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National Comic Book Day has arrived again, at a time when nearly everybody could use a little escapism. The authors below may not seem to have much in common in terms of lived experience, or the subjects they choose to write about, but at one point each of them was a kid with a freshly purchased comic in their hands.
Whether your crisis du jour is political, professional, or deeply personal, it never hurts to have another world to disappear into, stashed somewhere right within arm’s reach. May the following quotes serve as stepping stones back to that cozy place where inspiration and catharsis come in surprising packages, and where people from all walks of life are invited to feast from the same table.
Marjane Satrapi, The Complete Persepolis, 2000
“The regime had understood that one person leaving her house while asking herself:
Are my trousers long enough?
Is my veil in place?
Can my make-up be seen?
Are they going to whip me?
No longer asks herself:
Where is my freedom of thought?
Where is my freedom of speech?
My life, is it liveable?
What’s going on in the political prisons?”
Alan Moore, V for Vendetta, 1989
“Knowledge, like air, is vital to life. Like air, no one should be denied it.”
Lynda Barry, What It Is, 2008
“I believe there is something in these old stories that does what singing does to words. They have transformational capabilities, in the way melody can transform mood. They can’t transform your actual situation, but they can transform your experience of it. We don’t create a fantasy world to escape reality, we create it to be able to stay. I believe we have always done this, used images to stand and understand what otherwise would be intolerable.”
Roxane Gay, SyfyWire interview, 2016
“It is absolutely not insulting for preexisting characters to evolve into women or POC. That’s just silly. These are people who are willing to enjoy the most fantastical premises in comics but are somehow unable to wrap their minds around different kinds of people participating in those premises? Come on. That kind of thinking is narrow and lazy.”
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, 2006
“I suppose that a lifetime spent hiding one’s erotic truth could have a cumulative renunciatory effect. Sexual shame is in itself a kind of death.”
Guillermo Del Toro, The Fall, 2010
“Power revealed is power sacrificed. The truly powerful exert their influence in ways unseen, unfelt. Some would say that a thing visible is a thing vulnerable.”
Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese, 2006
“The only other asian in my class was Suzy Nakamura.
When the class finally figured out that we weren’t related, rumors began to circulate that suzy and I were arranged to be married on her thirteenth birthday.
We avoided each other as much as possible.”
Mike Carey, The Unwritten, 2009
“You read any Greek myths, puppy? The one about the gorgon Medusa, particularly? I used to wonder what could be so terrible that you couldn’t survive even looking at it.
Until I got a little older and I figured out the obvious answer.
Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Dream Country, 1991
“Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot.”