When I first decided to re-enter the world of comic book reading and collecting, I started out just reading the titles and characters that I remember from the 80’s. I have always been a DC fan, so I started back with old favourites like Batman, Superman, Justice League of America and Green Lantern. However, I soon realized when I was looking at the racks and racks of books in my local store that I must be missing out on some other great reads. But where do you start? When is a good time to jump into a series? What are some great stories and trades? Who are some up and coming creative teams that I should be following or at least paying attention to? Instead of just trying different random issues, I chose to do a bit of research. And let me tell you, with these sources I have discovered some fantastic reads like Criminal, Scalped, B.P.R.D, The Boys, G.I. Joe (by IDW), and others that I likely wouldn’t have even tried! Here are some of the resources that I used to help me discover some great reading!
One of the best resources I have found that offers a bit of a review and preview of great books or trades has been by listening to podcasts. Some of my favourite ones include:
- 11 O’Clock Comics
- Around Comics
· These podcasts all talk about recent books, creators, conventions, and all things comic related! Very funny and very informative.
- Comic Geek Speak
· This cast does a bit of everything. They talk about recent books, much like the above-mentioned casts. Also, they have special casts where they do reviews of past books like Secret Wars, JSA, etc, and also talk about comic related toys. And once a month or so, they go through the Diamond Preview book and take a look at upcoming books and series.
- Legion of Substitute Podcasters
- Tom vs. The Flash (And Tom vs. the JLA)
· These two great podcasts are focused on enjoying and dissecting their favourite series.
- Raging Bullets (DC Comics Fan podcast)
· These guys just focus on DC comics.
- Word Balloon
· This podcast talks to many of the creative minds in comics today. Writers such as Johns, Bendis, etc have been guests. Also, artists and colorists are also interviewed. Again focuses on all companies, including independent creators.
Most of these podcasts come out once a week and these guys are HUGE fans. A bit of a warning is that some of these podcasts do have adult content and use some adult language, so be careful with younger children. I get these podcasts off of the iTunes site (all for free!) and they are also available on their individual websites.
Local Comic Store
When you come into your local shop, ask the sales clerk. Chances are he or she is a HUGE comic book fan! When you are in picking up your local books, ask them what they are currently reading and enjoying. If there are a ton of people in (like most Wednesdays and Thursdays), try popping in on a Monday or Tuesday and spending a couple of minutes asking what they recommend.
Great stores also have great websites. One of my favourites is www.comicreaders.com where they have a number of contributors’ review (and preview) books. Also, on many sites they will have forums where you can communicate with other fans to debate and share your own personal thoughts on books, characters, movies, etc.
Facebook and Twitter are great ways to follow creators and some of the personalities from websites and podcasts. Many of the creators will add you to their friends list if you ask. Greg Rucka, Geoff Johns, Tom Kators (from Tom vs. The Flash), Darren Nowell (from Legion of Substitute Podcasters), the iFanBoy team, etc have added me as friends on Facebook.
And when in doubt, pick up the issue! Vertigo recently offered “Unwritten #1” for $1.00. For a buck, you can’t go wrong. And honestly, it was a GREAT book.
So do yourself a favour. This week when you come in to pick up your regular books, try one new series. An issue, a trade, a back issue, anything! You just never know when you’ll find a new favourite to enjoy and share! (Logan Drydale)