Comics as Literature
Judging comics as simplistic based on their format—heavy on pictures, light on words—would be a mistake, according to Rogers. Some are incredibly literary, both in theme and dialogue.
Bechdel’s Fun Home is about a lesbian and her relationship with her father, a closeted homosexual. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, another autobiographical work Rogers has researched, is about an Iranian woman’s experience growing up during the Islamic Revolution.
“You can have just a simple story where people are beating each other up, or you can deal with really complex issues,” Rogers said.
Sophisticated story lines aren’t limited to alternative comics. Rogers used the example of the Marvel event “Secret Invasion”—an alien invasion that occurred across the Marvel Universe. “These aliens are shape shifters, and they’re infiltrating the superheroes,” she said. “I think that really speaks to Americans’ fear of terrorism.”
While adult themes may catch some readers off guard, comics have never been for children, Rogers said. She cites the ties of Iron Man’s conception to the Vietnam War and Captain America and Wonder Woman’s to World War II.
“These are not kids’ stories. These are adults putting people in costumes and relating them to the real world. I think people need to understand that.”