There’s Too Much On The Wall: A Guide to New Comic Readers

There’s too much  to wade through as a new comic reader, and it can be really frustrating. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to convince myself that six dollars for one issue was a reasonable price only to have it be a disappointment (looking at you, Civil War II). I don’t need 47 different Avengers books or 16 different incarnations of Captain America and I feel like too much choice can be a pain when you’re first getting into picking up comics.

I’m still relatively new to all of this. I read the beginning of The New 52 when it first came out, but my interest died down in less than 12 months, and up until about three years ago I hadn’t touched a comic book. So, getting back into the swing of things was kind of difficult in the beginning, because everything I vaguely knew about 5 years ago was going to completely change in a matter of months. I base a lot of my picks on word of mouth or recommendations from other friends who have been reading comics a lot longer than me. I usually just tell them what interests me, and from there they make some recommendations that I either check out or blow it off because it sounds lame. Having two kids and being on a fixed income also kinda helps weed out the amount of crap that I buy. I want to make sure what money I spend on books goes towards something I’ll actually enjoy rather than spending the money to check out the newest issue of X-Men ‘92 on a whim and instantly regretting it 14 seconds later.

Starve was the book that sucked me back in, and it was only because my friends told me that, “It’s a book about a chef. I figure since you’re a cook you’ll enjoy it,” and he ended up being right. That got me checking out other titles published by Image and inevitably led me to Tokyo Ghost. It got me checking out more of  Rick Remender’s work for Marvel Comics, as well as other things artist Sean Murphy had been on. It was all a chain reaction for me, and I kind of just followed the trail to wherever it took me. For a while, I was reading solely because I liked a character. Eventually, I figured out what writers I enjoyed and what genre they worked best in. Had I not read the last Brubaker run of Captain America, I would have never read Criminal, which means I would never have ventured into noir stories, which is where I found my favorite series, 100 Bullets.

Bouncing around had it’s advantages and disadvantages at first. I read a lot of different things and figured out pretty quickly what I don’t like and what things interest me. The first time I ever cracked open Southern Bastards, I finished the first trade paper back (TPB) in one sitting and immediately went back to buy the second volume. The time I read the first issue of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink, I wanted to burn down my LCS for including it in my pull since I pick up the Power Rangers stand alone series.

It was a lot of trial and error, but that was half the fun; picking up random things that I thought looked interesting, and having things shown to me by peers or by hearing about them on various podcasts that I listen to. There isn’t really a method to the madness at first until you get your footing and figure out “Okay, this X-Men ‘92 book is a pile of trash, but don’t rule out the X-Men because this new run of Wolverine: Old Man Logan is great!.” Or “Holy crap, this last run of Brubaker’s Captain America is boring, but this recent Spencer run has nerds arguing about Hydra Cap and that’s almost more entertaining than the actual story he’s trying to tell.”

Don’t let anyone intimidate you or tell you what you should or shouldn’t like. Discover this huge world for yourself and figure out what works best for you. Some people prefer single issues and others like trades. The best part about comics is there is something for everyone and the people at your local comic shop are here to help you!

Basically, what I’m getting at is that ignorance in comics really is bliss. I don’t have to worry about my favorite character being totally ruined and having their legacy changed because my legacy with them is only a few years old. Also, as a new reader, I can wholeheartedly agree with the fact that 90’s comics were garbage for the most part and we should stop trying to tell ourselves they weren’t. The only 90’s comic related thing I can truly say I give a shit about is the theme song to X-Men: The Animated Series and how much I can’t stand Jubilee.

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