Did you know, good readers, that while I am a rich absorber of culture, I am rather skint when it comes to the graphic novel medium? What’s more, before I worked at my beloved bookstore, I had no interest in trying. At that point I knew only the “major” superhero comics, and the thought of starting them in the middle of a decades long story seemed about as appealing as starting A Song of Ice and Fire (a.k.a Game of Thrones) at book 4.
Working at a bookstore changes your perspective, and as my beloved bookstore had both a fairly impressive graphic novel section and the equally impressive and knowledgeable staff to tend it, my interest was slowly caught. So it was… four? five? years ago that “Bruce” recommended Y: The Last Man to me as the series to… pop my graphic novel cherry, as it were.
Yes, it took many years of putting it on my lengthy book list for someone to gift me the first book (first four issues), and then another few months for me to pick out the second in my “paper” anniversary book haul, but thanks to JT being the best present giver ever, I received rest of the entire series for my birthday.
(Side note: JT, who seems to have a culture-absorption shield, braved the local comic book store with only a title and a dream to get me all the books. His revelatory wonder on learning that – and I’m paraphrasing here – comic book stores are the only first-world place where you have to talk to someone to find what you want and bartering is alive and well, was priceless.)
The further I got into the series, the more appreciation I amassed for those people in my life who are real comic connoisseurs. It’s not just about the words (hey, I can critique dialogue with the best of them); they can identify a colourist at a glance of a page. They know all the artists’ names and the heaviness of their lines. It’s incredible. Me? I’m not such an expert. I know almost nothing about drawing, but I feel like I could get more of an education reading this oft-maligned medium than taking a six credit “contemporary art” course. So perhaps that’s what I’ll do.
Since I finished Y: The Last Man after a reading binge a few weeks ago (it was heartbreaking to reach the end — like any other excellent experience, this was too short), I’m now on the hunt for my rebound graphic novel. I’m thinking something else off Empire’s “30 comic books you should have read” list.