The New Reader: Step One
By Amy Devine
My name is Amy and I am new to comics.
Well, relatively new. I’m young enough in my reading days that I don’t remember a time before New 52 or Civil War and I only have the vaguest idea of what is in an X-Men book (Is it time-travel? I’m sure there is something about time-travel.) but I could still hold my own in a “Which Brian K Vaughan work is greatest?” debate. I am at the shore of my comic-book reading journey and I am jumping in with both feet – mind and wallet open – and I would love if you came with me.
In this first column I’m not going to tell you HOW to get started in comics. Partly because that already exists (Check out Logan Rowland’s Beginner’s Guide To Comic Books here on Talking Comics) and partly because you are on the Talking Comics website. You probably already have a significant head start on me. No, I’m going to tell you WHY more people should get into comics. If you know someone who has been considering reading comics or whom you have been trying to drag into your world of trades and variant covers go and get them. Go on. I’ll wait here.
Comics are merely another medium through which a story can be told. The desire to tell and be told stories is a very basic human expression and one that opens up a multitude of opportunities to create morals, empathy or just good old-fashioned fun. If you like stories then there will be a comic that you like. Comics are a beautiful marriage between written and visual language and supporting the industry supports a staggering amount of artists, writers, letterers and colourists.
“That’s all well and good, Amy.” You are saying because you are a relatable human being who talks to their computer. “I know that there are reasons to start reading comics. But I have one particular reason NOT to.”
Well then, friend. Allow me to address some of these Negative Nancy reasons for you.
I don’t want to read comics because I don’t like superheroes.
I have good news for you! Not all comics are about superheroes! Some of the most popular series out at the moment like Saga and The Wicked And The Divine have nary a cape in sight.
I don’t want to read comics because I heard that the community wasn’t very friendly to new-comers/women/POC/queer people.
It is unfortunate that some loud, angry voices have made it into the mainstream consciousness and that the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons seems to represent a very diverse community on far too many platforms. However, there is a very welcoming and helpful community out there and it’s very easy to find. The internet brings everyone just that little bit closer and you can search for blogs, local events and forums (like our very own Talking Comics forums) from the comfort of your own home. You could get your friends into comics and create your own community, taking your local comic book store by storm.
I don’t want to read comics because it’s an expensive hobby.
Speaking as someone who has spent her rent money in a comic book store, I cannot say that you are wrong. But there are ways around the high price tags that comes with a comic book obsession. If you are always tempted to spend big once you walk into a store, consider reading issues digitally. Try to keep up to date with sales in both physical and online stores so you can quench your urge to splurge with minimum casualty. Keep your pull list for single-issues to the bare minimum and save up for fancy trades when you can afford them. Anything is possible with a little planning and a touch of begging gifts at Christmas and Birthdays.
I don’t want to read comics because it’s all too confusing.
The Internet is your friend! Talking Comics is your friend! There is an abundance of resources available to you so that you can catch up on that series you’ve long been intrigued by.
And whilst I may be only slightly less confused than you, I can be confused with you. Feel free to join me on my journey or just observe and enjoy my slow descent into bankruptcy.
Either way, thank you for reading.