12/17/15

Huck . . .

I've mentioned here, a handful of times, that my daughter is very, very into graphic novels, comic books, and - lately - illustrations and sketching her own comic (more strips than books or novellas). I have never really understood comics.

My roommates in my "DC days" read comics. There was a comic shop on M Street in Georgetown and they had "pull lists" (a service comic stores offer where they will set a copy of new issues of your favorite titles aside for you to pick up once a month or so) and we'd walk out there once a month and get all the latest volumes of titles like "The Preacher" and  "Deadpool" (soon to be a major motion picture) and so on. They loved that the art was starting a comeback (hard to believe in our age of comic book hero mega picture franchises that - not that long ago - the comic book was thought to be truly dying out). Anywho - that was their thing . . . not mine.

I always prefered books that either used every adjective the author new to set a mental image for me or the ones where I got to decide what characters looked like (all the women had heaving, round bosoms - for the record) and how things looked.

But I figured that if my kid was this obsessed, I should give it a shot. So - I did what I always do . . . started researching and obsessing and spending so much more time and energy than needed for something that would cost me $4 - $5 to get started. I looked at dozens of series old and new. I decided I wanted to get in on the ground floor of something . . . no reboots, no issue 74 of series nine of version three of a book (that's what those in the know call them - just "books"). I wanted it to be about an adult and for adults (not actual sex (although the "Sex Criminals" series is beautiful and well regarded - but subject matter that was a little more old, calm, and boring).

I settled on to a title called "Huck". It was either that or the equally praised "Paper Girls" (also from Image Comics - which is a publisher that appeals to me because it is not (entirely) the comic book hero world of spandex and bad assery - but that violates the rule that it be about an adult . . . the lead characters are, um, paper girls). I think I made the right choice.

I don't entirely know what is going on but there is this guy (we presume him to be a male mortal but I'm dubious it is so simple) named, um, Huck who lives in a small town and does good deeds for people out of a sense of duty, compulsion, and - from what we are told in book (I'm an insider now) pleasure. He was an orphan. He lives alone. He works at a gas station. He seems mysterious. He is, at his request, a secret unknown to the rest of the world - until the end of book one when the press shows up because he did a particularly good deed that got him some attention.

It took me fifteen minutes to read and cost me $4. I was delighted by this. I poured over the illustrations and coloring (beautiful) and tried to see clues and hints to future plot points in the images (there were three "Easter eggs" I THINK I found - time will tell) and I found myself "understanding" why so many love these things so much. The kid and I went to the Wichita Comic Con a month ago and she and a few thousand (or so it felt by the crowd size) seemed to be in actual heaven.

Issue two came out yesterday. I'll pick it up this weekend - with the rest of the pull list we set up ("Huck", two series of "My Little Pony" and "Jem" (the last three for my daughter - to be clear) and I might even pick up another book of my own . . .