Comics: They’re Not Just For Nerds, You Know

Bit of a write-up in the Telegraph about how comics joined the literary establishment.

If you think you’re not the sort of person who reads comics, you will a) be heartily sick by now of words like “graphic novel” and “Watchmen” and b) be feeling, perhaps, a bit left out. Publishing houses such as Jonathan Cape and Faber & Faber run flourishing lists of graphic fiction, and the comics shelves in Borders and Waterstone’s continue to grow. Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis outstripped Harry Potter to become the best-selling novel in Foyle’s bookshop last year. Independent creators devise and publish their own work for free to devoted fans on the internet. And there are agencies in Hollywood that specialise in pitching graphic novels to the film studios.

But comics continue to divide opinion. I have several friends who will read anything as long as it’s a comic, and several who will read anything as long as it isn’t. I started in adolescence, puzzling my way through imported copies of MAD magazine before moving to 2000AD, the seminal British science fiction comic in which luminaries of the form such as Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison cut their teeth. But I know plenty who began as adults with George Herriman’s Krazy Kat strips, beloved of Picasso and E E Cummings, or who picked up Watchmen on special and found something, well, special.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.