When I was a child I used to read The Beano, the Broons and Oor Wullie, and moved on to Tiger and Roy of The Rovers (The Safest Hands in Soccer was my favourite story: initially it was beautifully drawn and it was about a goalkeeper who was Scottish so...bliss) but as I got older I left that all behind except for a brief sojourn as a student to read Maus. In 2005, the tv showing of the film of Ghost World prompted me to get the graphic novel from the library which was absorbing but didn't enchant me. Andy, who was a collector of Crisis as a younger man, remembered Watchmen so we read and enjoyed that but my interest had still not been excited.
As I have said before Buffy has ruined my life except what I actually meant was that Buffy has improved my life. And one of those improvements has been the encouragement to get further into the world of comics aka graphic novels aka sequential art. And it's all Amber Benson's fault and the fact that Ealing Libraries has a healthy collection of Buffy trade paperbacks. I slowly fell in love with Tara on BtVS and with Amber Benson: the more I know about her the more there is to admire.When I realised she had co-written a Buffy comic I had to get it. I liked it well enough but wasn't that impressed. I have subsequently come to believe that the more sequential art you read the more you appreciate it.
However, it was Amber Benson's afterword for WannaBlessedBe is the thing that did it for me:
"As someone unexposed to comics, I had no idea that there was such a plethora of genres out there. All I knew was the superhero. I think if I had been turned on to Promethea or Strangers in Paradise as a kid, my whole comic outlook would have been changed. Here are comics that deal with things that appeal to me as a female. As a kid, I could have so related."
These are the comics I have read so far:
Buffy: The Death of Buffy - various ("Lost and Found" by Fabian Nicieza is excellent)
Buffy: Willow and Tara - various (the Terry Moore illustrated WannaBlessedBe has the classic line "My heart doesn't stutter" but I thought Tara and Caitlin looked too much alike - in fact, my only criticism of Strangers in Paradise is the sameyness of some of the characters)
The Complete Ballad of Halo Jones - Alan Moore and Ian Gibson (it took a while for me to warm to this but by the time Halo got to Moab, I did not want it to end - the art work is dated which takes a bit of getting used to)
Ghost World – Daniel Clowes (I need to read this and to see the film again - "Ghost World" by Aimee Mann is one of my favourite songs)
Maus - Art Spiegelman (the subject matter is unforgettable but what I remember most distinctly is that Volume 1 just ended and it cost me a lot of money)
The Plot– Will Eisner (the story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion told superbly)
Preacher: Gone to Texas - Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (oh my word, this is unpleasantly gruesome and, well, graphic - intriguing story but the style is just too much)
Promethea Book One/Two/Three – Alan Moore and J. H. Williams III (this started off brilliantly and then got bogged down in philosophical and metaphysical musing and, quite frankly, by Book Three I was bored - fantastic art work though, it looks gorgeous)
Shadowplay: Demon Father John's Pinwheel Blues – Amber Benson and Ben Templesmith (this is graphic and gruesome but unlike the traditional look of Preacher it has an arty quality (you can tell I haven't done art appreciation) which I liked - the story itself is intriguing and tantalizingly brief)
Strangers in Paradise: Pocket Book 1 - Terry Moore (wonderful - worth a post of its own)
Strangers in Paradise: Love Me Tender – Terry Moore (I read this first and I just adored it - apparently I have been Katchoo'd but I do relate more to Francine)
Stuck Rubber Baby – Howard Cruse (I liked this but I couldn't love it - Toland was too dull)
Watchmen – Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (I need to read this again)