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Mar 10th 2017

Comics as a literary genre

World Comic Book Day had come and gone, which should concern you.

If you're an English major student, then there's a likely chance that comics was brought up as an option (for further study). Alan Moore became a renowned author in his native Great Britain until Hollywood took notice of his works. "Watchmen" was the only graphic novel to make it to the list of greatest novels compiled by Time, and this would be good enough to give comic books some serious consideration. You might have thought of penning an essay on any of Stan Lee's works for admission, but you were afraid that the admissions tutor won't take it seriously. (And you might not have been given an unconditional offer.) You bit your tongue when you were about to ask about the inclusion of comic books in the shortlist of options (for additional study). Your professors weren't behind the times as you have suspected all those months. It happened that a study of the so-called classics would make up the foundations of (the study of) English literature. Let's not veer off from the topic, though.

This could be a good time to suggest the reading (and study) of comic books. As a matter of fact, you won't balk at the probability of writing 3,000 words about Moore's "V for Vendetta". After all, there's much to discuss totalitarianism and British history. Let's focus on Marvel comics. Here are five good excuses (or reasons):

There's a need to accept a comic book for what it is. It's rather the snotty part of human nature, which rejects comic books. And many people don't take nerds seriously. Look again. Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios, seemed to have the Midas touch. There would be other factors, such as the right pick of actors (to play the superheroes and their villains), yet Stan Lee and the other Marvel writers must be doing something right. They could be reading the minds of comic fans correctly. Most fans would relate to the distinctive traits of superheroes (or the villains). Comic books would be far from fairy tales, which resonate with readers.

Illustrations play a huge part in the success of comic books. Visualization would help readers follow the story easily, if not get hooked to it. In the case of comic books, it will be something else. Readers can guess Superman's scars, if not Batman's hardened expression. These heroes can be the common folks struggling to make a living. Responsibility can be an overwhelming thing, but they won't be shirking from it. In fact, this can be a good topic for an essay paper. And don't be surprised if the world count can go as high as five thousand (words).

Why do more readers prefer comic books than Modern literature? It's not a case of either/or in the English Department, but the world beyond the four walls of the university doesn't work that way. They prefer easy reading, and anyone can understand the reasons behind it. They are curious to know more about these superheroes (after watching their celluloid counterparts). It's a modern-day version of the "Choose your Own Adventure" series, which was popular with older viewers. A mash-up version of classics has been released by lesser-known authors, which the likes of Jane Austen won't mind at all. Can you imagine one of Lizzie Bennet's sisters having a date with Bruce Wayne? Liz might get jealous of it.

English major students won't have trouble following the multiple stories. After all, some authors based it on their reading list. They can accommodate these titles during that seemingly hectic-free Reading Week.

Imagination has no limits in the comic world. It's the case with fiction, but there haven't been so many possibilities in a comic book. Fans simply can't get enough of their superheroes, so something will come up every issue or two. It may not work in Rudyard Kipling's jungle setting, even the London that Charles Dickens knew by heart. This might be the right time to come up with a good guess, and it won't be a mistake to ask a question about it. This can lead to the next issue.

Do you have something to add to the short list? Tell us.

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