Becoming a Comic Book Fiend in Three Easy Steps
Check out the Reflector’s guide to getting in-touch with your inner comic book geek
Daniel Witten, Contributor
Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past five years knows that comic book superheroes are dominating the entertainment scene.
Through big budget movies, television series and video games once relatively obscure characters are becoming pop culture icons. As is the case with most modern adaptations, this has sparked a renewed interest in the source material, however getting into comics isn’t as simple as just picking up the first novel of The Hunger Games series.
Many of these characters have been around since the 60s. That’s over fifty years’ worth of stories to get caught up on. Yikes.
However as somebody who started getting heavily into comics four years ago, I can promise that if you’ve enjoyed any of the superhero movies of the past few years you can find a comic book series that will knock your socks off.
That’s why I’m giving you three tips of how to get into the wonderful world of comics.
1. Know Your Universes: If you are going to start on comics you will need to understand the difference between DC and Marvel. These two companies are kind of like the Coke and Pepsi of the comic book industry with their rivalry being as legendary as the characters they own. But beyond the business angle these two companies each own their own distinct worlds in which hundreds of characters interact with one another. The DC universe is the home of Superman, Batman and rest of the Justice League and tends to feature characters with a lot more star power and legendary status. The Marvel Universe is the home to Spider-Man, the X-Men and all the Avengers and strives to give its characters more complex personalities and human drama. Of course there are many other great titles put out by indie publishers like Dark Horse and IDW but I recommend DC and Marvel for newcomers since these two have the most expansive and richest worlds.
2. Pick a Character: The easiest way to start is to pick a character that you find interesting. All the recent media coverage makes it easy to get a basic idea of who Spider-Man and Batman are and what their stories are about. Pick a character who you thought was interesting in a movie and start from there. Now I can already hear many of you point out “But isn’t Marvel kicking DC’s butt with all the movies they put out?” You’re right, but what you may be unaware of is that DC has been kicking Marvel’s butt in the realm of animation. DC has a plethora of animated movies and TV series that are not only wildly entertaining, but surprisingly sophisticated. Once you find a character you like it’s just a matter of heading down to a comic book shop and picking out a book that looks interesting to you.
3. Use the Wikis: Once you start reading your new comic book you will inevitably have two thoughts: “gosh darn it this is cool, I should’ve started reading comics years ago” and “who the heck are all these characters I don’t recognize?” That’s when it’s time to turn to our good friend Wikipedia. There are individual wiki databases (such as the Marvel database at marvel.wikia.com) where you can get tons of useful background knowledge on literally any character you meet comics. You can use these resources to learn all about the history of your character of choice or to learn about new characters who you could find out are even more interesting to you than the character you originally picked. One friend I recently said he started out thinking he would like Iron Man because of the recent films, but soon fell in love with a character named Agent Venom whom he never would have met if he hadn’t started somewhere. Comics are great because they can go into a thousand different styles and genres and wikis are a perfect resource to navigate this world of endless possibilities.
There has never been a better time to be a comic book fan. Media exposure has made the characters more accessible than ever and the writing and art of comics has improved so much since its humble beginning to captivate all audiences from literary critics to adrenaline junkies.