“You haven’t read that?!”

The comics I read are recommendations from friends who are “in the know,” so I’ve actually never read one that I didn’t like. I have by no means read “a lot” of comics, but I’ve read a few and talked about more. I’m regularly surrounded by people who grew up living in their comic books and they are always more than happy to regal me with Deadpool’s latest mishap and the comic they can’t believe I haven’t read yet. Usually, it’s loaned to me that very day so as to alleviate the injustice of me not having read it.

I recently received two of the “Classics Illustrated Novels” that I ordered on Ebay: Hamlet and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I haven’t read them yet but they are already formulating questions for me:

  • How do these illustrated novels compare to comics?
  •  Do the illustrated classics create a window of opportunity for children to understand classics at an earlier age and, as a result, make the literature more accessible when the reader is older and confronted with these works in school?
  • There are classic novels still being turned into comic book format. Are these as valuable as the ones created in the 1950’s and 60’s?
  • Could illustrated classics be used in elementary classrooms, or perhaps middle and high school classes where the students have reading comprehension difficulties?

I’m not certain whether or not our research will lead down this path, but I know I will come away from this knowing much more about graphic literature than I ever thought I would.

-Darlene Watson

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About lostdmw

Mommy, writer, dreamer and teacher. Grew up on a farm in Southern Maryland and has a fondness for tractors, pick-up trucks, tractor pulls and playing in the dirt. I don't know what I want and will be the first to admit it...just check out my blogs and you'll see what I mean.
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2 Responses to “You haven’t read that?!”

  1. mapagliaro says:

    I think this is a good thesis to go with; it’s more specific and definitely more…answerable.

    “How do modern graphic novels (not series comic books or manga) such as the Classics Illustrated interact with readers in a way their prosodic counterparts cannot?”

    What do we think? It might not answer all the questions we have about graphic novels, but we’ve opened a huge can of worms here, and we need to pick one to put on the hook, so to speak.

    • eabookhultz says:

      Likin’ your posts so far, guys! I think this thesis makes sense, but I don’t necessarily think we have to slice comic books entirely out of the picture. I just did an entry on the literary quality of Spider-man, so I think we can use that, even if briefly, to prove that the art of graphic stories like comic books, from which the modern graphic novel emerged, has always been a valid one. Maybe that can sort of act as the springboard/underlying motivation behind our desire to get at the ways in which they interact with the reader. But again, I don’t necessarily think we have to answer only ONE question in our thesis. I think we should just generally try to prove their validity, especially considering the reputation they have/how little they are used in the academic realm (ie never). In that, we’ll definitely address their success at interacting with/being compelling to the audience in ways a traditional novel can’t.

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