I have a confession to make – I’m not much of a comics reader. I’ve read a handful of stand-alone graphic novels, but not much beyond that. With so many titles, with such long histories, it’s a bit overwhelming figuring out how to start reading comics. Do you start with issue No. 1, or just jump in, hoping you pick up the story from context? Fortunately, I know a bevy of comic experts, and asked their advice for how to get started.
When I was a kid there was no way to start with #1 and go from there. I got them off a spinner rack at the drug store and I don’t think I ever got two consecutive issues. The spinner was pretty random. That worked better in the old days; the stories were much more condensed. I say just jump in and start reading!William Binderup, Owner, Elite Comics
My introduction into comics happened in 1st grade when my mom purchased DC Comics Presents #1 and #2. My dad encouraged my hobby in High School when he gifted me a long box of old comics for Christmas. In a way, I had no starting point, comics have always been a part of my life.My husband, David, fantasy author
If you are new to comic books it’s a good time to start. Comic books aren’t just about superheroes. They can fall under almost any category from history to murder mystery. Follow your interests. I highly recommend visiting your local comic book shop for advice. They are a great source and will be happy to help.
Comics are also more accessible than ever. If you want to try before spending money, you can hit up a library for graphic novels or try out Comixology Unlimited’s subscription service – which is like Netflix for comic books.
It can definitely be overwhelming. I recommend finding a new “relaunch point” depending on the kind of comic someone is interested in. DC Comics, for examples, does soft and hard reboots on a fairly regular basis. Then, I would get the paperback trades to make sure I really like the story. Since they are collected works, you won’t miss any issues and you’ll save a little money until you know you want to continue with it. Start slow. Pick a single series, maybe two.Derreck Meyer, Founder & Owner, Heroes Podcast Network
To start out as a comic READER, pick titles of things that interest you already. Whether it’s Star Wars or Batman or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there is probably a comic for whatever interests you. Bring your familiarity of the characters in with you to understand how to read comics. Learn how to follow the flow on the page, whether that is left to right or up to down. Sample as many different titles as you can. New comics can be expensive so check your local library to find some books or collections to read for free.Jerry McMullen, co-host of Worst.Comic.Podcast.EVER!
As a comic COLLECTOR, pick a character or title you really enjoy. Don’t feel like you have to get EVERYTHING. For a character like Superman who has been around for 80 years, that would be a lot of comics to get. If you no longer enjoy reading a book, stop buying it. You are never under any obligation to buy a book for life or until cancellation.
Once you get comfortable with reading comics, go back to your favorite book and look at the credits. Try following the writer or artist on a different book. If you like writer Tom King’s take on Batman, then try other books that he wrote such as The Sheriff of Babylon or The Vision.
If you are buying comics at a local comic shop, talk to the owner or staff for recommendations. Let them know what you enjoy reading. Odds are they can help you find a great new book to read or collect.
With books I don’t follow or haven’t followed since issue 1, I usually try to find the start of an event to jump onto. Seems easier since events can last maybe 5 issues and tend to require less prior knowledge. Then I can hit up comicstorian or something on YouTube for a summary of the issues I missed if I’m not wanting to buy the rest.Cameron L.
I was recuperating from an illness when I was young and my father brought home a variety of books from Clint’s Comics, which I devoured. Once I was better, I asked if we could go to the store and get some more. Short answer to a long story; I jumped right in!Barry P.
Share your comic reading wisdom!
What say you? When you started reading comics, did you just jump right in and start reading a series already in progress, or did you start with a #1 issue? How do you recommend someone start reading comics? Leave a comment below to help encourage others and lure them into the fold!
Find Kansas City comic book stores
Did you know I maintain a list of Kansas City comic book and gaming stores? Whether you’re looking for the latest Spider-Man comic, or a weekly D&D session, you can find it here: Comic book and gaming stores in Kansas City
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