Comic book heroes inspire literacy, creativity

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In 1954, Dr. Frederic Wertham published the book “Seduction of the Innocent.” It was a warning to all parents and an encouragement for the government to become heavily involved in monitoring the content of comic books.

His arguments were that they were producing a generation of homosexuals, suicidal suggestions, false gods and general derelict behaviors. Since, and many times over, studies have shown that this is not the case. Comics, rock music, horror movies and video games are much more apt to produce artists and writers, skilled musicians with a bridged understanding of language, producers and thespians and workers in the emerging tech fields respectively.

So, why am I bringing all of this up? I am going to tell you the effect of comic books on me and my family in hopes that it may encourage a brilliant fire within yourself or your own child.

I’ve read comics from an early age and they have always urged me to draw and write. They are almost single-handedly responsible for me leading a life of doing exactly the things I enjoy and earning a living doing so. I must add that additionally, the influence of a teacher named Pam Lancaster (Bailey, at the time) was pivotal in this. She always encouraged students to do the things that we were good at and be victorious at whatever we did. I cannot stress enough the importance of a role model like her.

As a parent, I found myself with a stepson who had no interest in reading whatsoever. I turned to the local comic book shop to ignite the flame. Thank you Arkham Comix. After all, when faced with a daunting task, I’d be silly to not recruit the help of folks such as Ironman, Spider-Man and Thor, right?

Two years later, he is chewing through a novel a week. As part of his homeschooling, he’s come to enjoy classics such as “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Lord of the Flies.” He’s even given my own novels a try with humbling approval.

In the end, I wrote this all to say that if you have a child who struggles with reading, don’t be scared to turn to these figures that have taught kids about the struggles within society for decades. Let them go out and find Captain America, Vision and Professor X.

Meanwhile, you can become the greatest hero of all by becoming a little bit more like Pam Lancaster. Go to your local comic book shop and read. Excelsior!

Steven Davis