I’d like to try and use this blog more regularly. Not super regularly or anything crazy like that, but at least enough so that you people daring to visit start understand what I’m about.
I am a geeky girl. It seems it’s popular right now to be a geek about things, and I think this fad has reached its peak because I saw someone referring to themselves as a beer and wine geek. (Sort of made me feel old because I could remember the time when people were only geeks about things that were actually geeky.)
Anyway, the point is that as a geek, I like to take things apart and see how they work and this includes things I see and read. How is that different from a review? Okay, I don’t exactly know, but I like to try and keep things separate and clean mentally like I’m actually doing a clinical study. This means I don’t usually compare what I’m reading to other things I’ve read. I look at a sample on its own as I’m reading it and I ask myself what works for me and what doesn’t work.
So one of the things you should know about me is that I read comic books. I’ve been reading them since I was twelve and found Uncanny X-men issue #226 in a bag in our garage with some older kid comics.
The first thing I remember doing was staring at that cover. It told a story before I’d even opened the book. This is a cover that haunts me. I haven’t seen it in a while and I still remember it in great detail. It’s shocking and surprising, bright but dark. I think I remember even taking in the forms because I knew that they were important. I had no idea who these people were, but already I wanted to know more.
I was a young girl in middle school though and I was rather sure that I wasn’t supposed to be reading stuff like this. People already gave me grief for reading at all as much as I did. (Every single break and always at lunch and during any breaks in class. It was a given that I’d have a book or two that I was working on in my back pack.)
But that cover really begged me to open it. It was a really really good cover because it did its job fantastically well. I opened it. How could I not? I was so curious I had to know more. And so I opened it to that first page, took in the full page picture of the man writhing on the ground, and started to read.
What pulled me in? Conflict from the very first lines. At the time I was much too young to appreciate this fact, but looking back on it, I can see that this is more than just a general conflict– this is a personal conflict. This man had something I’d have considered a pretty awesome gift when I was a kid. But I’d never thought about the consequences of having powers.
I was hooked, and so I brought the book inside the house to read it in the semi-privacy of my room like it was a porno or something. (Seriously, reading comic books was a shame I carried to graduation and part of college.)
But what absolutely hooked me was the chaos. This book was the only book I had in my possession and there were things going on that I couldn’t exactly explain. There’s a rip in the sky for the entire story, and dinosaurs and barbarians are pouring out into a mall. Meanwhile in another story thread a couple is trapped alone on a bare alternate world and have to decide whether they want to come back.
I know a lot of people do not like chaos, and I don’t exactly blame them. People don’t generally like being tossed into a situation with no preparation or explanation. But I love things like this, and this was an important revelation for me. I liked this a lot. This was my first clue into what sort of stories I would later enjoy telling.
But how did they make this work? With personal details. In the story, I learned about Ororo and Forge’s failed love and that Rogue (good guy) was raised by Mystique (bad guy). I latched onto personal details and used them to learn names, to examine relationships, to link all these new characters. These details made me start to care about who these characters were and what had happened to them to get them to this point. I wanted more. Unfortunately this was a book from ’88 and I was reading it four years later, so my only option was to read everything else I could get my hands on and hope I could figure out what happened. But that’s just another sign that obviously this book worked for me.
So is it just me? Does a bit of chaos work for anyone else?