Comic Lessons

I’ve always been a nerdy person , but not in the sense that I always got straight A’s ( good joke). Nope, I was just nerdy in the sense I loved science, books , and read comics for hours a day; so really I guess I was always a dork. Comic books were a huge part of my childhood and I don’t think i’ll ever understand how much they influenced me. For hours a day I could sprawl out on my carpet and read pages of Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, Shermans Lagoon, Archie and Friends, Charlie Brown, and The Far Side just to name a few.

The big man himself.

If you have never been a comic nerd yourself here are a few reasons you might want to start, or give a book to your kids!

Why You Should Be Reading Comics

  1. They give you a sense of humor, we need more of that.
  2. Cultivate your imagination and story-telling skills.
  3. Teach you moral life lessons .
  4. Teach you how to deal with loss and grieving.
  5. They are fun! Period.

Need a daily dose of fun? Check out this WordPress that posts daily funnies, I know I will be.

Even if you never read comics as a child, you probably aren’t even aware how many times you bump into Comic strips everyday! Almost every newspaper has a funnies section these days, and political cartoons are a fun and easy way for people to make a statement.

Now i’ll admit even I am a bit biased in my comic book selection. I never read the superhero comics or hardcore graphic novels; maybe those were just a tad bit to serious for me? But I loved the ones based on animals or families; just the light hearted fun comics. It’s amazing how an author can take the life of one big orange cat and make it into one of the longest running comics ever; Garfield you fat cat!

Here are some of my favorites, along with a few life lessons they taught me.

“For Better Or Worse” by Lynn Johnston

This comic is particularly special for several reasons. To begin it ran for over 30 years, so the strip was around well before I began reading comics. The plot is based on the lives of a fictional family ; The Pattersons. This family represents an average suburban lifestyle, dealing with the trials and tribulations of life and raising kids. So what made it so amazing? Wait for it....the characters aged in real time. 

Unlike other comic books where the characters live on infinitely in time, these character went through having children, having the kids grow up and have kids of their own! As a reader you were able to form personal connections with the characters and journey along with them. I learned a lot about ‘ life lessons’ from this strip such as the loss of a dog or friend. The comic was simply real life; it took what we all can relate to and made it into a beautifully touching piece of art. It dealt with divorce, new children, first love, and heart-ache in the most personal way; no one could read this comic and not connect.

Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman

This strip got me through most of puberty! It follows Jeremy Duncan, a 16 year old highschooler. The strip is set in rural ohio and similar to the comic above simply follows Jeremy navigating the complicated life of highschool. He gets his first girlfriend, deals with academics, and balances being the only child in his family. The comic is heavy with sarcasm and surrealism making it extremely hilarious and of course relatable to everyone!

The comic book was awesome to read as a teenager as it validated all the crazy hormone-driven behavior we eperience. It was okay for your parents to annoy you! It was okay to have unrealistic expectations of the future! It was okay to simply be a clueless teenager. I also loved how it played the female vrs male stereotypes in high school, the example below correctly illustrates my frustrations of how little my brother did in the mornings before school.

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

 

This has got to be one of my favorites. Calvin is a 6 year old with one overactive imagination and his best friend, Hobbes, happens to be an anthropomorphic stuffed tiger. In the comic you get to go back to when life was simple, when you just had to worry about going to elementary school and summer seemed endlessly long! When you could have amazing adventures in the safety of your backyard. In the strip Hobbes comes alive in calvins imagination and they go on adventures discovering what life is all about.

His parents see Hobbes as simply a stuffed tiger, giving rise to the age old notion that as we grow older we lose a sense of innocence and imagination. Some of the strips are extremely insightful  as calvin rants on topics such as the environment, public education, and philosophical questions. This is not your typical 6 year old, we could all learn a lot from him.

So get out there and get your childhood on because comics aren’t just for kids anymore.

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