Pow! Ka-Blamo! Celebrate National Comic Book Day With These Classics
September 23rd, 2016 by
September 25th is National Comic Book Day. A day set aside (by whoever makes up holidays) to celebrate the genius that is comic books!
Now, before I get any further, I have something to confess—and you cannot judge me for it. I am not immersed deeply into the world of comic books. I have accompanied my siblings to many a comic book shop, and even been to a convention, but I am by no means an expert.
However, I want to tell you about the comics that I hold close to my comical heart.
According to Wikipedia, Archie came alive on pages starting in 1946. In a world recovering from World War II, Archie was used to be an example of the perfect American teen, albeit with hilarious hijinks. I really can’t tell you when I first read Archie, but I remember they were always next to the checkout at the grocery store. I would run through all the lanes to find the right one with the Archies, paying no mind to the other people trying to pay for their groceries. I had my favorites and read them with my mom in a time when we couldn’t agree on TV but we could agree on Archies. Jughead, Moose, Betty, Veronica, and even Reggie became part of my family through those many comics. I think there is still a tower of them hiding somewhere in my parent’s house.
Art Spiegelman’s comic book about the Holocaust’s impact on his family is a haunting visual way to present the horrors of war and discrimination. This was the first comic book that I read that, to me, had a purpose beyond telling a story. For a story relying so heavily on images, it is hard to describe how much impact Maus had on me without words. Spiegelman also drew In the Shadow of No Towers, which draws on his personal reactions to 9/11. This second book creates a much more visceral reaction from someone like me that, for the most part, grew up in the aftermath of 9/11.
My sister definitely got the visual creative genes in my family. She can draw, paint, sew, and construct beautiful things. I, on the other hand, can draw a mean stick figure. In high school, during the heights of both of our angst years, we bonded over her drawing us into the world of X-Men. We argued about powers and how we would fit into the canon of X-Men. Finding a place with my sister into their world of misfits made a couple of band nerds in high school feel a bit better.
I don’t think any comic book list would really be complete without mentioning Superman. He’s a bird, a plane, a man of steel! I read and watched Superman with my neighbor growing up. I can’t see the classic Superman without thinking about fighting over who got the top bunk at a sleepover. Superman also taught me that good deeds don’t need good recognition. If Superman can save the world without people knowing who he is, I can help a stranger with a door and be ok without a thank you. #payitforward
Now, that might not have been a list of comic books that you would have thought go together, but to me, they are all intertwined. Everyone has a specific story about a comic, a movie, a restaurant, even a car dealership that you might not expect. Images and stories can greatly impact lives, which is a reason to celebrate National Comic Book Day, National Movie Day (Jan. 16), National Ad Day (Jan. 7), or even National Commercial Day (August 3).