ReadHarder 2017: It’s Getting Graphic

I really loved fall as a kid and I wonder why  I notice now its decent sooner than I ever remembering noticing as a kid.  Back then, fall did not start until after school started.  As an adult, I notice the creep as August closes up into the Labor Day weekend.  It already takes too long to get light in the morning before September even gets here.

As we are now full into September, I would like to announce that next week’s post will kick off my series of Halloween reads that I did last year at this time.  I don’t know if I will do seasonal books for the whole way through, as I enjoy Halloween books much more than I do Christmas books, but I was not going to do a Reading Challenge, either, and well, here we are.

Speaking of Read Harder, today’s post is three out of  one of my least favorite genres.  I suppose I like these reading challenges because I loved higher education and I was always being challenged to read harder things about new topics or classics.  When these challenges venture into territory that college didn’t get me into, I find I am dragging my feet.

Yes, this post ended up being about comics/graphic novels.  I don’t care for them, I like the pictures in my head more than I like scraps of dialogue in squares of illustrations.  I am aware that they capture the hearts of reluctant readers, which is awesome and they have their place, but I have never been a reluctant reader.  I have never been particularly into superheroes (and oddly I find my four year old son has never been, either, even though he likes to demonstrate feats of strength to his father). When I was looking for comics for this, I did find some middle grade/young adult ones that ended up on my Amazon WishList but they did not fit the criteria here.

And to add to the torture I read a graphic novel as my Banned Book:

the complete persepolis.jpg

The Complete Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

Due to my love of notable classics I really had read most of the books that are traditionally considered banned, not the least of which being Huck Finn and Beloved, and I almost cheated out this one to read Call of the Wild by Jack London, but I felt The Complete Persepolis, the story of an Iranian girl coming of age and finding her way through the Iranian Revolution and a country at war, would add to my worldview more than a white dude and a dog.  I have two white dudes and a dog in my house, although the dog was not exactly tamed from the wild.  She is a black lab pound rescue whose hips get sore when she has not been sleeping on the bed. Her hair stands up on her butt when she’s not sure that it’s me coming down the driveway and all.  She’s more “call of the dog biscuit box that my owners shake when I need to come inside and I am not appearing.”

I read Reading Lolita in Tehran last year too toward understanding the lives of women in Nonwestern communities, especially Iran during the Revolution because of how clearly they were trapped between the two worlds of Western and Nonwestern.  Marjane  in The Complete Persepolis has a similar issue, raised even to speak her mind in her home and then sent as a teenager to live in Austria because her parents did not feel they could keep her safe in Iran, especially since they had raised her to have her own mind.  But she was even more subversive: drug use, casual/premarital sex, trying to find herself somewhere in the middle between east and west.  It is not like she went West and found herself and never looked back; the West had extreme challenges for her as well.  There never is one answer when you are raised in between two worlds, two ways of being and thinking.  It is hard enough being a teenager and coming of age, it is even harder when the world around you can’t get itself together to provide some semblance of stability.  I was not riveted, but it added to my thinking about that time and place in history, not just her personal history, but how the war played out for many in her country. I can see where it would be banned.  It makes a difficult and unflattering history palatable, relateable.

An All Ages Comic:

angry birds.jpg

Angry Birds Transformers #2 of 4, John Barber and Marcelo Ferreira

I bought this in hopes of appealing to my son who pretends he can’t read and then I catch him reading at unguarded moments.  He is not even five and this has started.  Reading signs, board games, etc.  This was completely overwhelming to him when he saw it.

This one I should have read the other mini stories that go in the group as well as this episode.  Birds and Piggies are getting used to machine bodies when before all they had were heads and the body ones are telling the head ones they are useless now, which they really aren’t, and then somehow the bird eggs become mechanized too and they are taking over just as the comic closes out.  It was not that I wanted to know how the eggs terrorize the birds and pigs but I needed a little more context to fully get everything that was happening.  And I am a sad specimen of an 80’s child due to not knowing/caring a whole lot about actual transformers.  It was not the best fit but I won’t judge the genre on this snippet.  Maybe my son will read these in a year or so and tell me all about them and I will become a resident expert.

A Superhero Comic with a Female Lead


Storm Vol 1: Make it Rain (Storm 2014-2015), Greg Pak, Victor Ibanez, Matteo Buffagni

This one had a hope of appealing to me more than Angry Birds Transformers. I like the X-Men and I always like stories about women, especially benevolent women like Storm is, figuring out how to use her power to its greatest advantage in the world.

It was pretty good.  That’s the best endorsement I imagine I will give to a superhero comic.  I might love the kids ones more, actually.  She is appealing to women, I am sure, even though her boobs and tight abs are all over this book.  I went from blocky black and white veiled women in The Complete Persepolis to like full frontal cleavage as she’s helping a coastal town clean up from a tsunami and trying to find some homeless kids that she thinks might need to be rescued.  I mean maybe women like the boob shots too and the bright white mohawk that is always mid flight.  Then Wolverine dies or she thinks he is dead, and then tries to save her other friend who does not want to be saved.  She’s likeable.  It’s not really all about butt kicking and defeating evil.  I wouldn’t mind if she did some of her outreach to the poor in a t-shirt.  Like, I doubt that it is sound advice to expose your abs to the sun in the desert of Africa.  Even when I am doing those “Bad Ass” obstacle races and triathlons guess what I always cover: my belly.    Maybe this is why I am not a modern comic book heroine.

Not my favorite but at least contribute to understanding and encourage reluctant readers.  I can be a reluctant reader when it comes to the Iranian Revolution, so, me too.

What would you have read for this requirement?




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