Adopting a Character or Series Any Time
By: Josh O'Shea, Young Adult Librarian
I’m a fan of superpeople who have a gothic, noir glory to them, like Batman, Wolverine, Batwoman, and Constantine.
I started loving graphic novel characters in my late teens. I didn’t interact with comics when I was growing up. The first superperson I attached to, and the only superperson to whom I was attached, was Spiderman. I’d watch him on Fox Kids at three thirty every weekday afternoon. Often, half the screen would be covered in cloudy fuzz created by poor connectivity through the giant antenna in my family home’s attic. Spiderman’s sarcasm and introspection were attractive to me, and they are a fairly regular characterization of my current personality.
I didn’t own a comic book of Spiderman until I was in high school. I didn’t move into the other Marvel character worlds, or DC or Vertigo or Dark Horse, until undergrad. I always felt a little on the outside of being cool enough to be a devoted fan, and I felt I was too late to become an “authority” or even “true fan” of those characters. It was strange, but I didn’t get an idea of what comics were about until I was older and finally realized they were for anyone at any time.
I’ve always loved history and philosophy, even as a kid. Side note: from a young age, I imagined myself as an old man. So, so weird. Anyhow, it wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I realized it didn’t matter when I started liking comics; I didn’t miss out on being an “authentic” fan, and I wasn’t riding the bandwagon of fans who had loved comics, who collected whole series and kept them in cellophane jackets, and therefore revealing myself as a “poser”. You can adopt a character or series in the middle of its own life. It’s a funny feeling to know you can just jump into a genre, read all the books of an author, or make yourself an amateur expert on a superperson’s life story. By the way, “amateur” suggests the person does or knows what they do because they love the subject and aren’t paid for it, rather than meaning someone who’s not very good or knowledgeable about the subject. That love can develop any time, any place.
So poke around the graphic novel/comic/manga selection we have at the library. There’s always something surprising to discover. And it might not be the mega-stars from DC or Marvel; it might be Avatar Korra, The Darkness, or Midnighter. It might be the series Saga or The Wicked + The Divine. If you don’t grow away from it, you’ll grow into it. And it’s the growing that counts.