My Discovery of Comic Books
How did I know Brett was the perfect man for me? I don’t believe anyone has ever asked me that question, and that’s probably because I was the last person to realize that he was the perfect man for me. In my defense, he did tell me that all we would ever be was friends. (Don’t worry; I wasn’t hurt. At the time I agreed with him.) There are many answers to the question about how I finally knew, and I discover new answers all the time.
One reason is that Brett inspires me to try new things. Before, I was determined not to do anything I didn’t enjoy. Other men I dated made “trying something new” feel like a burden. With Brett, I was willing to go to basketball games, rock concerts, and karaoke night with friends (although I didn’t sing—I have to draw the line somewhere). He wasn’t pushy and never expected me to do something unless I really wanted to. I found that his respect for my boundaries made me more willing to expand them.
Brett is passionate about reading, and especially reading comic books. Before our children came along and our finances became tight, he looked forward to picking up new comic books every Wednesday. Being a literature snob, I didn’t think that comic books counted as “real” books at first. But because of Brett’s passion, I decided to give comics a try. I wanted to find something that really interested me, though, and not just something that Brett liked.
I started with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Brett is a DC man so I thought Marvel would be an uncharted territory. It was interesting, but I didn’t like the overall tone.
Then I crossed over to DC and read Wonder Woman: Odyssey. I loved it. However, it was a special story arc and not part of the regular Wonder Woman series. When I tried to read stories that were part of the series, I didn’t enjoy them as much.
I enjoyed comics enough to not give up, even though I still hadn’t found a hero with whom I could connect. So I decided to give Supergirl a try. I was born in a decade when Superman was arguably the ultimate superhero. Every child knew him, whether they read comic books or not. But Superman was too popular. I don’t like to admit that I like anything popular. I had a feeling I would like Superman’s less-popular cousin.
Kara Zor-El was the perfect fit for me. DC’s The New 52 gave us a reimagined Supergirl who arrives on Earth not knowing how to communicate and quickly learning that her intended purpose has lapsed. She is the misfit of all misfits, trying to figure out her place on a new world with new powers. I have read many other comic books since discovering Supergirl, but she is my definite favorite. I enjoy discovering new (and old) iterations of the character.
Since deciding to give comic books a try, I have repented of my literary snobbishness. I look forward to Free Comic Book Day every May and I’m excited to get comics for my birthday or Christmas. Most importantly, I understand that comics can have just as much literary value as works in other genres. If we can see the worth of cultural mythologies, then why not comic books?
But that is a topic of its own, worthy of attentive research and its own post.
Originally Published December 2017