Comic Books–Don’t Knock ’em

My younger son, now the father of two daughters,  just booked his room for this year’s Comic-Con. He goes every year for the pure love of it, always has, but, these days, he also counts it as a business expense. Animation is his game and he has managed to build an impressive filmography. Google Ethan Hurd. 

I wish his fourth grade teacher could see him now. 

At a parent-teacher conference, she criticized me for letting my son waste so much time reading comic books. Feeling defensive, I remember saying “at least he’s reading something.”  No good. She insisted that he didn’t “read” them, he “looked” at them, and if he was going to succeed in life, he needed to be doing better things with his time.

Back at the house, I asked him to read one of his comic books to me. Teacher was right. He wasn’t reading the words, but he was excited to share how the images worked to create a story. The more he talked the more I realized that he understood the graphics in ways I’d never noticed. In fact, I was blown away and immediately doubled his comic book allowance. Although I did suggest that, maybe, he shouldn’t take them to school.

He’s still teaching me about how images can create wordless stories. He just forwarded this video as a prime example. It’s wonderful!!!! Enjoy.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.


Filed under Family Stories, Funny story, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Comic Books–Don’t Knock ’em

  1. Wonderful! Clearly Ethan has a wonderful, imaginative mind that resisted sinking into mediocrity and conformation in school. I congratulate him–when you look at most of what’s happening in Hollywood, it’s easy to see that is no small thing. When I lived in California, I used to go to the animation festival every year in La Jolly–always fun and stimulated colorful dreams. However it’s expressed, we need more minds like Ethan’s.

  2. Graphic novels are also my son’s favorite reading material. I’ve have to try getting him to read one to me but I always figured that he was better off reading them than watching TV. He reads them before going to sleep and that’s fine with me. On another note, CU-Boulder has a course this summer on reading comics. So while it’s not my reading material of choice, I absolutely believe comics have value.

  3. Your post is great confirmation not to take things at face value – at multiple levels. You tested the teacher’s assumption and found a whole new insight — albeit different than you expected — into how your son was interacting with the images in a much deeper way than you imagined. This is a lovely, reaffirming story of the talent each individual brings to bear on what they interact with. And did you know that in Belgium they have a “comic book walk” of sorts — illustrations from comics painted onto the sides of buildings. It’s fascinating to see and something Ethan would likely enjoy!

  4. Wonderful artists and imaginative writers have created comics, but a COURSE? Really? A course on reading comics?!?!?!

    Back in the day, there was a running joke that the University of Miami had a course in underwater basketweaving. But THAT, I believe, was a joke. When I think about a course in reading comics, I don’t know whether to laugh or just shake my head.

  5. Check out graphic novels by Shaun Tan. They’re as good as anything I’ve read and worthy of serious discussion.

Leave a Reply to Mandy Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s