See that guy up there in the header? The guy looking down over the city, pretending he’s Spiderman?
Freezing half to death, and fearing for my life that I'm going to fall and leave a puddle of red and blue mush all over the floor that some poor worker is going to have to clean up later. Comics brought me there.
And thanks to all of the latest superhero movies on hand for fans of the Marvel and DC universes, comics are back in a big way !
Long-time fans are getting to see their favourite heroes on the big screen, while new fans (how can it be possible that someone has never heard of Batman before?) can now get the chance to jump on-board the comic train and become ADDICTED COMIC BOOK NERDS!
Besides my many passions (dressing up as Spiderman included), one thing I’ve learnt so far in my life is that comics freaking rock! They showcase amazing pieces of art that require incredible skill, and merge it with some of the most in-depth, dramatic, romantic, scary, and action-packed stories you will ever get to read.
One of the coolest feelings that I can remember as a kid was going to our local bookstore, searching through endless piles of comic books, and choosing my favourite looking covers. Not going to lie, that new comic-book SMELL will stick with me forever.
That, and the awesome advertisements from Chef Boyardee involving Spiderman that made my mum hate comics because all I ever wanted was Spiderman canned pasta!
Boys being bitten by radioactive spiders, girls with mutant-like superpowers trying to find their place in the world, and RACOONS IN FREAKIN SPACE! Every time someone asks me if I’ve read this book or that novel, my answer is always the same:
KITTY EM: “Have you not read Game of Thrones Dan?”
DAN: “Nah….. I read comics. Books bore me”
*Begin the death staring*
All that rambling is a prelude to my point for this blog: Ever wanted to get into comics but didn’t quite know where to start?
Well, luckily for you all, I’ve done a little listing for you!!
4 Handy Hints to Start Your Comic Journey!!
To those new to the medium, comics are seen as impenetrable. They notice that some series have been running in various forms for decades, or that there are just so many titles it’s hard to know what to read or begin with. Thinking about starting a journey into the world of comics is like standing above a shark-filled tank and deciding whether to jump is. Realistically though, it’s not that intimidating.
1. Pick a character that interests you.
Step 1. Go to Google and YouTube
Step 2. Type in one of the following searches:
- Marvel characters
- DC characters
- Best comic characters ever!
- Best comic stories ever!
- etc. etc. etc
Add to this a few personal questions about your interests, such as:
- What kind of movies, TV Shows & video games do you enjoy?
- What kind of stories do you like watching/reading? i.e - Horror, Crime, Action, Science-fiction, etc.
A small amount of research online will open the floodgates to a world of information, backstories, important facts and amazing pieces of character art that are sure to win you over. The beautiful thing about comics is that there’s so many different types of heroes and villains out there for you to become a crazy fan of - like my deep and concerning love for The Joker.
When looking for a character to follow, it’s always important to find a character that really stands out to you for whatever reason it may be. A personal connection, morals and beliefs, backstory, or even because they have a badass costume. There’s no rules behind picking your favourite character and new best friend, I mean, have you ever heard of Squirrel Girl?
Pick a character. Learn a little bit about them (thanks internet) and seek out the best way for you to join in on their adventures.
2. Where do i buy comics? A comic store, duh!
OK! This is where it happens. This is where that gut-wrenching feeling of vulnerability kicks i, so much so that you may cry into your newly-purchased Squirrel Girl socks (that with the matching underwear in the Squirrel Girl fan pack) before you consider walking back out and ending it all before it even begins.
However, NEVER FEAR! It doesn’t have to end here.
One really good way to start understanding how comic retail works i.e. cosmixology!
Comixology is the digital equivalent to walking into a comic book store, but without the scary feeling of being judged by the nerds indulging on their daily dose of comic book related addictions. You’re also missing out on the awesome comic book smell, but you can build up to that. While we are here, one thing about the in-store nerds, both clerk and customer alike, is that THEY WON'T HURT YOU.
Contrary to popular belief, most comic shop employees are not sarcastic snobs intent on demonstrating the depth of their knowledge in order to belittle you. Many are, in fact, sarcastic snobs intent on demonstrating the depth of their knowledge in order to help you find a book you'll enjoy. It’s their job to know comics back to front and therefore, they can be pretty intimidating. Tell them who your favourite character is and they will happily point you in the right direction.
One awesome thing about Comixology is that it will give you some insight into the cost of comic books these days as well as a chance to download some free issues of comics you might have an interest in! It’s the perfect onboarding app for a new comic book nerd and it quite literally places the comic store into your hands.
Try it! Experience a digital comic, and collect some awesome titles!
But then, be sure to brave the outside world and head into a physical store so you can get the best of both worlds (including that comic-book smell - I'm starting to think I have a problem here...).
3. You don’t have to start at issue #1 to enjoy issue #877
So you’ve made it to the comic store, the journey was tough, your bravery was tested, but you made it. Now it’s time to join your favourite hero on her latest quest - but wait, shouldn’t you go back and join her on her first quest? How can you possibly enjoy her latest quest if you weren’t there for her first one?
Alright, don't stress out!
Jumping into the middle of a comic book series is a little like turning on the TV and watching the 2nd half of a movie. While you might not instantly know or understand what is going on, you will soon figure it out and will realise that missing the first half won’t hamper your enjoyment. This is where the beauty of the comic book comes into play - you can always go back and read what you’ve missed (as well as enjoy some awesome artwork as an accompaniment).
The other beauty here is that there are so many stories, about the same character, all running at the same time. This means that there’s always an opportunity out there to pick up issue #1 of a particular story and start fresh. On series #76. Of Squirrel Girl’s 45 different story arcs.
4. Don’t become a slave to Squirrel Girl!!
After reading comics for a while, you should slowly broaden your scope of reading. This could be in the form of reading previous work of your favourite creator, or checking out other recommendations. You might find that your deep and meaningful appreciation for Squirrel Girl has led to a small obsession with Superman (I hate you).
By broadening your horizons you will find new stories and discover great new things you didn’t even know existed. If you can think of a particular character, there has probably been a comic book series written about them.
Get out there and find your favourite writers, favourite artists, art styles, characters and/or teams. When broadening your horizons, keep in mind of your budget and go at a pace that is comfortable for you. Comics can become a pricey investment - but who can put a price on love, right? ;)
Now go, give it a shot. You might just find your new obsession.
It could be you standing up there. Looking down on the world (whilst wearing a Spiderman outfit).