I’ve written here before that reading comic books hurts my brain. It turns out I was reading them at the wrong time of day!
I believed I tried everything: reading during my usual Special Novel Time in the morning, dedicating a lazy Sunday afternoon, becoming a hermit in my bedroom for an evening… Everything. Almost everything.
The best and worst parts about comic books is how loud they are. If you attempt to read an action-packed comic like a novel, it may not do anything for you. They just don’t read like their cousins comic strips, manga, general graphic novels, and even magazines. Comic books are long unlike comic strips, gritty unlike most manga, presented with a myriad of color unlike many other graphic novels, and more involved than magazines. When you open a comic book, it shouts at you until you sit down and let it invade your brain space. This is very much like television.
If you love watching TV before bed like I do, I suggest you switch to comic books. Studies show it’s not good for your sleep cycle to be in front of a screen right before heading to bed. To kick this bad habit for a better one, find a comic book with an art style that resonates with you. Lie in bed and open the book right in front of your face. Now cling to the action and let the dialogue and/or narration guide you; let the television show unfold before your eyes. The best part is you can stop whenever you want and pick it up without having to load a show. Rewinding to refresh your memory takes less time. Even the longer comic books are divided into episodes!
Have you read any of these?
Protip: If your library doesn’t have a specific comic book section, look for it in Non-fiction 741.5 in adult, juvenile, and teens.
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!