Blogger: Etta Wilson
Location: Books & Such office, Nashville
Weather: Rain, rain, rain
Recently I’ve been reading Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography by David Michaelis, and that led to looking at the history of comics. For those of us in the world of books, comics always have been low-brow, not to be taken seriously. Maybe we had a few favorites, but we kept them either hidden or apart from our “literary interests.”
I reviewed my collection of children’s literature books and found about a third of them didn’t even mention comics. In her classic Children and Books (ca 1964), May Hill Arbuthnot does give comics several pages which she starts as follows: “Comics appear to interest almost everyone—the rich, the poor, the city dweller, the country dweller, young, old, the educated, the uneducated.” Then she suggests ways to wean children from the daily comics to “pleasure reading of higher interest and quality.” There’s that bit of snobbery which I have been guilty of myself.
Comics have been around since at least 1890, and the widespread appeal of comic characters can’t be ignored. Superman, Batman and Robin, and Little Orphan Annie have all gone on to stage and screen success. And everybody knows Blondie, Nancy, Doonesbury, Garfield and Beetle Bailey.
Well, for this week at least, I’m going to read the daily comics. Most of all, I’d like to know what comics you’re reading and why. Do they have any influence on you as a writer or reader? See you in the funny papers!