Goin’ Down to the Bayou

So far, Bayou has been an awesome read. I was a little worried at first that I’d be put-off by reading the comic online; I’m one of those old fashioned types—I love to be able to hold the actual book in my hands. I was also a little nervous about the prospect of navigating the comics on the website. But my fears were completely quelled by the straight-forward, simple, and smooth layout of the Comixology site. Not only was it aesthetically pleasing, but it WORKED—I was never frustrated about how the comics were organized, and there was never any confusion over how to transition between them. I was never “lost,” as I often am when trying to get around any sort of website that relies so heavily on an organized format. It was a seamless experience, which I think is an integral part of any reading, and especially so when reading graphic novels.

So of course, the ease of reading Bayou online made it possible for me to focus on the story being told, and the way it was being told. Bayou recalled some previous texts we’ve explored, mainly Nat Turner for obvious reasons, but some of Swallow Me Whole (the blur between reality and imagination, dreams, insanity, whatever you want to call it) and even Fun Home (the theme of a father-daughter relationship). I’m taking a Southern Lit course this semester with Prof. Anderson, and there were definitely moments when I forgot which class I was reading this comic for—Bayou is rich with elements of Southern literary traditions, exploring ideas about race relationships, allusions to the past, ties to the land, family dynamics, and so on. It’ll be interesting to see if our class discussion explores what Bayou tells us about the South, and how it could possibly be considered a Southern narrative.

And one last note—as I said, I found reading this comic online through Comixology.com to be a very easy and enjoyable experience. Personally, I think it’d be a great tool in a high school or even middle school English classroom. What a great way to introduce kids to the literary merit of graphic novels. Any classroom equipped with a SmartBoard would make Bayou easy for an English class to read and explore together.