With the world of superheroes quickly gaining popularity, you may finally find yourself questioning why you haven’t yet picked up a comic book. Maybe you wanted to, but didn’t know where in the numerous parallel universes or labels to start. There are back stories, crossovers, clones, and reprints with variant covers that stand in the way of a newcomer finding their dream subscriptions. It is a world that has existed for almost a century, but with a few easy tips, you can easily narrow down who and what you should purchase first.
The two main labels you should know in comics are Marvel and DC. They have their own roster of characters, however sometimes are able to crossover and share characters as they did in the comic series of battles entitled “DC vs Marvel” in the 90’s. Depending on the types of character traits you prefer in your superheroes, you may find yourself reading series from both labels. With Spider-Man, Avengers, and X-men belonging to Marvel there is a very large following of all ages. And DC can boast the same with characters like Batman, Superman, Teen Titans, and the Justice League.
One of the first questions you should ask yourself when looking for the ideal character, or series, to follow is: Do you want your superhero to be human? This easily sets aside characters like Batman, who’s journey began with vengeance and continued with a sense of civil duty, or characters like Superman, who was sent to Earth by his parents to save him from his planet’s destruction. If you feel you don’t have a preference, think about what you want from your comic. If you want to identify with your hero, you’ll want to choose an average Joe that was suddenly bitten by a radioactive spider, or had an unfortunate accident with Gamma Rays.
Another important inquiry would be whether you would prefer to follow a male or female superhero. Granted, although there are many more male choices than female, the comic book world has really given women the opportunity to be just as dangerous, fearless, and infinitely sexier than the male roles. Each character has their own personality and style, but with the amount of choices that currently exist and will exist in the near future, there’s undoubtedly a hero or villain for everyone to follow.
With the two questions you’ve asked yourself thus far, if you’d choose a woman that is human (or just began that way), try catching up on Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers. Pre-order Captain Marvel #1 for March 12th, 2014 here! If you’d prefer to escape from everyday life and read about a woman that never had to struggle with puny mundane human existence, try reading about the sub-race of human and sultry illusionist, Zatanna Zatarra. Pre-order Black Canary & Zatanna Bloodspell graphic novel available May 21, 2014 here!
If you’ve decided that a male character is more along the lines of what you’re excited to read, the same questions apply. Just beginning in comics, it may be wise to avoid the mainstream and obvious options like Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman solely for the reason that they’ve been in existence for so long that the amount of variations and parallel universe characters may make it a bit overwhelming. If you already know a bit about those heroes, try comics like Avengers Undercover, or a series, to get you a taste of superhero teams. Pre-order Avengers Undercover #1 available March 12, 2014!
An important point to remember is the care of your comic books. For every comic book you purchase, request a bag and board. Most, if not all, comic shops sell their comics already in the bag and boarded. This simple and incredibly inexpensive habit preserves your books and ensures their value. Click to buy BAGS – 100pk! Click to buy BOARDS – 100pk! Another item you’ll want to invest in is called a long box, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a long cardboard box with a lid that allows you to safely and easily organize your collection. You can order these online with your subscriptions or pick them up at your local comic book store.
You’re not going to love every comic book you pick up, or every character you read, but you will gain an appreciation for the stories and the artwork. If you enjoy the style of a certain comic, but couldn’t care less about the character, try researching the artists listed on the cover to see what other projects they’re involved in. Before you know it, you’ll be a regular customer online or in the shop talking about The Amazing vs The Ultimate Spider-Man, or the fate of Dark Horse comics now that Marvel owns the Star Wars franchise. One way or another, welcome to comics!