Long-time comic book readers know just how overwhelming it can be to choose which comic to read first. Most started with a single comic book that piqued their interest at the time and then started collecting chronologically. For others, a guest-star character grabbed their attention and they migrated to that character’s book.
While there has always been a plethora of comic book options, there is little doubt that due to the sheer quantity of comics in publication today, right now is both the greatest and most intimidating time to start reading.
Fear not, weary readers, for if you don’t know where to begin, we’re here to give you some tips on how to begin reading in the modern era of comic books!
Tip # 1: Don’t be intimidated!
First, we need to get one thing out of the way. Do not be intimidated by the continuous stream of re-launches and #1s. After a while, one starts to wonder just how many ways a book can be relaunched as the “All New,” “Newest,” “All-Different,” “Totally-Not-The-Same-Thing-As-Before” version of its predecessor.
This is actually great news for you brand-new readers because it’s all new to you no matter where you start! You can jump in at any point and go from there; it truly doesn’t matter where you begin.
Tip #2: Check the bargain bin of your local comic shop.
If you really have no clue where to start, most comic shops have a large selection of discount comic books. While you can certainly find older comics here, there are usually plenty of newer books to choose from as well. The point is, don’t buy expensive new issues that you know nothing about when you could easily buy 3 or 4 discount books for the same price. Once you know which stories speak to you the most, then you can start collecting the high-end issues.
Tip #3: Variety is the spice of life.
Use that bargain bin to your advantage and pick up several different titles. Not all comics are created equally. If you like the classic super hero stories, you might start with Superman. If you enjoy flawed heroes with real-world issues, maybe give Spider-Man a try. Also, not all comic books are always as simple as “good guys vs bad guys.” If you don’t believe me, read an X-Men comic. Don’t fall into the trap of being loyal to one specific character, super team, or even comic publisher.
Tip #4: Those nice people behind the desk are very friendly and love sharing their knowledge!
Rarely have I ventured into a comic book shop and encountered someone working there who doesn’t enjoy what they do. Don’t be afraid to ask these wonderful people for recommendations. They would be more than willing to discuss what’s popular at the time. They also often can point you in the right direction based off of your interest in different genres of books, movies, or television shows. After talking to them a few times, they’ll learn your likes and dislikes and you’ll make some new friends!
Tip #5: Don’t be discouraged if you don’t enjoy a specific comic story.
The stories in comic books are ever-changing. One minute your favorite superhero is in space fighting for the fate of the Galaxy, the next minute they’re in the streets of Brooklyn fighting a petty thief who stole a suit of armor. On top of that, the writers and artists are always changing. Once you start to recognize their work, you may jump ship to an entirely different book they worked on.
The most important tip of all:
Just have fun! Getting into the world of reading comics can be a very individual experience or one that you share with friends. Dive in and get lost in a great story. Sooner than you think, you’ll be the one giving recommendations on the best book for new readers to pick up.