By Craig Smith
Think of a comic book, and what comes to mind? Most likely it’s a simple tale of good vs. evil, told through the classic stories of Spider-Man, Superman, or X-Men.
These days, however, comics are about more than just good vs.evil. They are complex, can have political undertones, and are about real issues. They are respected pieces of literature and art and may be more popular than you think.
“There is more to comics – there is a quality that has come to comics, a respectability,” says Mark Dufresne of That’s Enterainment, a collectibles store in Fitchburg. “Comics like V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and The Dark Knight aren’t just crap for kids.”
It is hard to refute the respectability and significance of comics – or graphic novels, as they are often called – when they are studied in college literature classes.
It is also hard to deny their entertainment value when they are being turned into blockbuster movies such as “Watchmen,” “The Dark Knight,” and “Sin City.” Dufresne says these movies have brought in customers who want to get their hands on the comics that inspired them. “The medium itself is cinematic,” Dufresne says about the form of comics.
Movies will be part of the mix when Boston Comic Con, an annual convention celebrating the love of comics, is held April 10 and 11 at the Westin Boston Waterfront. Thousands typically gather at the event, which features appearances by artists, illustrators, performers and vendors.
Some fans are just discovering comics, but Dufresne has been a fan for life. “I’ve been reading comics since I was 5 years old,” Dufresne says, explaining his own introduction to the illustrated stories. “My grandma would buy a mix of comics and it helped me read more and get into books.”
With more people getting into comics, too, how does Dufresne know they’ve reached mainstream acceptance? That’s easy, he says – “I see people read comics and they don’t look ashamed.”