I remember the first comic book I read. It was a Looney Toons comic from the comic shop where my brother would hang out and play Magic: The Gathering. I picked it up, my parents bought it, and by the time we got home from the comic shop ten minutes later, I’d finished it. I still remember my parents asking “Wait? You’re done? We’re not buying you any more comic books, you read them too fast.”
I don’t think I touched another piece of illustrated literature outside the newspaper funnies until I was in high school (though I did have a few Calvin and Hobbes and Far Side collections). In middle school I had a lot of friends that loved Manga and while it did take me longer to read them, the style never stuck with me. No matter how much I tried to force myself to enjoy it, I didn’t.
Then I watched a movie called Watchmen. My friend and I were at my mom’s house and it was on demand for free. We all thought it looked interesting so we put it on and it was amazing. I bought the graphic novel about a year later and something amazing happened: It took me a few days to read. This was rare for any book, let alone a Graphic Novel. It was at this point that I realized I’d been missing out on a literary genre that was actually good. I could read something visually appealing with a great story line and it would take me a few days. I’d been reading crappy YA chick lit for years, and Graphic Novels had been on the other side of a shelf I hadn’t thought to explore.
I missed out on a huge area of literature because I was told that I would read the books too fast. That was wrong, and if I do come across a graphic novel that I devour in a few hours, I can usually go back and read it to find new things I didn’t see the first time. The great thing about visual art is that you can go back and look at the images longer to see something new. I also came to a similar realization with Akira recently which gives this article a moral:
Don’t write off a genre based off of one experience, try again and explore it. You may find out it’s deeper than you think.