COLUMN: Graphic Novels: More than just super heroes

The genre has been growing in popularity over the last few years among adults, teens and children.

I never read many comic books growing up.

Aside from a brief phase of reading Garfield, I mostly thought comics were about super heroes and super hero stuff was for boys.

My husband, on the other hand, was a huge comic book fan.

When he was young, his Dad would bring him home a comic book almost every week.

He quickly amassed a huge comic collection (which still lives in our basement today.)

Ever since we met, he has been trying to get me to read a graphic novel. Not so long ago we were perusing my husband’s favourite section at the library, when he came across a graphic novel he just knew I would love.

He handed me “Paul Moves Out” by Michel Rabagliati and I finally agreed to read a graphic novel.

I loved it!

As it turns out, it was a series, so I read the other five Paul books the library had.

The stories are simple. Each novel is a little vignette from the main character Paul’s life: Paul gets a job, Paul goes to summer camp, Paul goes fishing etc.

In addition, the books only take an hour or two to finish, which is about all the time I have between taking care of two kids and working.

Thank goodness my husband persevered. I read all kinds of graphic novels now.

I just read “The Arab of the Future” by Riad Sattouf, a biography about Riad’s life growing up in France, Syria and Libya in the 1970s and 80s. Very different from my perceived notions of what a graphic novel was! I’m not the only one starting to read graphic novels.

The genre has been growing in popularity over the last few years among adults, teens and children.

The genre has also been creating a stir with the number of graphic novels that have been challenged and/or banned from public libraries last year.

“Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi, “Essex County” by Jeff Lemire, “Love and Rockets” by Gilbert Hernandez and “This One Summer” by Mariko Tamaki and Jill Tamaki were all on the list of challenged graphic novels.

They will also be available in our library as part of Freedom to Read week from Feb. 26 to March 4.

Every year we proudly celebrate Freedom to Read week at the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

Crystal Fletcher is an Assistant Community Librarian and avid graphic novel reader at the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

 

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