What keeps me Interested in Comics?
I have always been deeply interested in folklore. I love hearing stories from different places and cultures and learning about why they matter to the people who tell them. When I read comics and talk about them with other people it feels a lot like studying folklore. These are characters and stories that matter to different people in different ways and learning about that makes me really happy.
Now, comics aren’t technically folklore. A piece of folklore is most often some sort of oral tradition that has changed and evolved over time through retelling. Folklore is often regional and specific to certain groups of people. In the modern era folklore can be things like creepy pasta that get spread around by users on various internet forums and social media sites. Comics don’t count as folklore because there are people actively guiding the way comic stories change and develop.
So, comics aren’t folklore, but they feel like it to me. When you talk to people about who their favorite superhero is, even if they like the same character, they can like different things about that character. An important part about studying folklore is talking to people about what kind of stories they were told and those stories meant to them. If you ask ten different people what their favorite Spider-Man story is you might get ten different answers.
Some comics have such long runs that people can pick and choose which stories matter to them. If you don’t like a story arc or how a character was portrayed by a certain writer you can choose to ignore it and focus on other things. Which is what makes comics feel like folklore to me. Sometimes I have more fun sifting through Meta about comics and reading what people write about the comics I read. It’s fun to see what stands out to people and what they liked, and didn’t, compared to what I liked.
That’s what I love about comics and what keeps me coming back. It’s always nice to read a great comic, but it’s even better to talk about that comic with someone. Reading comics can be an experience shared by lots of different people and by talking about them we can learn more about each other. We can maybe even make some new friends, which is always a plus.