Comic books get no respect but they should

Nov. 18, 2009 at 1:27 AM
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Critics should stop tugging on Superman's cape -- comic books can be just as sophisticated as other forms of literature, a U.S. researcher says.

Carol L. Tilley, a professor of library and information science at the University of Illinois at Champaign says children benefit from reading comics at least as much as they do from reading other types of books.

"A lot of the criticism of comics and comic books come from people who think that kids are just looking at the pictures and not putting them together with the words," Tilley said in a statement. "Some kids, yes. But you could easily make some of the same criticisms of picture books -- that kids are just looking at pictures, and not at the words."

Although picture books have long been considered appropriate children's literature, many adults -- even teachers and librarians who willingly add comics to their collections -- are too quick to dismiss the suitability of comics as texts for young readers, Tilley said.

"Any book can be good and any book can be bad, to some extent," Tilley said. "If you really consider how the pictures and words work together in consonance to tell a story, you can make the case that comics are just as complex as any other kind of literature."

The findings are published in School Library Monthly.

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