Funnies for Grown-Ups
Today, Kate reports on two local spots to get your comic fill:
“Reading the comics has always been one of my pleasures. Comic strips and comic books were my introduction to newspapers and to independent reading, as my father quickly discovered that a stack of comic books - he still had some Walt Disney classics left over from his own childhood - could keep me happily occupied on weekend mornings and allow him several extra hours of sleep.
I cut my teeth on Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny, hung with Peanuts and Garfield, fell in lifelong love with Tintin the Boy Reporter, and eventually settled on the political humor of Bloom County and Doonesbury. From those two strips - both brilliant, both multilayered, both Pulitzer Prize-winning - I learned about the Vietnam War, about nuclear disarmament and the environmental movement, about the twin poles of American cynicism and idealism, and about the complexity, subtlety, and brilliance that can be poured into four small boxes of black-and-white drawings.
The past decade has seen a burst of creativity in comic books - or graphic novels, as some are now called - designed for grown-ups, books with sophisticated stories to tell about history, politics, identity, and love. Boston is fortunate to have a number of excellent stores specializing in comic books, and two are particularly worth noting. Hub Comics (19 Bow Street, Somerville), a newcomer to Somerville's Union Square, features a small but carefully chosen selection of books ranging from classic DC and Marvel collections to contemporary stories about girl power and interracial relationships. Million Year Picnic (99 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge), a venerable Harvard Square institution, offers a densely packed basement shop with everything the comic aficionado could want, with a deeply knowledgeable and quirky staff to boot. Check out some of the new generation of comic books and remember the pleasure of reading pictures as well as words.”