How to Start Reading Comics?
By Arnoldo Acosta
This will be my first of hopefully many more articles on this page. So as a matter of sharing some information about me I propose the following question:
How or why people start reading comics?
The first introduction I had to the Marvel and DC universes didn’t come on colored pages of paper; but from the screen of a television with shows like Spiderman, X-men, Batman The Animated Series, and Superman The Animated Series. Even when I was child I use to watch Superfriends and the animated Batman show with Adam West.
However I never read comics as a kid, I knew they existed, but I didn’t know where to buy them. There were no such things as a comic book stores. The internet didn’t sell comics at the time, which is the way I buy comics now. Even If had the availability to get comics on my own I still would had to struggle with the same question that all non-readers must face to break into comics: where to start?
The first time I finally read a real comic book was when I was 20 when I read the X-23 miniseries. The reason for me picking that book was because of two reasons.
First it was completely free, I got it from a friend who let me borrow it.
Second, I was actually interested in the character because of X-men Evolution.
Once I read it I was instantly shocked, the book is full of violence and the story was really hardcore for how X-23 is dehumanized and tortured to be turned into a weapon. I thought it was an okay story it really didn’t make me want to keep on reading these kinds of comics, but it did make me want to read other kinds of comics. I liked more the DC shows than the Marvel shows so instead I decided to start looking for DC comics.
When I was looking for DC comics I kept hearing these terms, before crisis, post-crisis, crisis this and crisis that. So, I imagined that “Infinite Crisis” was a nice place to start. Eventually I found a store that sold the comic, and with the idea of only buying that sole book I stumbled on a book called Countdown to Infinite Crisis.
Looking back at that experience makes me realize what is necessary to make people read comics and that is simply to get people interested in keep reading about the characters, not just keep ON reading forward.
I couldn’t just keep on reading the same new comics every month. I wanted to know more about the people and events some of those comics were referring to. This got me to backtrack onto some older comics, comics from 10-20 years ago, That’s how you get new readers, not making him want to read a comic every month but by making him want to read twenty years worth of stories.
The more I knew about comics the more I knew about popular comics. Things like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman for example, which got me to read other works by Gaiman like Black Orchid and Books of Magic.
I think the biggest problem for a new reader or someone who just wants to start reading comics is the sole decision of what to read. I didn’t knew I liked Neil Gaiman’s writing before I read Sandman and I didn’t know I liked Sandman before I read it. People told me the series was good, but I couldnt really know that until I read it myself.
It is all a blind jump into the dark. Most people don’t know if they like comics until they read one that they like. No one wants to invest money in a comic they might not enjoy.
I read the X-23 book only because I was interested in the character, and that is something that a lot of people do. They try out one particular character more than others because they know them from a movie or a television show. After reading X-23 I wasn’t impressed. It didn’t make me want to keep on reading. I didn’t like comics until I decided to read DC, it was a risk but I didn’t lose anything from it. I didn’t waste money by reading the X-23 series. Countdown to IC was pretty cheap for a 80 page book. Even now you can get it free at comixology.
It is all about taking a chance to test what you might enjoy. If you have your doubts just look at the list of best reviewed titles. Those are the titles that are popular with fans. Those are the titles that fans remember the most. Look for the A-list writers in the medium because they usually don’t disappoint.
And for those who are already readers, share your comics, because there are a lot of people out there who still don’t experience the joy of a good story told with great art.