The usual path for most people to take through the vast Literature of our civilization is fairy tales -> comic books -> Shakespeare -> Salman Rushdie -> “How to reach Heaven in 5 easy steps”
Each stage leads to higher consciousness and a better understanding of the Universe. Apparently. I don’t know. Because I never went past the second stage.
I love comic books. When I was little, “Tinkle” was my favoritestest book. I kept buying them like crazy. At first, my parents thought it was cute, and encouraged my “Reading Habit”. But when I was reading Tinkle in 10th Standard, they started to get a little worried.
Dad: “So you’re still reading Tinkle eh?”
Me : “Yeah. Tantri the Mantri is my favorite”
Dad: “Here. Try reading this “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea“. You might like it”
Me: “What’s it about?”
Dad: “It’s about an adventure of a Hero in Unknown Worlds”
Me: “Like Shikari Shumbhu?”
When I got to college, I was saving up pocket money to buy “Archie & Friends“. My Mom was getting pretty irritated with my sub-standard reading habits. She threatened to throw away all my previous Tinkle and Archie collections into the garbage.
Mom : “If I get rid of all your comics, at least you might try reading something different”
Me: “After I start making money, I’ll buy them all over again. Along with the entire Calvin & Hobbes collection. You can’t stop me, no one can! Muhahahhhaaha
But comic books taught me the value of money. While in College, I started doing student assistantships, entering programming contests designing websites for random people and all kinds of shady schemes to save enough money to buy those overpriced comic books. At every opportunity I would go to the bookstores and sneakily read the comic books. I longed for the day when I could finally buy them. It a was very difficult time, but at least my life had purpose.
When my Wife, then my Girlfriend, and I were getting to know each other, it was a very awkward time.
Wife: “My favorite book is the “Bridges of Madison County“. It is so moving, so brilliantly deep and emotionally honest. It makes me cry everytime.”
Me: “My favorite is ‘Asterix and the Roman Agent‘. The best part is when Obelix hits the Roman legionaries. Hahahaha. It makes me laugh everytime.”
She kinda freaked out when she found out that I had a cupboard full of comic books. But I pointed out to her that she had a cupboard full of clothes and if you really think about it, comic books and clothes are not really THAT different.