Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Haven't You Outgrown Those Yet?

The above was an insulting reply by a friend to a comment I made once about upcoming evening plans. It was years ago, and I had a long weekend coming (I took a Monday or Friday off, I forget which, just because I could). I'd been asked what i was going to do, and it included buying a stack of comic books.

"Haven't you outgrown those yet?"

Nope. And I have no plan to. I like a good story regardless of how it's told. Oh, I don't buy anywhere as many as I used to, but I still get the bug every now and again, so I buy a bunch.

And I'm a super-hero buff. Can't help it. It occured to me once that for some reason I'm drawn to stories that involve characters with a certain code of ethics or honor. I frequently read Arthurian novels (currently working on "Clothar the Frank" by Jack Whyte, who has written my personal favourite Arthurian series) and for a while I was on a big Samurai kick. Superheroes have that quality about them, so I dig 'em.

The reason one gets a response like the above is that the perception of reading comics includes Archie or Daffy Duck. There actually are comics (or "graphic literature" for those who don't like the term) written for people over the age of eight.

Came across one yesterday.

A lousy cover gives it a "for kids" feel, unfortunately. Inside, the character in black has found that donating millions to the situation in Darfur is having no effect and perhaps even making things worse. He decides to get directly involved by eliminating members of a militia named Janjaweed. Being that he's American, the U.S. government is being blamed for it, so the other character is sent to stop him.

The specifics are fictional, but the backdrop is factual, as writer Marc Guggenheim explains on the last page of the book. He's very much of the belief that this issue is being discussed far too little considering the levels it has reached (the death toll is estimated at 400,000 and displacement at 2.5 million). As a result, he has donated his writing fees from this particular project (a four-issue series) to and provided a number of links to sites where people can educate themselves on the matter.

And of course that's aside from the exposure given to readers who may have heard little about it until now. I admit that I'd heard of it, but little in the way of specifics.

So thank you for the lesson, Mr Guggenheim and I'd encourage people to at least sign the petition at the bottom of this site.

No comments: