loves.
For those with even a slight interest in comic books or those who welcome learning new subjects, I wholeheartedly recommend this medium. The abundance of genre’s that exist has fueled my belief that there is something out there for everyone.