Ian Rankin's view on the importance of comic books is worth taking seriously – Scotsman comment

When people look back at their early life, comics may well have played a significant part in what it was to be a child.

Ian Rankin said comic books were like a 'gateway drug to novels' (Picture: Neil Hanna)
Ian Rankin said comic books were like a 'gateway drug to novels' (Picture: Neil Hanna)

From the amusing escapades of the Beano’s heroes and anti-heroes to learning elementary German from Commando comics, there was something for everyone.

At the time, few may have realised just how important storytelling and the simple act of reading can be. We were just having fun.

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But, according to crime writer Ian Rankin, comic books act as a “gateway drug to novels”.

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Ian Rankin: Comics are a ‘gateway drug to novels and storytelling’

He revealed that, as a child, he used to buy seven or eight comics a week and swap them with friends in the Fife village of Cardenden, where he grew up.

This helped fuel his enthusiasm for literature and, in his early teens, he would steal school jotters in which he would write his own stories. Being an author, he said, was “basically me being a kid again, playing with my imaginary friends”.

Enjoying something is often the best way to learn about it, so Rankin is right to point out how comics can have a beneficial impact on young lives.

So, if you are struggling to find something for the children to do as the lockdown gets tougher, Rankin may have inadvertently come up with a suggestion.

And, given modern-day comics can be more sophisticated and ambitious than those of the past, parents may find themselves waiting impatiently for their son or daughter to finish the next instalment of a particularly gripping tale.

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