Comic Books are expensive and overwhelming…NOT!: A quick guide on how to start

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 70 years worth of stuff 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 in the eighties and everything restarted and they always start new series.

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 comic about events and characters so you never feel totally lost.  Couple this with summaries of not just the current arc but the entire current world 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 comics.  Marvel is starting a new status quo called the Heroic Age which will reboot or restart many of  the classic characters and super teams.  It is a very exciting time to get into Marvel with lots of homages to the original works by Stan “The Man” Lee.  The Avengers are fighting Kang the conqueror again for Peter Parker’s sake.  It’s the next golden age of comics if you can believe Marvel and if the last couple of years are any indication they are right.

DC is also starting a year long event called Brightest Day which is a great jumping on point. Honestly DC is not my area of expertise but from what I have been seeing, it’s a good time to get in on them as well.

You may have heard that Captain America died, well he did (sort of) but he is now back and will be leading a black ops team of Avengers consisting of Beast, Nova, Moon Knight and others.

You may have also heard that Batman died, well he did (kind of) and he is currently crawling his way back.

Misconception #2: Comics 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 to 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% of 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 38% off or more of the cover price on any comic 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 comics 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 comics 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 shop written and drawn by people just as fanatic as you.  So get out there and happy reading.

Staten Island Mall Revisited: a quick guide to saving money on what you’re gonna be or should have been buying anyway

UPDATE 8/10/2011 pretty much everything in this article is not true anymore. What corporate as done to these stores is shameful.  Your Mileage May Vary



So I ended up spending some serious time in the SI mall today. Instead of just going to the more indie stores I am used to (saturday matinee) I walked into hot topic and gamestop.
This is going to sound very strange coming from me but I highly recommend giving these places another shot. They’ve leveled up their customer service and selection.

First up Hot Topic:

Let’s just say they are no longer like kmart. They have every cartoon from the eighties and nineties represented in t-shirt format. Ducktales chip n dale rescue rangers angry beavers rocco’s modern life doug dexter’s lab (the original) etc.. anything you loved as a kid is on a t-shirt. For game and movie merch Fye group is still the way to go but for everything else subculture hot topic has it. Most of it is clothes but they do have an amazing cd store. They also have a reward club now. 150 spent gets you 15% off next purchase along with the random coupon emails typical of these programs. If you’re tired of buying from the gap and marts and old navy they’ve got what you need. One caveat however, preteens and high schoolers love all of that stuff too so be prepared for lots of squealing etc.. Also the prices are extremely reasonable as long as you stay non gamer. Twenty bucks still gets you any shirt. Haven’t been to one of these since early last decade so maybe you all know this already but for the old dudes like me who remember when these stores first opened up it’s good to know they are doing it old school.

Next up gamestop:

They currently have a lot of bargain bin last gen and early current gen stuff. Right now all used games are buy two get one free. Unless a game is a couple of months old, the prices are amazing. Most games from the last year or so (Prince of Persia Fallout 3 GOTY etc..) are anywhere from ten to thirty five bucks. Couple that with the free third game and the ten percent off used game card and you can get a lot of games for a lot cheaper. All those games you missed out on by playing modern warfare can be had for at least sixty percent off. They also have long boxes filled with old ps2 games for less than ten dollars. I picked up the original manhunt for two washingtons. They are all used and come in cd envelopes but they count for the free third game deal. All used games are guaranteed so there are no negatives in any of this. I bought roughly 500 dollars worth of games for less than ninety. The store will also call other stores and help you track down any game you want. If you can’t find newer games used they also have select titles for 20-60% off. Games from only a few months ago like darksiders are going for roughly half off new. I also overheard something about a points system but after an hour spent contemplating which games to get I was too drained to ask. Their loyalty card is 14.99 and you get a year of game informer.

The big companies may have killed the little guys over the last twenty years but now the little guys are finally pushing back. Brick and mortars no matter how big or small are bringing back those age old pillars of superior customer service, expertise, and the glory of the bargain bin. The independently owned and operated franchise mentality is back in full effect. SO UNPLUG THEM INTERNETZ AND GET OUTTA THE HOUSE PEOPLE YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT CHEAP, INSTANT, AND YOU GIVE SALES TAX DOLLARS SO THE STATE DOESN’T CUT THE CRAP OUT OF HEALTH CARE.

By the way if you are truly agoraphobic most of these deals are on their websites as well.

Look for more lists like this as deals are found and for a more regular sampling checkout cheap ass gamer and Kotaku’s weekend deals.

If you have a tip on how to save money on anything from the mainstream to the not so much feel free to comment or email.

Been reading through my old livejournal that I posted

interesting facts:
1. I am currently feeling just as well now as I did at the start of that thing It’s only been 5 and a half years since I wrote all that stuff

2.the emagickspells website thing does not exist anymore

3. is now an “Adult Movies Search Engine”

4. the fye where I snapped the pic of laura croft and dubya does not exist anymore but saturday matinee which is part of the same company still does.  BTW buy shit from them movies games everything they have pocky and those chinese popper drinks and mario bros candy and energy drinks.  10 bucks gets you 10% off the whole store their clearance section is 30% and you get 20% off on your birthday you can walk in on your birthday and buy half the store for half off.  they have better video game clothes and accessories than anywhere else for way cheaper.  They are what hot topic used to be before they got bought out by kmart. THEY ARE ALSO HIRING HELLLLOOOO EMPLOYEEE DISCOUNT

woah did not mean for that to turn into a huge rant ad for fye but hey guys if you’re reading this NOTHING’S FOR FREE. So hook a brotha up *wiggity wiggity chicka chicka*

its dinner time, more later.