New Feature: Comics Read Along

I’m a comics geek, let me show you how.

Recently, I’ve stumbled across a several people (let’s be honest, these were all ladies) who said “Yeah, I’ve always been curious about comics, but that’s a shitton of material. It freaks me out.”

When you’re inside a cult and you hear someone say that your cult seems strange and intimidating, your first reaction is gonna be but the Fearless Leader’s so sweet, he lets me sit on his lap and everything.

I’m not gonna be that person. Yes, coming into comics cold is almost impossible. Where do you even start? How do you know which books you’re going to like? Wait, how is the system even organized?

So, solution! For those who are interested, what I’m going to do is start a bookclub. Every week (schedule permitting), I’m going to make a post about a certain Trade Paper Back, that’s a collected edition of several comics serials bound together to tell the whole story arc. So, say, there’s a story about Superman turning into a girl. That story was told over several weeks or months and each bit came out per week. At the end of the story, the whole thing was compiled and published as one big story. Yes, this is shameless double dipping by the publishers.  The theme of being fucked over by the publishing houses will be a motif here.

So on my post talking about one book, I’ll tell you the next one to get, and we’ll roll along like that.

In no way will this column even attempt to be unbiased. Part of being a comics fan is having strong opinions about things that do not really matter in any way to the rest of your life/the world. These opinions can range from the way a certain artist depicts a certain character to how someone’s house was laid out wrong in a certain book.  These opinions originate in the same part of the brain that makes people argue over whether teal is blue or green.  It’s just better to not engage unless you’re defending your own irrational opinion to the death.

I don’t read Marvel comics, so this column will shamelessly be all DCU all the time. I’m looking for someone who reads Marvel, though, so if you’re that person, email me.  The extent of my knowledge of Marvel comics is X-books until the early aughts and the same kind of general knowledge you pick up through pop culture osmosis (I know Peter Parker’s Spiderman in other words).

*sssssssssscreeeeeeeech* Right, if you followed the above paragraph, scroll, if not—there are two primary, mainstream comics publishers, DC and Marvel. DC is the Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Justice League one. Marvel is the Spiderman, Xmen, Hulk, (I’m blanking)…Fantastic Four, Thor, Iron Man one.  There are pretty much two kinds of comics fans: the ones who read both houses and the ones who steadfastly ignore one of the houses. I am the latter.  This is more common than you’d think if your feelings are “but aren’t they all just made up stories about people with super powers?” NO, YOU ARE WRONG IN THE HEAD, INFIDEL.

We’re going to ease into this.  I’ve decided the simplest way to have a read along is to assume that people coming along for the ride know absolutely nothing. So if your knowledge of DCU comes solely from the Michael Keaton to George Clooney movie franchise, I got you.  This isn’t my first time at this rodeo, because comics fans are a lot like drug addicts who try to entice their buddies into the lifestyle by offering to share a pipe.

Let me fetch my pipe right quick.

Go find yourself a copy of Batman: Year One.  I’m pretty sure every box store bookstore will have this on the shelves next to the mangas from five years ago.  There are other methods of procurement you may be familiar with…going to the comics store is what I totally mean here.

Batman: Year One is the retelling of Batman’s origin story from several years back. There are many reasons I picked that, and but we’ll discuss that when I actually remark on the book itself.

Next post I’ll spew my cracktastic opinions on you and invite you to engage in return! Cheers, and happy reading!