At first, the comic book universe was daunting. There are so many different timelines, alternative universes, and characters that it’s nearly impossible to know it all. But fear not gentle reader! Everyone has to start somewhere, so why not start now? If you were waiting for a sign to start reading comic books, here it is.
Start with something familiar
Did you see the trailer to the new X-Men: Days of Future Past and get overwhelmed with the concept of multiple timelines? The popular 80’s story arc is available as a graphic novel! Did you empathize with Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight? Then you might like to read Batman: The Long Halloween where Harvey Dent is desperately trying to capture the mysterious killer, Holiday, and resorting to some nefarious means to an end. Why not read The Walking Dead series instead of just watching it? From prominent story arcs to character origins, there are so many places to start! Just explore the graphic novel collections at your local comic book or general book store and start with the first volume of whatever series you fancy. Comics collected in graphic novels are a great way to be introduced to a team or explore a character’s past. You might find out that Magneto has some valid points.
Or try something new
Comic books cover a wide variety of genres and themes. Although Marvel superheroes are near and dear to my heart, I have been exploring other genres. Post-apocalyptic world where a mysterious plague wiped out everything with a Y chromosome except a twenty something and a monkey named Ampersand? Sure, why not. A rural noir about an overworked single mom who has to deal with people being resurrected on the daily? Sounds good to me. I never thought that I would be interested in a space opera with sharp tongued protagonists and their endearing hit man until I picked it up on a whim. The comic book world is filled with high quality literature. Art Spiegelman captured his father’s life as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor in the critically acclaimed Maus, where Jewish-Poles were mice and the Germans were cats. It was the first graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman has won praise by the comic book industry and the literary world for its dark tales of Dream, who controls the realm of dreams. From romance to westerns, there is literally a comic book for everyone.
If you like how a story is written, there is a distinct possibility that the author has written other series. And if he or she hasn’t written another series, there are will be other authors and artist that can capture your attention. Comic book publishers usually have what they are printing currently up on their websites with small summaries. If all else fails, Wikipedia tends to have a brief synopsis if it’s a fairly popular series. Think of the internet as your own personal librarian. You can find out the entire history of a character, up-and-coming series, and millions of people who are exploring comic books too.
I can almost guarantee every comic book enthusiast will happily recommend a few titles. From Tumblr to Blogger, there are comic book geeks that exclusively write reviews for new series. The local comic book store owner should be your best friend. He is the one ordering everything, so he has at least glanced through all of the comic books in his shop. Some of my all-time favorites were recommended from Hailey’s Comics and Lone Star Comics.
So that’s it folks. You have the resources at your fingertips and comic book stores in your town. If you are still having trouble finding a place to start, leave a comment. With that said, go forth and read!