A New Reader’s Guide to Comics Issue 1

Posted on May 24, 2017

If someone had asked me a year ago if I was a comic book fan, I would have said “No”.  Pressed a little more, I would admit I enjoyed the films, but I really did not read comics.  And I would claim ZERO knowledge about them.
Comic books still are were an intimidating aisle at my local used book store.  Dozens and dozens of boxes with no rhyme or reason to my untrained eye.  The alphabet seemed to start over every row or two.  Going to a comic book store was even more intimidating.  What do I ask for?
“Hi, I am looking for THOR.  Do you have that?” seemed like a laughable question (For Science, I asked it).  The guy working the shop smiled, chuckled, and  pointed me to a large THOR section.  Did you know there are DOZENS of THOR titles from the last several decades? I didn’t until just then.  I couldn’t find a complete run of anything.  Issue 2 from one series, 5 and 8 from another; 12, 13, 17 from yet still a third. I walked back out, deciding I was not a comic reader.  I didn’t go back into a comic shop for three years.

And then I fell in love with a comic-reading boyfriend  fiancé.  Every weekend, he took me with him to the comic shop he got his books from.  (Little did I know books came out on Wednesday, and he was perfectly capable of going without me).  He loved pointing out new titles, showing me the ones he pulled.

WARNING: Comic fans are passionate. They love new books.  They love old characters reinvented.  They love having dozens of THOR titles (if they love THOR). And most of all, they love other people loving comics.

After several trips to the shop, I found my first comic.  Monstress.  I loved the art.  I loved the female character driven story line.  I loved the symbolism.

And because I loved it so much, he showed me Saga.  Because I loved that so much, he showed me Manifest Destiny. Because I loved that he showed…. well you get the point. I follow 25 titles now, help run a podcast about comics, interview others about comics, and almost sound knowledgeable when I talk about comics.

So, how do you, a non-comic reader make the plunge? How do you get into the “in-crowd” of comics?

Chances are, because you already want in, that you know someone who already reads comics.  Talk to that friend.  Ask them what they read.  Look at their books.  Read a few.  Then ask your friend where they go to buy comics.  Go with them.  Pick out your first book with the help of a friend.

If you are alone in your love of comics, go to your local shop and talk to the employee.  I promise they love comics and should be happy to show you a cool series they love.  Give it a shot.  If you do not like it, tell that comic shop employee what you didn’t love.  If you loved it, buy more, but also tell them what you loved.  This will help them find more books you might love.

And DON’T be afraid to ask questions! If the shop you went to seems bothered by it, there are more shops.  They might be farther away, they might be on social media or online, but you can message them and talk to them.  They want you to find something you love!

Eventually you will discover more and more  too many things you can’t wait to read.  Eventually you may start collecting a series, a graphic novel set, or even have your own pull box.  For now, just enjoy the fact that you have a first book.  And know you have plenty more purchases in your future!

In future entries, I will talk about the types of comics and how to curate a pull list.

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