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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Omar: Why I Want to Give Same Difference

This is my first time participating in World Book Night. As an avid proponent of comic books and graphic novels, Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference was an obvious choice for me. Graphic novels are largely still fighting to be considered as a valid story-telling medium. I truly believe in the importance of graphic novels, and how they can help people learn to love to read.
When I was a child, I didn’t care much for reading.  It wasn’t until a friend introduced me to the X-Men comic books that I realized reading could be fun. At that point, I started reading every X-Men comic I could get my hands on (which, at the time, wasn’t many). My mother worked right next to a library, so I ventured in one day and found some X-Men novels. By the end of the first book, I was hooked. Not just on X-Men, but on reading. It was like watching an entire movie, but in your head!
As I grew up, I read comics less and less. But my love of reading never changed. I spent most of my middle school and high school years reading. It wasn’t until after high school that I returned to comic books and rediscovered my love for the medium. There were some amazing characters fighting against all odds to save the people they cared about. But there were also non-superhero books. There were books like Sandman, a magical journey through the realms of dreams. And Y the Last Man, a book about the last male in a female-dominated world.  There were so many wonderful, awe-inspiring stories being told in the comic book/graphic novel medium.
Graphic novels are still fighting to earn the respect they deserve. Many people view graphic novels as less than traditional novels. Many refuse to accept them as a valid medium, claiming they’re just for kids (a false generalization). I’ve even heard people say that children who read comic books and graphic novels never learn how to use their imagination, and therefore never enjoy reading books. To all the naysayers, I say: try reading a few, truly outstanding graphic novels before you judge them. I came to love reading via comic books, and I doubt anyone who knows me would claim my imagination doesn’t work.
I would like to give out copies of Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference to show people that comic books and graphic novels are not just superheroes. Graphic novels are as varied as traditional novels; there’s something for everyone. All it takes is one great graphic novel and one person passionate about the medium to change the world’s minds. Same Difference could be that novel for many people. And I would like to be that person. Graphic novels deserve respect.

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