Recently (quite some time ago) the good people over at Comics Grid asked me to review Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK at the British Library. I went along recently. Only to see what the layout is like. I want to plan ahead for next time. There’s a lot to take in all at once.
As a result I’ve started thinking about my memories of comics. Fungus the Bogeyman. I associate Fungus with secrecy. Stealing it from my brother’s bedroom. Reading it with a torch underneath my blanket. Curling my lip at the dripping, musty, filthy protagonist. Then feeling dreadfully, terribly sorry for him.
Raymond Briggs, Asterix, The Far Side, Tintin, Carl Giles, Alan Moore, Craig Thompson, Oink. Calvin and Hobbes. All of these names and more have shaped my life to some degree. They are attached to my memories. They provide succinct and clear paths to remembering parts of my life. I’ll never forget the afternoon I finished Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth on the tube and burst into tears.
With such vivid connections between my childhood memories and comics it is clear to me that they have taught me something. I believe the resourcefulness and adaptability of comics has an inherent part to play in our educational system.
We are taught from an early age that books with pictures are for children. Children’s books to all intents and purposes are comic books. Pictures and words. If we produce and use these tools to educate our young then why can’t that continue? These tools are designed to engage and develop memory. Why can’t that continue? Why can’t books have artwork in them? Why can’t an artist be creatively inspired by content and want to collaborate? Why can’t we make it easier for people to learn?
Stigma plays its part in this. So I wanted to do an experiment.
I want to hear from you what memories you associate with comics. I want you to talk about how those images and words have imprinted onto your memory. It doesn’t have to be a childhoood memory. My most recent one is reading Wild Children by Ales Kot after an interesting couple of days. As I read it I felt almost part of the comic itself.
Leave a comment below or tweet your memory to me at @dustandlove. When I’ve collected enough I’ll be writing about how comics can help our children to learn on their terms. Who wouldn’t want to be taught long division by Batman? I think I’d remember how to do it if he had done.
I’ve had a great response from Twitter so far and I’ll post examples as they come in. Thanks for reading. I’m looking forward to reading your memories.