Yes, NPR again proves that they programs are some of the best on radio today by conducting an interview with Neil Gaiman. Listen below....
It's nice to see National Public Radio acknowledging the fact that comic books aren't just some feeble and childish form of literature, but rather an artistic and exceptionally literary form of storytelling that is equally for adults as it is for children.
But even more interestingly is this notion, made by Neil Gaiman in the interview, that comic books, if you think of it in terms of the continuity that both DC and Marvel have tried to and successfully established, are the longest fictional narrative ever created by humanity.
And it's true. DC Comics has been around for 75 years and the stories have all connected together in one huge continuity based story for that long. Yes, comics split up into arcs and series, written by different authors, but they still all connect into one giant story. Even the different comic book titles connect with their fellow titles. You could almost make the argument that both DC and Marvel comics connect together as well with all the crossover stories that have occurred in the past, and recently. Even the more recent comic book companies like Dark Horse Comics (founded in 1982) and Image comics (founded in 1992) have comic books that are still going strong, and continuity is still just as important as it used to be.
The interview addresses how much comic books have been rejected by schools, media, etc. And Neil Gaiman, one of the best sci-fi authors of this and last century, makes the claim that comic books are just as legitimate as any other form of literature. In addition, Gaiman makes the claim that comic books help to enforce literacy. I remember growing up and granny always scolding me for my love of comics, and my mother always supporting my reading habits; making the argument that comics help to improve my vocabulary. And what better way TO improve your vocabulary right? Comics can use bigger and complicated words for young readers where they can develop their deductive reasoning skills and use the pictures to figure out what the "bigger" words mean.
But even more so, it's a literary and artistic medium that is unique despite its long life within American culture. To constantly deny this medium as an influential and wonderful literary art form is an exceptional ignorant and uninformed opinion to have. You don't have to like them, but America really does need to open up and accept the fact that comics aren't just "funny books" for children. In fact, you could say comics are the one true American bit of folklore that will withstand the test of time..