I have been a reader for as long as I can remember and until her death 5 years ago, it was something I shared with my mom.
My Dad . . . not so much.
He has a combination of slight Dyslexia and the attention span of a gnat. (I am not saying this out of turn, yesterday he got distracted while telling me a long story because one of the chickens walked by and I still don’t know how the story ended.)
I never gave it much thought, the venn diagram of my book life and life life just didn’t connect over much of my family. And thats OK.
These days I spend a lot of time with my dad. He lives with me and my husband. (It is not as bad as you would think and most of the time it is like having any other roommate.)
Dad has told stories about reading comics as a kid, mostly they ending with his mother getting mad and throwing them in the garbage. It didn’t really sink in until comics and graphic novels started to appeal to me. I am selfish like that.
The first comic I every bought was the first volume in The Sandman series. I bought it as part of a reading challenge I was going last summer and since I am a Gaiman fangirl, I figured that was a good starting point.
One afternoon I came home from work and found him sitting at the kitchen table. He looks up at me from The Sandman and says ‘This is good.’ and goes back to the story.
When I finished it, we talked about how is was crazy and weird and how Neil Gaiman is pretty much the greatest.
A few weeks later the delightful graphic novel Seconds came in from the library. One Saturday morning, instead of laundry, I devoured this story. Not long after I finished, Dad came for lunch, I slid the book across the table and told him to check this one out.
I disappeared outside and did some farm chores for a couple of hours. When I wandered back to the house, he looked up at me just long enough to say ‘God damn, you!’ and then go back to the story. For those of you not fluent in cranky-old-man, that means he likes it.
Since then we have caught up with Saga, were throughly disappointed in the fact the library only had the first volume of Locke & Key, have cheered for Ms Marvel, and giggled our way through volume 1 of Lumberjanes.
We have been creeped out by My Friend Dahmer, pondered the deeper meanings in The Sculptor and had a talk about living wills after reading Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, which in our situation was a pretty important talk.
My Dad and I have always had a pretty good relationship, but with the help of these stories our relationship is gone much deeper than the regular old father-daughter relationship.
And that is worth the cost of a pile of comics.