I read a LOT when I was a kid. After my dad died (just before I turned 8, so not much older than Modest) people started giving me books. I guess they wanted to keep me busy. I’d read anything I could get my hands on. Novels like Where the Red Fern Grows and and Huck Finn where what people gave me, but I was more interested in collections of short sci-fi stories that my aunt read, and sometimes left for me. I remember finding the Hobbit at around age 10 and just being transformed by it. I had never read anything like it, and from that point I was totally obsessed with fantasy and sci-fi fiction. I was reading a few books a month, mostly borrowed from my school library. But I didn’t read comics.
For some reason I was under the impression that comics were for little children. Like, 5 and 6 year olds. I know my mom didn’t think much of comics. I had a friend who sometimes brought Captain America comics to school, and I was always curious about them, but I was convinced I was too old. One time I was home sick from school and a friend of my mom’s brought me a stack of Goofy comics to read. I didn’t even look at them. I did really like Calvin & Hobbes and The Farside. But those were acceptable. They were in the newspaper, and adult read them too. I was a very serious kid.
My first comic was a Don Rosa Donald Duck adventure called “The Crocodile Collector”. I asked my Mom to buy it for me at the grocery store because I was into the Ducktales cartoon. I remember she wasn’t very enthusiastic about buying it, but it was only 75 cents. I was immediately obsessed. It was like nothing else I had ever read before. I loved drawing and telling stories, and I loved reading, and this was all of that put together. I immediately decided I wanted to make comics. Both right at that moment, and also as a career when I grew up. My mom was not excited about this. My mom is a painter and sculptor, and for years she tried to convince me to pursue more traditional art.
Over that summer I bought ever duck comic I could get my hands on. Mostly Carl Barks and Don Rosa stories. I started drawing my own duck comics too. Later that year my stepfather took me to a flea market and bought me a $5 box full of old Marvel comics. Some Hulk, some Thor, some Fantastic Four, but mostly Marvel Double Feature, a reprint collection of Jack Kirby Captain America stories. I was hooked. Just like with the duck comics, this was just something I had never, ever seen before. I started drawing my own superhero comics soon after that.
In hindsight, it was weird that at age 9 and 10 I thought I was too old for comics. Especially since that was a time when comic’s readership was starting to skew older, towards teens and adults. When my niece Marah was little I would give her comics to read. She especially liked Azumanga Daioh and One Piece. Over the years we’ve seen that fictional Jake leaves comics all over the house, and Modest has grown up with them. She learned to read by trying to read manga, and she knows all about Batman, Sailor Moon and the X-Men. But she probably hasn’t tried to read any actual books.
Ahhh yes, the disappointment of the book having no pictures, haha.
I hope Modest’s hair won’t try to eat it, though.
That’s some nice background info on your growing up without comics at first and then suddenly getting hooked on them. I always read comics and normal books and to me as a kid normal books were always long, ongoing stories while comics were always short stories that ended after ten minutes.
I think I only discovered short stories as something interesting to me (I knew about them from school but those stories weren’t to my liking) when I read Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and wanted to see what else the author had written. And long ongoing comics I only really discovered as webcomics. Both of those when I was already an adult.
Aside from the visual storytelling, I think what initially hooked me on comics were the quick, fun adventures. That was mostly the Disney duck comics. When I discovered the Marvel superhero comics I was really amazed by this long standing interconnected world that had existed since before I was born, and was continually developing every month. The rich, deep history and mysteries that were hinted at in each issue. I my very early introduction to Marvel was reading very old Jack Kirby Captain America stories, but also going to the gas station and buying a modern Captain America comic and realizing that even though there were decades between them, they were still clearly connected, and still part of the same world. That was really fascinating to me. As a kid I was less into any one character and more into the world they lived in. I constantly wanted to see learn more of their history, and see more these events that were only hinted at in captions.
I imagine that’s part of why Modest Medusa is such a good comic. You paid attention to world building, and from those lessons you built a nice fantasy world that has the familiar tropes, but is also uniquely yours. It’s not weighed down or overdone. You didn’t skimp on character building, either.
Yeld is yummy and easy on the digestion. Complements to the chef. 😋
Don Rosa’s Duck comics were a huge favorite (alongside Spider-Man) for much of my childhood and adolescence. I mean, I never grew out of them or anything, but Rosa did eventually retire and so I lost interest in new Duck comics altogether.
Anyway! As for Modest, if she learned to read through manga, I can’t help thinking about light novels, since they seem like kind of an intermediary step. (Or just, you know, traditional picture books. I haven’t actually read any light novels, so I don’t know if they can be assumed to be appropriate for Modest’s reading proficiency level.)
I got to meet Rosa and Barks a few times. They lived in my area. I even got my copy of Crocodile Collector signed!
Oooh… That’s cool.
I really hope I’ll have the opportunity to meet Rosa at some point, if he attends some event in northern Europe (post-pandemic) that I can realistically make it to.
My Swedish copy of Life and Times is old and seriously battle damaged, but I’m waiting for the “complete” deluxe edition to be released and would probably like to have both signed…
I didn’t know Rosa was still alive!
Maybe herstory has pictures?
*To Zanarkand intensifies*
Obviously reading is a new concept for Modest, but for reference, in which age group of school is she?
2nd grade, I think.
I recall when I was a kid I didn’t read much of comics (other than the newspaper variety) because they seemed too much for cool people. I was into more nerdy stuff.
Ignorance in such hilarious Bliss. Lol 😂