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Do you read comics? Bande dessineé? Quadrinhos? Fumetti? Banda desenhada?

I did…. until I was 10 or 12 I was a massive consumer of comic books from Disney and from Turma da Mônica (a Brazilian comic book series, which I believe is still popular over there). Then, as I grew up, I replaced comics by more serious, grown-up stuff… In my mind comics were for kids. Only acceptable for kids.

…until I met my husband, Giacomo. Giacomo is a MASSIVE comic book fan. Reads literally hundreds of comics every year, knows all the artists, knows all the bookshops (Forbidden Planet and Gosh are his favourite places in London, I think), has a GIANT comic book library. And he also reads ‘normal’ novels, and watches dozens of films, and I (obviously) think he’s very intelligent… This puzzled me. Certainly there must have been something I was missing out about comics.

So Giacomo re-introduced me to the fantastic world of comics (or graphic novels, if you prefer to call them this way). I am far from being an avid comic book reader, I still don’t know 0.001% of the main characters, and I still cannot get super-heroes (sorry, Giacomo, I’m not sure I’ll ever get super-heroes. Well, maybe if they had more female super-heroes?? I used to like  wonder woman when I was a kid…), BUT I can now see the art, the beauty of comics. More, I can see that a good comic book can really be up there with a good novel as far as story-telling is concerned.

I’ve now read a handful of comics that I’ve loved and that have gone straight to my list of all time favourite books. One of these books is Laika by Nick Abadzis.As you can guess from the title and the cover of the book, it tells the story of the little dog the Soviets sent to space in the 1950s.

It’s a beautiful book. It made me smile and it made me cry (and very few books have ever made me cry). I read it one go. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. It is no surprise that it won an Eisner award, i.e. the equivalent to the Oscar for comic books. It is really that good.
So, if you are like me and want to give a second chance to comics, please go and get this. You won’t regret it.