Making comics meaningful

Published 10:59 pm Thursday, July 24, 2014

As a child, I didn’t read comics too much. I’m not into the whole superhero gig, and my young brain preferred more high-brow literature, such as the Little House on the Prairie series and, in my pre-teen years, The Babysitters Club and Fear Street series.

These days, I can probably name a few of the superheroes without googling them, and I know that Superman can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Beyond that, my superhero knowledge is stretched pretty thin, although I didn’t have to look up the Gotham reference I used in my story on Batman Day that ran in Thursday’s paper.

But even though I don’t care for comics, I still recognize them as a viable form of literature. I may have implied differently to Kristen Marshall, support services manager at the Morgan Memorial Library. Sometimes, you have to play devil’s advocate to get the best quotes.

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Batman Day was declared by DC Entertainment to celebrate the superhero’s 75th birthday. More than 60 children visited the Morgan Memorial Library on Wednesday and colored their own masks, created their own comic books and got goodie bags full of superhero stuff — posters, bookmarks, buttons, temporary tattoos and more. Comic books, which children got to choose, and other materials were donated by Local Heroes Comics in Norfolk.

Marshall told me comics are important for reluctant readers, particularly boys, because they can help the youngsters follow along with the story and have smaller bits of text rather than large, gray blocks of words. There’s also more action, so they might be less boring to kids who prefer a quickly developing storyline.

Marshall and the other employees at Morgan Memorial Library are clearly more well versed with comics than I am. They donned superhero shirts — some of which clearly weren’t new — to celebrate the occasion.

Library assistant Cory Bland, who belongs to a comic writer’s group, led the kids in creating their own comics, which got them interested in drawing and writing as well as reading. It was the art appreciation trifecta.

“It’s good for kids to get some time to be creative,” he said. “It’s a good outlet.”

Congratulations to the Morgan Memorial Library staff for taking a marketing ploy and running with it to create meaningful activities for kids.