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Comic Confessional: A Newbie's Journey to Graphic Storytelling

By Crystal Harrell

Ever since I was a young girl, I have been captivated by the written word. I gawked at the colorful wonders of fairytales, devoured the hearty pages of chapter books, and even invented stories of my own when I had not yet learned how to read. One literary medium I failed to acquaint myself with, however, was that of comic books. It wasn't because I dismissed them as an art form, but at the time they never managed to capture my imagination in quite the same way that childhood treasures like Roald Dahl and E.B. White did. 

Prior to 2015 and my involvement with Palm Springs Comic-Con, I held the ignorant notion that all comic books focused on was primarily the tried and true superhero storylines, and while this may be the most popular subject matter, it turned out my assumption was far from the truth. Comic books and graphic novels delve into a corner of visual media that caters to a realm of infinite possibility. Whether you're looking for a continuation of a TV series long since passed, a refreshing take on the typical character archetypes, or are just gearing to dip your toes into a genre you know absolutely nothing about yet are eager to test out, you will find something appealing. 

I had been unaware of the geek culture brewing in the quiet desert--not knowing that the kindred passion of a community would soon bring a comic convention on our home turf. It was at last year's Free Comic Book Day at Desert Oasis Comics that I, a then-20-year-old pseudo-fangirl, read my first comic book ever. It was Avenging Spider-Man #15, which featured a gnarly picture of the web-slinger standing atop a very angry, crimson tyrannosaurus rex. The fact that a comic book was able to combine my favorite superhero with my favorite Cretaceous critters was not only awesome in of itself, but it was also at that moment I realized the boundless potential of the comic book world.

It's a dreamscape where anything goes, adding an abundance of free range to any universe that would have otherwise been limited in a televised or novelized form. And it was this kind of awesome ingenuity that I was depriving myself of for years. I immediately sought out new reading material in the form of Doctor Who and X-Files comic book serializations, and even got introduced to a few spine-chillingly poignant graphic novels courtesy of my boyfriend (if you want something beautifully morbid, try Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, and if you want to feel utterly sick to your stomach and question everything you know in life, I recommend the Uzumaki manga series by Junji Ito). 

The point of this little confessional, dear PSCC blog readers, is to encourage you to set forth and pick up something you normally wouldn't this Free Comic Book Day. Whether you're a casual reader or a die-hard comic fanatic, there is always some wonder to be found in the most unlikely of pages.

Hope to see you tomorrow at Desert Oasis Comics!