Comic Books are Overwhelming…NOT! Vol. 2 #1

So you’ve been hearing some good things about comic books but you don’t know where to start?  This post is all about breaking down your fears and misconceptions and getting you reading without going bankrupt.

Misconception #1: I have to read 75+ years worth of comic books just to know what’s going on!

This is a pretty common misconception.  With both DC and Marvel having series approaching 600 issues and beyond, new readers think they need to read all 600 issues to “get” what’s going on.  You don’t.  In the case of DC they rebooted their entire universe multiple times and have recently reshuffled the deck once again after this year’s Convergence.

As far as Marvel, they generally don’t reboot the whole universe but they do have status quo changing events that set up the next year or two.  They also explain in the comic book itself about events and characters so you never feel totally lost.  Couple this with summaries of not just the current arc but the entire status quo of each character presented at the beginning of each issue.  The recap page will get you up to speed even if you are jumping on mid story.  As a last resort you can always get a coarse summary of the character’s history on wikipedia.

Now is a great time to be getting into comic books.  Marvel is in the midst of a major multiversal shakeup. The entirety of Marvel’s multiverse has been erased and replaced giving way to a world unlike any seen before. In most cases, the tie-ins to these massive events are very much the side show, but with Secret Wars, the depth, breadth, and quality of the tie-ins absolutely steal the show.  No matter what bit of popular culture you love, from Doctor Who to Walking Dead you will find nods and homages here.

DC just finished up their own multiversal shakeup and is now trying to put the pieces back together again. For example, Superman is a bit powerless and Jim Gordon is the Batman.

Misconception #2: Comic books are expensive!

If you want to keep it local, head to your local comic book store.  Odds are their are tons of people with similar interests working and shopping there that are all too eager to guide and advise.  Heck half the books out there deal with Heroes paying it forward by teaching the next generation.  It’s practically part of the DNA.  Make sure you ask them about any sales or regular in store events like 10% off Wednesdays etc..  Also ask about frequent buyer programs like spend a 100 get 20 back.

If the internet is more your thing, you can always subscribe directly to the company.  You will be able to get discounts pretty close to half off but know that not every title will be available for subscription, especially the limited series.  I also highly recommend  They offer 40% off or more of the cover price on any comic book coming out.  However with them you are ordering two months in advance and are dependent on the short blurbs of the solicits to decide on your choices.

Trade Paperbacks are a great way to catch up or just dip your toes in a little.  Think of them as director’s cuts. They generally collect a limited series or a set of recent story arcs.  They also sometimes include some background information on the development process.  They are a great way to see if comic books are for you.

The best advice I have on how to get started is to just get started.  Pick a character and follow them, odds are they will lead you to other books due to constant cross overs and guest appearances.  If you have no interest in super heroes, IDW and Dynamite have other popular culture icons with current or recently finished series.  Transformers, Doctor Who, GI Joe, Buffy and the rest of the Whedonverse, The A-team, Robocop, Terminator, Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters all have comic books either currently ongoing, coming this summer, or came out in the last year.

So you really have no excuse, no matter what your favorite character or piece of pop culture is, you can find it in your local comic books shop written and drawn by people just as fanatic as you.  So get out there and happy reading!

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