I am a student at the University of Missouri, who is studying documentary film. In my free time, I enjoy watching movies of all kinds and reading the latest comics.
When someone first walks into a comic book shop, it can be overwhelming. Our Davis McCondichie has some ideas to ease you in to one of the world's great hobbies.
5 Steps to Navigate the World of Comic Books
Walls are decorated floor-to-ceiling with superheroes of every make and brand. In between you and these walls are tables buckling under the weight of bins holding years of comic books. A newly christened comic book fan is likely never to know where to start.
The modern world of comic book reading is intimidating to a newcomer. So, with this in mind, here are five ways to overcome your beginner's anxiety and understand the wonderful world of comics.
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1. Watch Superheroes: A Never-ending Battle
Having some background into the history of comic book superheroes is a good foundation to jump off. This PBS documentary is the perfect digestible bit of history to provide your initial base.
A large part of the anxiety that comes with first walking into a comic book shop is the feeling that you do not belong. Many first time buyers feel like posers trying to blend in with a culture they fear they do not completely understand. However, this kind of fear of the unknown can be minimized just with one watch through of this documentary.
Once someone knows even the simplest of comic book history, suddenly the walls and bins of a store seem much less intimidating.
2. Read Supergods by Grant Morrison
In the same vein of gathering background information is this subjective take on superheroes history by one of the greatest comic book writers, Grant Morrison.
Morrison starts at the beginning of time (superheroes time that is) and takes the reader on a humorous yet diligent history of superheroes. Along the way, Morrison also interjects his opinion on these historical moments and an autobiographical approach to his experience at this time. The use of his first-person view makes comic book reading seem approachable to a first-time buyer and his suggested readings at the end of the book can help craft the first stop to the comic book store.
3. Don't be Afraid to Watch Superhero Movies
There is no stigma against anyone who gets into comic books by first watching the movies. In fact, many first-time buyers are inspired to go to their local comic book store by the Marvel and DC movies currently coming out.
With that in mind, you are not less of a fan just because you watched the movies first. As long as you are willing to open your thoughts to the non-mainstream storylines that comic books occasionally produce then you will be okay. In fact, not only is it okay to watch the new superhero movies coming out, but it is also a good idea to dig around for some older superhero movies that have since gone under-appreciated.
Superhero movies are a gateway into the wonderful world of comics. Never be embarrassed to get your start in the cinematic universe just as long as you do not close off your mind to the non-silver screen heroes.
4. Start Off with a Graphic Novel
Weekly, monthly, and yearly comic book series can be hard to navigate for a first time visitor. Often the series is on its 20th issue by the time you walk into the shop, and it can be discouraging to try to start in the middle of the story.
Luckily these series are not the only way you can make the first jump into comic book reading. Graphic novels are an excellent jumping off point.
Graphic novels are either a finished series of comic books now collected into one edition or a one-off piece that is longer than your average comic. These completed stories feed your initial hunger for superhero storylines while you search for a series to start. Any newcomer will find these as a welcoming beginning to the hobby.
5. Ask Your Local Shop Owner for Help
Finally, if you find yourself trapped at the front door of your local comic book store, with no idea what you might like, it never hurts to ask. Comic shop owners are usually experts in the hobby of comic book collecting. It is okay to tell them that it is your first time and you have no idea where to start. They want customers, and they will be sure to make the process easy for you.
So, when in doubt, go to the person behind the counter and ask them for an opinion. The best part about shopping at your local store instead of online is the conversations you can have.
So that is it, five ways you can begin your journey into buying from your local comic book shop. Always remember that most comic book shops are welcoming environments that want you to come back. Never be afraid to strike up a conversation and never be afraid to ask for help making a decision.
With these steps in mind go out and support your local comic book shop. It is never too late to begin a new hobby.