While many of us discover the joys of comic books when we’re young, a surprising amount of fans don’t come to this hobby until later in life. For these people, the joys of delving into backlogs and starting a comic book collection are still very much on the horizon, but developing a later love for comics isn’t always easy. In fact, when you have limited time or understanding of the comic book world, it can be a pretty confusing place, especially when you’re of an age when no one would think to just buy you the latest release!
Luckily, as the popularity of the Avenger’s films continues to take even comic book newbies by storm, more adults than ever are considering inviting comics into their lives. This is fantastic news and, if you’re one such individual, then we have a few key pointers to help you create a love for comic books that you can keep close to your chest for many years to come.
# 1 – Don’t be afraid to watch a few shows
Whether you came to comic books after watching Avengers Endgame or not, our first tip is to permit yourself to watch the shows if that helps. As much as literature lovers might hate to watch the movie first, the comic book world isn’t the same, especially when you consider that there are over 400 issues of Avengers alone. With the commitments of being adult, there’s no way you can read that amount of content, especially when you don’t know if this is the comic for you yet! By streaming a channel like ConTv next time you watch live TV with DistroTV or another streaming platform, you can get a quickfire feel for plots, pacing, and the characters involved. That way, you’ll be able to know straight away whether a comic is worth delving into, or whether you would be better off moving onto the next. Luckily, comic book movies and series barely have time to break into the depth of story available in entire comic collections, meaning that you can enjoy this quick introduction without worrying about spoiling yourself in the process.
# 2 – Read comics online
You could also read comics online through platforms like Hoopla Digital, Amazon Comixology, or even franchise-specific options like Marvel Unlimited or DC Unlimited. For a fixed monthly fee, these enable you to download a certain number of comics straight to your eReader so that you can get stuck in without spending a small fortune, or having to wait.
We’ll say it right now – experiencing a comic on your Kindle really isn’t the best way to embrace this new hobby. But, like watching the shows, this is a fantastic way to get a taste of what you can expect from a franchise, and whether it’s worth investing your money. Even more importantly, digital downloads provide you access to out-of-print or otherwise unavailable comics, ensuring that you can get stuck right into the history of your storyline of choice. This way, you can ensure that you’re up to date by the time that you do start buying physical copies. Unless you prefer digital viewing, of course, in which case you can just keep right on with that subscription and save yourself a fair amount of space and money.
# 3 – Find a comic book store near you
For the comic book lovers out there, nothing beats a good comic store. After all, what could be better than seeing all of the best comic books of the moment right there in front of you, and being able to do so in some of the best company you could hope for. Lifelong friendships have been formed this way, and we don’t just mean with those comic book characters!
For newbies, especially, finding a local haunt is invaluable, enabling you to get up close and personal with other local comic book lovers, chat with staff about any recommendations they might have and even join clubs if your store offers that option. This is like the best comic education you could hope for (well, aside from this one of course!) and it’s a benefit well worth looking out for. The good news is that, even if you’ve never noticed it before, there’s a strong chance that you have a comic book store somewhere near you. Most major cities have at least some semblance of a shop like this, and no matter how small, the chances are that it’s a veritable feast of comic-based goodness.
# 4 – Start out buying one-shot comics
Once you find a store you’re going to want to start buying issues, but this is where things get tricky. After all, even with your digital reading, the chances are that you’ve barely scratched the surface of your comic world of choice. The last thing you want to do is jump right into the latest release without reading at least a few back issues to give you some context. In fact, with extended plots and overarching themes creating some of the best comic book thrills you could hope for, the further back you’re able to read, the better. But, that begs the question of what exactly you should be looking for when you buy your first physical comic.
The good news is that there is a simple solution to this dilemma, and it comes in the form of what’s known in the industry as a ‘one-shot comic’. These comics, often belonging to existing enterprises, are fully contained stories that don’t require all of that same mythology. Instead, these are, quite literally, one-shot offerings that involve entirely self-contained plots, and are released as a singular story. Admittedly, you’re not always 100% guaranteed to miss any backstory in these, but you are guaranteed a decent, satisfying reading experience regardless of what you know of the series as a whole. Some of the best one-shot comics worth spending some time with to whet your appetite include –
Obviously, though, this is always going to come down to your personal preference, so don’t be afraid to have a look around, and then sit back for a reading experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
# 5 – Get involved in the community
The comic book community is one of the best you could imagine and is welcoming to newbies and old comers alike. As touched on, your local comic store is likely a great in point for this, immediately connecting you with local comic book lovers, but that’s far from your only option. There are also some fantastic comic forums online, including the CBR community, CGC forums, and SuperHeroHype forums. Aside from these online chats, there are also meetups, events and more throughout the year, where you can both meet avid comic book lovers, and gain access to a much wider range of available comics to buy!
# 6 – Opt for stories you’re already familiar with
When you feel ready, you may want to delve into some of the overarching and much-loved stories of the comic book world. These are, after all, where the real fun starts, and at this point you should have a pretty good idea of your developing comic book tastes. Even then, you may find it daunting facing the sheer amount of comic books you could choose from. That’s why it’s always worth sticking with stories you’re already familiar with to start.
Your initial explorations and digital reading will have helped here, but even outside of that, the chances are that you’re familiar with a few primary comic book offerings, including favorites like Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man. These are stories that we’re all at least familiar with, meaning that you’ll be able to get stuck in without having to worry about too much back reading, and enabling you to finally get caught up with comic books that you’ll soon love.
# 7 – Then branch out
Once you delve into the comic book world, you’ll also come to find that there’s more to it than just superheroes (though they definitely play a large part!) With that in mind, as soon as you feel competent and have found yourself enjoying those familiar stories, it’s time to branch out into wider comic book territory, either through downloads or physical purchases. Some of the best recent non-superhero comic book series include some fantastic stories such as –
A final word
Coming to comic books at any stage of life can feel like diving onto the dance floor without any moves, but trust us, once you learn the rhythm of comic book life, you’ll be dancing like the best of them. Simply remember that you’re in the best position right now – you have all the comic books ahead of you. You just need to get out there and discover them!