There’s nothing cool or sexy about reading comics. I mean it, and I should know, I’ve been reading them all my life, since I could only understand the pictures and wonder what the hell the words meant (but when the comic books you’re reading are your dad’s stolen Fat Freddy’s Cat, not being able to read detracts nothing). Up until very recently, my comic book habit was only just tolerated by most of my friends, I’d try to get them into it, giving them graphic novels and saying “Oh, I bought too many copies of Violent Cases, you might like it…” they didn’t). Time moves on, and now at least a few of them see the value of the medium, and I’m lucky to say that some of my friends are even fellow zealots.
But when I was the only little english girl in the playground who wanted to play X-Men, running around pretending to be Phoenix with my telekinetic powers, or the Hulk (I really enjoyed growling “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”, and then roaring a whole bunch – who wouldn’t?), everyone else wanted to play Charlie’s Angels (and what were their superpowers? Long hair?) When people saw me reading Superman, or Love & Rockets, they balked. It quickly became pretty clear that comics weren’t socially acceptable. Even on my annual visits to America to visit my New York dwelling family, I only occasionally glimpsed a world of comic-influenced play, and that place was clearly reserved for the boys. I could ask to play with their Batman toys, coveting those batmobiles that actually shot little missiles (to this day I still fantasize about inheriting my dad’s), but owning my own superhero toys was a step too far into overt weirdo territory.
Nowadays, despite the growing popularity of comic books and the superhero medium, I haven’t really changed. Continue Reading »