Sunday, September 25, 2011
Green Arrow Wants You To Put Down This Comic and Read a Book!
So, funny thing about the 1950's. It seems that if you were reading comic books, no matter what your age or reading level, no matter what the reading level or sophistication of the comic book, you were somehow illiterate. At best you were sub-literate. You were probably also a juvenile delinquent. Comic strips in the newspaper, for reasons that have never made clear, were fine.
So, in order to keep parents groups, the Comics Code Authority and Congress off their backs, DC Comics ran a series of Public Service Announcements about literacy. Once again, people who were apparently able to read the comics these were published in were somehow a group that needed to be sold on the benefits of reading.
To be fair, the above PSA does suggest that if you like certain types of comics, certain genres of fiction might be right up your alley.
So, if for example, you thrill to the fast-paced, superhero-esque, often ludicrously anachronistic adventures of Tomahawk, you may also enjoy the ponderously long, painfully slow, woefully over-written Last of the Mohicans by inexplicably popular butcher of literature, James Fennimore Cooper.
If you like the Chivalrous (but largely fantasy-oriented and suspiciously Prince Valiant-like) exploits of the Shining Knight, you may very well enjoy reading... wait, that's not even a specific book like La Mort D'Artur or Ivanhoe or something. Just the "Story of King Arthur and his Knights" by no-one in particular. If I had gone to my school librarian with that I'd have been met with all kinds of scorn and gotten a lecture on the card catalog.
And frankly, Green Arrow can't be bothered to recommend anything specific either:
Sure. "The Adventures of Robin Hood". Do you mean the Errol Flynn movie or the TV Show with Richard Greene? Did the guys who put together this PSA read books? Or were they just able to remember who wrote Last of the Mohicans between cigarettes and slugs of scotch while thinking about how much better comics sold if they had purple covers with gorillas on them??
Where was I? Oh, right. Look, in today's world it takes like 10 seconds to find a list of likely books by typing something vague about King Arthur or Robin Hood into a search engine. In the 1950's, using only the Dewey Decimal system, these poor kids never stood a chance.
Thanks, Green Arrow!!