Comic Book Reading 101

So you want to join the ranks of readings comic books, huh, but you don’t know where to begin.  Walking into a Comic Book shop can be pretty intimidating, yea, you’re right, overwhelming is more like it, if you have no idea what you are looking for.  Between continuity, characters, teams, and all the monthly issues out there, it will leave you feeling like it’s impossible to become part of the community unless you started when you were five.  This is not necessarily true, comic book reading is not gymnastics, and it does not become a lost cause if you are well into your teens or even older.

wpid-20140321_093805.jpgI did not seriously start reading until I was 19 and while it was a bumpy start I latched on with all my might and here I am, caught up, visiting my local brick and mordor weekly for new issues.  I have taken it upon myself to aid in helping to initiate new blood into the comic book community.  Remember how while you were filling out the paperwork to become an employee of a new business, they would always play those clichéd instructional videos of the do’s and don’t’s of your new career.  Well the greatest way to learn is by another’s mistakes.  So I took the hits, iced the bruises, and mended the wounds so that you can avoid some of my padawan errors.

Pick a Character- Starting with one character will reduce feeling overwhelmed a great deal.  By eliminating the approach of taking on more then one comic book title, you will experience a more leisure atmosphere while scanning all the pages of your comic.  This definitely assures yielding more time for reading and studying this characters continuity.  Also you will have more focus on learning the culture of comic book collecting instead of having your attention pulled in different directions trying to keep up with all the monthly issues.  Don’t fret.  Characters will cross-over and so while you read Batman you will most likely have encounters with Superman, Flash, Green Lantern and so on.  I recommend along with picking a character also grabbing the monthly issues of that characters affiliation; Batman is with the Justice League, Captain America leads The Avengers, and Wolverine runs with The X-Men.  Consider these as catalyst issues which will help you to rapidly learn of other heroes, villains, and important story arcs within the universe.

Pitfalls to Avoid- Forget about the back issues!  Move forward.  You will drive yourself, not only all over the country, but insane trying to collect all the issues you have missed.  Not to mention this will affect your wallet deeply.  Use the internet to catch up on continuity or obtain, by purchasing or borrowing, the trade paperback graphic novels.  Another trap to become weary of is searching for gold.  Don’t worry about owning the key issues or variants.  Do not allow yourself to be consumed with the collecting aspect and miss out on the reading portion.  The major comic collectors were never to absorbed with owning the next next million dollar jewel, they bought the stories they were excited to stay up-to-date on.  Trust me if you buy what you enjoy reading you will assemble a hefty collection and no need to have concern, assuredly you will acquire a few gems of your own over the years.

BatmanCaughtReading02

Even Batman takes a rest to catch up on some good reads now and again.

Recent Content- Comic books, not unlike film and television, have been a medium for over 50 years.  Imagine trying to watch every movie ever filmed.  Stay within the past 10-15 years of the characters content.  This will also make the story more relevant to you as the reader because comics are a product of the times, helping you to understand the politics and historical reverences far more easily.  Another thing, you will more than likely favor the modern writing and art styles over those of the early eras (sorry Adam West).  This is not to say never venture outside of these eras, but go for the recommended stories and classics.

Types of Comic Book Reading

Back in the day there was only one way to catch up on your favorite heroes and observe how they bested their pesky foes, yet again.  That was by visiting a local shop every Wednesday and acquiring freshly pressed comic books.  Although in our current generation we have three main ways to read and stay up-to-date with all the stories.  I dabble in all three methods of comic book reading and there’s no reason you should feel chained to only one mode.  I prefer purchasing a 32 page issue weekly at my favorite small business owned shop, but each method has its perks and flaws.

Comic Books

This is obviously the mode most utilized in relaying these amazing tales to enthusiastic fans all over the world.  This method has withstood the test of time and is the only way, still to our present era, to collect an investment on the money you put into it.  I believe it’s comic books that bring even more of an appreciation to this field of interest.  Not only is there a certain feel you get when stepping into a comic book shop, but a certain sensation tickling down your spin as you turn the pages and recognize you are soaking in the most recent developments in this characters continuity that no movie, graphic novel, or website is knowledgeable of yet.  Then the icing on the cake is bagging, boarding, and storing it in a long box.  Nothing beats the expression on someones face, as they boast about how they just watched the latest Batman animation film, and you have earned the right to declare you own the issues that their short film was based on.

Graphic Novels

The graphic novel is a collection of various comics issues that make-up a story arc.  These can either be bought as a hardcover or trade paperback.  A graphic novel holds one ultimate advantage, not only cost, but you can read the story all at once without any delay in awaiting each month for the new release.  This is also a great way to catch up on characters and crossover stories from within the universe.  Also, the hardcovers seem to bring a certain sophistication to a mahogany bookshelf.

Digital

The comic book publishers saw it beneficial to keep up with modern technology, thus converting all their characters chronicles into digital form.  This makes it possible to follow your favorite comic book heroes without even leaving your couch.  Download the app to your iPad, tablet, or phone and you can buy your comics from anywhere.  Yes, this brings in a convince factor for some obvious reason; no travel, no storage, no waiting, never out of stock.  But remember when you purchase digital copies, you never truly own the issue.

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