I can’t read comic books. Somehow, the left-to-right reading doesn’t settle well in my brain. Dialogue is painful. I recall reading about another bookish person whose brain couldn’t process the genre, either. When I read most comic books, I instantly get a headache. There must be a name for this phenomenon.

The comics I recall being able to finish in my life were Spider-man issues, a few X-Men and Batman issues, and a specific Batman issue I had when I was little that I owned the life out of. Everything else? I can’t stand. Why is this?

I was raised on comics, not manga. And yet I always fare better with right-to-left reading in graphic novels. (Sunday comics and humorous internet comics are different.) Even if a manga has been flipped around to Western reading at an attempt to not confuse people just doesn’t sit right with me. The overall way manga is displayed seems so much better to me. The novels are more interesting as they begin, the artist breaks away from the square—er—squares of pictures. I especially love it when the artist puts two pictures on one page and divides them with a diagonal line. To me, the break in symmetry makes the novel more interactive.

Marvel comics do well to keep my interest. They don’t always stick to the cut-and dry squares. They’re great at drawing action scenes. They know how lame it is to begin a graphic novels with a villain’s monologue to a couple henchmen or a parable from a minor character who just happens to be prophetic. That’s my experience, anyway. But because of manga’s right-to-left reading, I’ll always be so much more comfortable with it, be it Japanese, Korean, or even American. If all graphic novels suddenly switched things up and did everything this way, my brain would be completely on board.

I won’t try so hard to like most Western comics that aren’t Spider-man, X-Men, or Batman. It just wouldn’t end well. Manga all the way, baby!

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