The Comics

I’m an avid reader of both the daily comics and the Sunday comics in the Washington Post. I have my playful favorites, like “Peanuts,” and serious ones I always skip—“Mark Trail,” “Spiderman,” and “Judge Parker.” Over the years, two characteristics of the comics have stood out for me, the plebian use of the English language and a naïve view of the world.

The language used by comics characters is blunt, direct, and frugal. I often recommend it as a model for fiction writers who want to keep their text simple and straightforward. It is also very up-to-date. I regularly come across slang usages in the comics that are new to me. Only later do I hear them in common speech and occasionally read them in the press.

The perception of the world we live in reflected in the comics is essentially the same as I see in most of the people I know. I find it innocent and even childlike. Such a way of seeing life is only possible to those who have never witnessed violent death as occurs, for example, in combat. Those like me who have survived multiple conflicts on the battlefield have lost their innocence and accept a much darker perception of reality. And our memories of those horrific moments never fade.

So I turn every day to the comics for a few minutes of light-hearted innocence. They never fail me.

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