Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Unlike Trix: Comic Books... Are Not Just For Kids
Contrary to popular belief: Comic Books are not just for kids. That is exactly what Debbie Benrubi and Kathy Woo, who work in USF's library, were trying to prove when they decided to highlight the University of San Francisco’s extensive graphic novel collection during the month of February. In the foyer of Gleeson Library on main campus, there is a fabulous exhibit including both rare collectors item comics as well as over one hundred comics that students can check out. A Gleeson desk worker explained to our DJ class that this colorful exhibit is said to be one of the libraries most popular one in a long time.
In my knowledge of comic books, (which doesn’t necessarily matter) I imagine the classics like Superman, Batman, and other superhero type stories. With detailed colorful pictures and few words: comic books seem on the surface to be geared toward a younger and often male audience. However, in recent years, more serious topics, which include for example the Iraq War, have been translated into graphic novel stories.
Political, social, religious, economical, racial. These are just of few of the very serious and much more mature issues that comic books address today. Some comics even addressed romance, which seems a stretch if you are trying to reach adolescent boys. As Roger Sabin described in his book, "Adult Comics: An Introduction", british writer Peter Bagge’s comic "Hate" (1990), which was about a mans “quest for beer and true love.” As a result, these books grab a much larger audience and have the ability to spread messages and influence people. This can happen much quicker and also easier by using humor, wit, and bit of lightheartedness, then say a 300-page textbook about Palestine, Jewish religion, or perhaps even weapons of mass destruction.
USF is smack dab in the middle of one the nations most liberal, outspoken, and accepting cities (San Francisco that is!). This graphic novel exhibit has the ability to open the eyes of college students, and anyone else who strolls through USF’s library during February, who otherwise might have never picked up a comic book in their life. Because like me they are under the false assumption that Comic Books are For Kids. If this exhibit (or blog entry) has caught your eye and sparked an interest in comic books, you might want to check out San Francisco’s very own cartoon art museum. The museum is located at 655 Mission Street, and is proud to be the only museum in the United States dedicated to graphic novel and comic exhibition.