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The easiest choice is the indie market. These are smaller press books that are usually limited to miniseries or are easily collected in trade paper backs making them easy to digest. Scott Pilgrim is a great example of an indie book, with a self-contained plot that really only requires you to read six issues to get the entire story. Vertigo’s books are usually the next thing that people pick up. They’re easy to find and very accessible. Things like Fables, 100 Bullets, Y the Last Man and Ex-Machina are great starter issues and usually anyone that is already reading comics, will recommend one or all of these titles to read. They’re safe, fun and different from what people typically think of when it comes to comics.
For another successful ‘Indie’ formula look no further than companies like Boom! Studios, Radical Comics, Archaia Press and IDW Publishing. These are companies that focus on putting out miniseries in most cases that are easy to pick up and almost always make it to trades after the series wraps. Occasionally they nourish an ongoing title, but even then the trades go through multiple prints and are easy to catch up on. What’s also great about the afore mentioned companies is that they tend to avoid the superhero genre and deliver unique stories in the world of Sci-fi, action, horror, romance and just about anything else you can think of.
Say you want to grab the bull by the horns and figure out 70 years of Batman, or why the X-Men are no longer in a school or what the hell a Skrull is and why everyone is so damn tired of them or the big one… why the hell is it important that Superman is walking across the country? Let’s say you want to be a part of the “typical” comic reader group, the elites, the fanboys and fangirls, those nerdy bastards that pick a part every movie and comic their favorite character ever appeared in… how do you get there?
Well it’s simple. Every Wednesday go to your local comic store and buy comics. Buy anything, buy what you can afford, buy what looks pretty, buy what everyone else is buying and buy what no one else is buying, just buy a comic. There’s honestly no “good” jumping on point and there’s a million storylines, trade paper backs and one shots that you could read but it’ll never catch you up. You’ll never understand how cool Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were at the time, or how profound Watchmen was, or why “No More Mutants” forever changed the Marvel Universe because it’s already past you by.
What you can do, is be there for the next one. That way you’re there for the next 100 Bullets, the next Scott Pilgrim or in some cases the next Brand New Day or Batman R.I.P. The beautiful thing about comics is that they always recap themselves. Publishers want to introduce new readers to characters and as such they will always make sure that you’re included in what’s going on. You may not be as freaked out by Barry Allen’s return as someone who’s been waiting for the character for 20 plus years but maybe you’ll look back on the profound storytelling in Superman #701 as a pinnacle moment in Superman’s development as a character.
The point is there’s no easy way to begin reading comics and the people that read comics all had to jump in at one point and just figure out for themselves what the hell was going on. But that doesn’t stop there from being two paths to choose from. The indie market will always introduce something new and short lived making it easy to follow. Or you can dive in with the big publishers and sort it out until it makes sense. The great thing about comic fans is that they love telling other people about the issues and stories they’ve read and thus sharing their comic knowledge.
If you’re looking for a great place to start you’ll hopefully notice that we don’t just cover what the comic book industry calls the “Big Two” of Marvel and DC Comics. We lean towards the more accessible markets like Top Cow, Boom!, Archaia, Radical and Oni, because these are what people should be looking at for the next big thing. If you’re in need of suggestions ask the team, we all have varying likes and dislikes and can probably find something for you to read. If you don’t know where to buy comics then fear not, the industry has thought of everything for you. Just head here and they’ll find one for you until your nerd sense kicks in and you can find a comic shop in any town you’re in. Until then happy reading!
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