My (Brief) History of Comic Reading

I’ve been thinking about how I got into comics a lot recently, and I just wanted to share it with you.

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When I was really young, I bought two Batman comics. They were both Toys R Us ones, but I remember that one featured Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze, while the other featured the Penguin. A couple years after buying them, I found them in my basement, and showed them to my father. He told me that they weren’t real comics, and I wouldn’t like real comics, so I may as well throw them out. I did, but not until after I read them.

I was under 10 at that point. Up until around May of last year, I didn’t touch another comic book. I considered myself a nerdy girl; I love Harry Potter and Star Wars, and was raised listening to the Hobbit before bed. But comics always seemed like a very daunting task, one I wasn’t sure I could take on. I went to New York Comic Con in 2011 and was amazed by what I saw. The amount of comics and art everywhere, but it was extremely overwhelming. So I didn’t do anything about it.

Sure, I had seen the Batman movies, and paid some attention to other happenings, but I was scared. The world of comics is a big one, and I felt very tardy to the party. Most of the people that I know who read comics have been reading since they were very young, and there I was, 19, and unsure of where to enter. So around May, I went to a comic shop.

I’m pretty sure it was the first one I had ever been in. It was pretty big, and even more overwhelming than I had thought. There were books everywhere, along with figures, toys, and posters. I remember looking around, confused, but afraid to ask for help. I’m not a big fan of the stereotype that females in comic shops are always lost, but for my first trip in, I was grateful. I looked up from the stands of books and looked around the store, about to ask for help, and there were at least 3 gents at my side, ready to help.

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I had no idea what I was doing, so I really appreciated them. Everyone had different ideas, but I still wasn’t sure what I wanted. So I looked at the guy who actually worked there and asked for something simple and finite. One of my biggest problems with comics is that story arcs seem to blend into one another, with no real beginning or end. Sure, I could work my ass off to find the first printed Batman comic ever, but I don’t have that kind of time or money. So I wanted something with an exact beginning and end. He brought me to Scott Pilgrim. I was skeptical. I remember thinking it would be too babyish, and I would be bored. But I bought the first two, and left.

I finished the first one on the way to dinner, the second while waiting for my food. Babyish was not the right way to describe these books. Sure, the art was different from what I was expecting, but it was fun and unique. But reading the first two wasn’t enough. When I got home that night, I ordered the third and fourth books. Of course, the fourth got to my apartment first. Waiting, I realized, is awful. So I ordered the rest of the series, and started asking other people for their suggestions. I had seen something with Harley Quinn on it at the comic store, but I wasn’t sure what it was all about.

What I had seen was the trade paperback of the Suicide Squad from the New 52. I started looking into the New 52 and found out that it was a revamp, a new start. It was a new approach to the stories of 52 of DC Comics’ characters, and I was just in time to hop on board. So I bought that. But that story wasn’t done, I had to wait for more of those. And waiting is still difficult. So I looked for more suggestions. “Watchmen,” I was told. I remembered having seen something about a movie a year or two before, so I ordered that as well.

Luckily, that came quickly. I was finishing off the Scott Pilgrim Series when I started Watchmen. I took my time with Watchmen because it was a longer, differently complex story than Pilgrim was. Plus it’s the best selling graphic novel of all time, so I had to make sure that it got all of the time that it needed. And I loved every minute of it.

So that’s how it started. From there I read Court of Owls and anything else I could get my hands on. I started the Fables series, and am currently very attached to some of the characters. I had the opportunity to meet Bill Willingham, and was lucky enough to get his signature on my favorite cover at NYCC 2012 (my friend over at the Evil Geeks got to interview him, check that out here).

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Since then, I’ve added Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Deadpool, along with starting the Crisis series’, among others. I read whatever I can find on Batman either at the library or at my local shop, and am always looking for suggestions. Recently I picked up the first trade paperback of Saga, the first two Sin City novels, a short run from Marvel’s Oz series, and have started reading webcomics. I think the realm of comics and graphic novels holds a world of possibility, you just have to start in on it.

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If you have any suggestions for me to read, or just want to talk about what you like to read, you can email me at fangirlsarewe@gmail.com or tweet @DoTheFangirl. Read on, Fangirls and Fanboys!

All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners.

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2 thoughts on “My (Brief) History of Comic Reading

  1. I’ve been wanting to read comics for so long now, but I have no idea where to even start with most things. Watchmen is the best thing ever, it’s ones of the best books I’ve ever read never mind graphic novel. That’s self-contains so it was easy. Same with Arkham Asylum (mind blowing!) and the Frank Miller Dark Knight ones. I have also Rex Libris which is brilliant and hilarious (especially the first volume). Anything else and I feel so overwhelmed! I have the first volume of the New 52 Batgirl (it was a new start to easy to jump in).. I’m going to have to wait for the paperback of vol. 2 (it’s also all so expensive and I’m too poor!). I’d love to read some X-Men but that whole universe is mind boggling!

    Fable is on my list to give a go at some point!

    It’s just most of the superhero stuff is so expansive and stories cross into others all over the place, it seems impenetrable to a newbie.

    Great post!

    • It’s frustrating, isn’t it? There are so many stories and universes, especially with superheroes. It’s too vast. That’s what I really appreciate about the Marvel Now and New 52 ideas; they give us a place to start, a beginning.

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