Wednesday, April 5, 2017

On beginning to read comics

Due to a free trial on Comixology (through Amazon), I have found myself reading comics. This is something I’ve never done before (except for reading a handful of The Walking Dead and a biography on Andre the Giant) and it’s been a strange change for me.
Comics are growing more and more popular and most libraries now offer huge amounts of comic books (mostly volumes of comics) to devoted readers. The fact that you can read comics digitally (you don’t even have to leave the house or talk to people!) also changes the game - a larger population can now access and enjoy this growing art form.
For me, comics have been a difficult change for these reasons:

-I’m a quick reader. I tend to skim through boring parts of books (and sometimes through books in general) and my mind wanders often when I’m reading. This is not something you can afford to do in comics. If you skim one box in a comic (do these boxes have a name? Goodness, I’m a noob), you can completely miss what’s going on for the rest of the story.
-AND THERE ARE PICTURES. I keep finding myself reading the words and skipping the pictures and having to go back to look at all the pictures to understand what’s going on. It’s a difficult transition and I need to get used to it. I keep telling myself that I’ll be fine as long as I know who’s talking, but that’s a lie and I need to pay more attention.
-So much can happen in one comic, or not a lot can happen. I recently read Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick and the entire volume setup what would happen in the next several volumes. It was fascinating and I learned a lot about several of the characters, but, for me, it was too big a time and energy commitment for such a small reward.
-You have to wait for sooooo long for each next section. And each new comic that gets released only tells a small part of the story. I have a hard time waiting on full sequels (I sometimes wait to start a series until most of the series has been released because of this), so having to wait for the next volume of comics to come out is not something I can handle.
-Comics are so… It kind of hurts me to read faddish books (which is absolutely ridiculous and very snobby and I’m getting help) and comics feel like the latest cool kid thing. I’m trying to read them partly to combat this snobbish-ness (and also because I suffer from a contradictory FOMO thing - help!) and I do think it’s getting better.
-Comics lately (I can’t speak for comics throughout time) seem to cover some very serious topics - racism, sexism, homophobia, conformity - and I’m not always in the mood to read these topics since I confront them every day at work and in the news. When I read, I want to have fun and I want it to be something different than what I experience every day and, while many comics do that for me, an equal number don’t. For me, books are a sort of escapism and a way to learn about something new - not to rehash what I already saw in the news that day.
-There are so many comics (too many?! Gah - that’s like saying there are too many books) and I don’t even know where to start. I keep randomly downloading the ones with covers I like, but some haven’t caught my fancy as much as I wanted them to. I need a comic reader advisory person to tell me EXACTLY which comics I’ll like.

So help me out. Since I’m still a beginner, what comics should I be starting with while I still have my free Comixology trial? (Keep in mind that enough of the right comics might convince me to keep up my subscription!)


  1. I just got ComiXology too although I've been reading comics for years, and I really like it. The digital revolution is here in comics I guess. :) But it is nice to just be able to read them online.

    As far as recommendations, it really depends on what you like. Kelly Sue DeConnick does get some good buzz, but looks like you have tried her already. I've heard good things about Lumberjanes (supposed to be funny and cute) and Saga (science fiction but pretty graphic I guess)- I haven't read either. Happy hunting!

    1. It's such a fun way to use comics! I'm glad you've been liking it too:)
      Thanks for the suggestions. I ADORED Lumberjanes, but I haven't tried out Saga yet. I'll definitely add it to my TBR.