Comics, to those who don’t read them, can take a bad rap for being seen as a child’s story device. And it’s probably true that most of us who have ever read one indeed did so as a child. Now, we all grow up (unfortunately) and as we do our interests change and most of us, in the hope to appear more grown up, often separate ourselves and shun anything child-like in the process of becoming an adult. Comics are often a product of our forgotten childhood and frequently our only knowledge of them is of brightly coloured super heroes flying the skies in their underwear, saving innocent people from the bad guys.
But, like when you read Winnie-the-pooh before moving on to Harry Potter or Lemony Snickett, until breaking through to a world of adult literature, there is also a world of amazing stories for adults in comic books. The biggest misconception is that comics equal superheroes. One of the biggest selling and well known books of all time is The Bible but that doesn’t mean all literature is religious. Maybe superheroes are the rock stars of comics, but trust me – it isn’t all rock and roll.
The comic book story is coming more and more into the light in today’s society through film. It’s a fair assumption that nearly everyone has seen a comic book movie (Batman: The Dark Knight
grossed $533,345,358), but why is it so few of us have actually read one? We can go watch Batman at the movies with our friends, discuss it openly and even stand in amazement when we find someone who hasn’t seen it, yet ask someone if they read last week’s issue of The Dark Knight
and they look at you like you’ve wandered away from your carer and it’s best not to make eye contact with. If you can put aside the unjustified stigma associated with comics, you can find a whole new world of stories you never thought existed.
Now, there are comics and there are graphic novels. Most of the time, graphic novels are a group of issues from a comic series’ story arc, collected together and presented to you in one single book. Some choose to collect individual comics while others choose to wait for the graphic novel, but either way you get the same great stories.
A big trouble with comics is knowing when to start buying. It can be really off-putting to walk into a store, look at the shelf and see Amazing Spider-Man
#684. What have you missed? Will it makes sense without the previous issues? You wouldn’t start buying a book at Chapter Four.
Well, you can do a couple of things. You can take the plunge, hope for the best and persevere or you can do what I recommend and check out some graphic novels first until you see a series starting at issue #1 you might want to try. Additionally, some companies like Marvel do Point One issues where a new comer can start reading the series. These comics begin a new story arc and no prior knowledge is usually required (e.g. Spider-Man #679.1). DC Comics recently rebooted all their comics back to issue #1, so they’re all no further than issue 8 at present.
Introducing people into the world of the comic genre doesn’t mean starting with men in tights. There are titles out there that you’ve most likely already read a similar book to. Hopefully I’ll show you there’s a comic lover in you, you just didn’t know it. I’ll be reviewing some new series to start, as well as some graphic novels that should span a few genres. I’ll try to capture your interest as, like books, there thousands of stories out there and not all will appeal to you. But all I can do is show you the water, you have to take the plunge yourself…
‘Words and pictures are yin and yang. Married, they produce a progeny more interesting than either parent.’ – Dr. Suess.
What experience with comicbooks have you had? Read any graphic novels lately? Tell me what you think 🙂