This is an especially fitting guest post as 'tis the season for Comic-Cons (and Cons in general). I was just at the Baltimore Comic-Con this past weekend, in fact...
(Note: neither of these are me!
However, the picture was taken by me)
I'm pleased to welcome Caitlin Kittredge - author of the following: Nocturne City series, Black London series, Icarus Project series (with Jackie Kessler), and Iron Codex YA series - to The Bibliophilic Book Blog today!
CK: Star, thanks for having me!
My Life in Comics
When Star asked me to come talk about comics, I jumped at the chance. I could talk about my love of comics, and talk...and talk. But in the interest of not writing a 50-page epic, I thought I'd go through a chronology of exactly how I became a fan of comics, and how they influenced me in my own writing.
So grab your capes. In the words of the Joker, here we go...
Age 14: X-Men
I was a hard core fan of the Star Wars franchise (this was in the days before Twilight and just barely in the days of Buffy, so a geek girl like me was more into starships than sparkly vampires) and had just had my heart ripped out by George Lucas and his prequels. I was adrift, looking for a new fandom, and I wandered into the theater to see the first X-Men movie a sad geek orphan. I came out and read everything I could get my hands on. A lot of the X-Men comics from the late 1990s were, to put it mildly, terrible, but they were my gateway into the Marvel universe, and the wide, wide world of comics beyond.
Age 16: The Dark Knight Returns
Batman, Batman, Batman. Caped crusader of my heart, pointy-eared apple of my eye. Batman and I go way back. But until I started reading comics, I was getting second-hand Batman. Inferior Batman. Even (gasp), Batman and Robin, which remains the loudest, longest exercise in Dada I've ever witnessed. Until I found Frank Miller's classic (and best, let's be honest) work, The Dark Knight Returns. Geriatric Batman in a world that's moved on. The specter of justice haunting a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Batman rarely got better than this, and it forever changed the way I looked at comics.
Age 19: Sandman
There's not much to say about Sandman—I loved it, I still do. It's powerful storytelling that transcends any medium. It made me want to write fantasy—dark, rich, evocative fantasy that resonated with the same kind of texture and depth as Gaiman's comics.
More importantly, it introduced me to John Constantine, and Hellblazer is still my favorite ongoing comic series of all time.
Age 24: Criminal
Criminal is actually written by a friend of mine, Ed Brubaker, but it was responsible for getting me back into reading comics on a weekly basis, like I did at 14. It's definitely not for young adults—the stories are brutal, raw and pitch-black noir. It's also skillfully written, almost so skillful it hurts, and the art is fantastic. The stories inspire me the way Sandman did, way back when I was a wee baby novelist. Comics like this are the good ones. Happy reading!
A quick coda: There are so many other comics I would tell you to read if you're just starting out: Books of Magic, Locke & Key, Scalped, Preacher, Watchmen, Phonogram, Lucifer, The Losers, Planetary, and The Walking Dead are just a few. Plus, many amazing novels have been adapted or spun off into amazing comics. If you're just starting out or have been reading for years, I'm happy to welcome you into the wonderful world of comics along with me.