I grew up in the Bronze Age of Comic Books. An early love for Casper, Richie Rich, and Archie comics read late night with a flashlight in my sleeping bag in the loft of the Boyce’s Northwoods cabin led to a fervor for Spider-Man then MAD Magazine in my tween years. But my love for graphic reading ended when the ‘70s did. And although I’ve tried desperately (with a cute kitty-themed series no doubt), the whole manga thing still eludes me. I’ve not been ready to throw in the towel though. Billions of people worldwide are moved by visual stories, why not me? So, when I saw Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, I decided to kill two birds with one stone: the graphic novel and fantasy. (Yup, a neophyte in that genre too.)
My friends advised me that I should try something a little less complex, a little less otherworldly. But I persisted. And I’m glad I did. Okay, in full transparency, I picked up the real Game of Thrones book at the same time as the graphic novel and read it concurrently for the first few chapters. This helped me wrap my head around the characters and basic plot quickly. But, ultimately, I ditched the magnificent behemoth and focused entirely on the graphic book. And you know what? I LOVED IT. I found myself wanting to slip under the covers earlier and earlier each night to discover what was next for the beautiful Daenerys or poor Bran.
I’m not ready to give up books with words yet. Or nonfiction. But I did learn something important. For years, I discounted graphic novels (and fantasy, for that matter) as “not for me” reading. My bullheadedness prevented me from even considering the genres as a viable option. But I pushed myself—refusing to let what I thought (in my head) outweigh what I could experience for real (in the world.)
I’m not kidding, picture-haters, give this book a try. It’s phenomenal! Next up for me? The “dreaded” American Western. Hello, Louis L’Amour.