Comic Books As Literature

This entry was posted by Saturday, 23 January, 2010
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By the time I hit kindergarten, I was a reader.

I wanna think it’s cause I had a brain but, thinking back on it, my primer consisted of a small collection of comic books which my Mom (and other adults in my life) helped me to figure out.

The process was kinda informal.

I would point and ask my Mom what was happening and she would say “Captain Marvel’s about to get hit by a brick. He’s saying ‘Shazam!,”


“It’s the word he uses to turn into a tough guy” she would say. And she would help me to see the pieces of the sound – the “sh” and the “a” sound and so on.

I’m off comics now (because you can’t buy ’em for a dime anymore) but they did give me an edge in kindergarten (where you want every advantage you can get).

Carol Tilley, who teaches Library and Information Science at the University Of Illinois has done some research in this area; the research was picked up in Science Daily .

I wasn’t able to find the original study and Ms Tilley wasn’t particularly responsive to ScienceAintSoBad (which I don’t hold against her) but the gist seems to be that comics deserve to be taken more seriously as adult literature.

She reminds us that some advocates of comic books use the term “Graphic Novel”. And she says that comics are just as sophisticated as other forms of literature.

You’re gonna ask me where’s the science in all this, aren’t you? You’re gonna ask me why I’m even writing about it, right?

Cause I LIKE comic books.

ScienceAintSoBadRating (for MISTER ScienceAintSoBad’s article here) = 1

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