The first thing that pops in many people’s heads the minute you say comic books is “Archie and the Gang . True, the characters are simply lovable, but this comic hardly scratches the surface of what most comics are all about.
This genre is far deeper than it seems. Comics combine graphics and dialogue to convey a potent message. They try to explain raw human emotions through illustrations to bring attention to human flaws, like aggression in Batman; or they attempt to represent ideals, like courage in Superman.
This art form dates back to the 18th century and was available far and wide, from Japan to the US.
The geographic origin of these comic books influences their content and appearance. For example, the Japanese Manga, which has evolved ever since its creation in 1798, portrays characters with “Disney-like facial features where a character s eyes, mouth, eyebrows and nose are blown-up.
The American superhero, on the other hand, is more life-like in his portrayal, with the exaggeration of a few features, such as bulkiness.
But comics share a central theme: the picture is a projection of an idea rather than actual physical reality. And the idea is usually an evocative one. Despite what the name “comic book suggests, the content is usually not funny and deals with issues such as murder, lust, greed and the darker sides of humanity.
For a great pick of comics, go to the stand in Ismail Mohammed Street in Zamalek (a three minute walk from Peking Restaurant). This stand carries Mad, Batman, Superman and The Avengers.