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9 Tips And Tricks To Get You Into Comic Books

We all start somewhere.

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Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed / Marvel Comics

It can be overwhelming (to put it mildly) when you're interested in getting into comic books but don't know where to start.

So where DO you start? How in the hell do you find your entry point or even...do the thing? There's no one way, but here are some tried and true tips for getting your feet wet.

1. Think about what TV shows, movies, and books you already like.

Lionsgate
NBC
Columbia Pictures

Not just the superheroic ones! The comic book landscape is as diverse as any other medium when it comes to subject matter, narrative, and artistry – often times the easiest way in is through the preferences you already have. Love noir-y mysteries? There are a ton of those! Dark, gritty? Hooo, boy! Cute and wacky sitcom-y funtimes? Squirrel Girl exists! Looking for something with an awesome lady at its center? There are heaps of those!

These are all good places to start. Look at what you like; there are probably loads of corresponding comics just waiting to be loved.

2. Pay attention to what gets you hype from the comic movies and TV boom.

There's a reason people flipped a delighted shit when Marvel announced that Black Panther and Captain Marvel were getting solo films – part of that was because these are beloved-ass characters. They've also got recent beloved runs attached to them: Kelly Sue DeConnick's Captain Marvel is already iconic, and the Black Panther run <<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/alannabennett/bow-down-to-tchalla">Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing is just getting started but is already well-regarded. And if you're hype for the eventual Justice League there are a TON of options, including but not limited to Morrison's JLA. If you're going for characters already onscreen for Marvel or DC, there are loads of options there as well: If you love Jessica Jones, maybe jump on Alias; for Black Widow, maybe check out the Edmonson/Noto run; if you're all about Wonder Woman, maybe try Gail Simone or Greg Rucka's runs. Etc! Most of the characters you see onscreen in TV and movie fare adapted from comics probably have a good entrypoint to be found – it only takes some poking around to find it if you're interested.
Marvel Studios / Warner Bros.

There's a reason people flipped a delighted shit when Marvel announced that Black Panther and Captain Marvel were getting solo films – part of that was because these are beloved-ass characters. They've also got recent beloved runs attached to them: Kelly Sue DeConnick's Captain Marvel is already iconic, and the Black Panther run <<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/alannabennett/bow-down-to-tchalla">Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing is just getting started but is already well-regarded. And if you're hype for the eventual Justice League there are a TON of options, including but not limited to Morrison's JLA.

If you're going for characters already onscreen for Marvel or DC, there are loads of options there as well: If you love Jessica Jones, maybe jump on Alias; for Black Widow, maybe check out the Edmonson/Noto run; if you're all about Wonder Woman, maybe try Gail Simone or Greg Rucka's runs. Etc! Most of the characters you see onscreen in TV and movie fare adapted from comics probably have a good entrypoint to be found – it only takes some poking around to find it if you're interested.

3. Jump on something newer instead of trying to gobble up all of comics history.

For example, the Ms. Marvel run centered on Kamala Khan premiered in 2013, and so doesn&#x27;t have the intimidating 75 years of canon pile-up that, say, Captain America does. Her run&#x27;s still short enough for digestibility, and the vibe coming off of Marvel Comics these days is pretty much to GET 👏 🏽ON 👏🏽BOARD 👏🏽 WITH 👏🏽 KAMALA 👏🏽. It&#x27;s time. There&#x27;s new stuff coming out all the time, and recent runs are a good way to go – they&#x27;ll often still make callbacks to past canon, but they&#x27;re also designed to let new readers in. Some recent runs that serve as good entry points include Lumberjanes, Moon Girl, Squirrel Girl, and Black Panther. Way more can be found here. And if the new character you&#x27;re glomming onto is a superhero with Marvel or DC, chances are they&#x27;ll have run-ins with some classic mega-faves before too long (see above). Another thing to remember is that there are wikis for pretty much every comics character out there, if you&#x27;re looking for more background info and context to help your way through.
Marvel Comics / Via Ms. Marvel

For example, the Ms. Marvel run centered on Kamala Khan premiered in 2013, and so doesn't have the intimidating 75 years of canon pile-up that, say, Captain America does. Her run's still short enough for digestibility, and the vibe coming off of Marvel Comics these days is pretty much to GET 👏 🏽ON 👏🏽BOARD 👏🏽 WITH 👏🏽 KAMALA 👏🏽. It's time.

There's new stuff coming out all the time, and recent runs are a good way to go – they'll often still make callbacks to past canon, but they're also designed to let new readers in. Some recent runs that serve as good entry points include Lumberjanes, Moon Girl, Squirrel Girl, and Black Panther. Way more can be found here. And if the new character you're glomming onto is a superhero with Marvel or DC, chances are they'll have run-ins with some classic mega-faves before too long (see above). Another thing to remember is that there are wikis for pretty much every comics character out there, if you're looking for more background info and context to help your way through.

4. Don't just look at the Big Two.

Don&#x27;t get me wrong: Use WHATEVER inspiration you have to find your entrypoint, including but not limited to blockbusters. But also remember that while Marvel and DC are the most mainstream publishers of comics, they&#x27;re far from the only ones in the game. There&#x27;s a glorious shit-ton of amazing work coming out of Image Comics and so (SO) many more.
Image Comics / BOOM! Studios

Don't get me wrong: Use WHATEVER inspiration you have to find your entrypoint, including but not limited to blockbusters. But also remember that while Marvel and DC are the most mainstream publishers of comics, they're far from the only ones in the game. There's a glorious shit-ton of amazing work coming out of Image Comics and so (SO) many more.

5. Ask for recommendations wherever you can, including your local comic book store

Guides are helpful, and often necessary when you&#x27;re trying to broach an entire medium. If you have friends who are in to comics, ask them. Use your network, ask on social media, browse comics-related blogs on Tumblr and see if you like their ~vibes~ – put feelers out in general, especially to people who know your preferences enough to know what you might like. If you don&#x27;t know anyone into comics or you just want an expert opinion, you can also walk into a comic book store and ask. This is the scary option, I know! And comic book shops aren&#x27;t historically the friendliest of places to people who don&#x27;t already know every run of every complete history of everything Batman has every done on-page and off. But if there&#x27;s one consensus it&#x27;s that the attitude really depends on the place, so do some light google searching about your local comic book stores to find which one might fit you the best. Chances are there&#x27;s someone in your area real eager to fill you in on which runs are best suited to what you&#x27;re looking for.
instagram.com

Guides are helpful, and often necessary when you're trying to broach an entire medium. If you have friends who are in to comics, ask them. Use your network, ask on social media, browse comics-related blogs on Tumblr and see if you like their ~vibes~ – put feelers out in general, especially to people who know your preferences enough to know what you might like.

If you don't know anyone into comics or you just want an expert opinion, you can also walk into a comic book store and ask. This is the scary option, I know! And comic book shops aren't historically the friendliest of places to people who don't already know every run of every complete history of everything Batman has every done on-page and off. But if there's one consensus it's that the attitude really depends on the place, so do some light google searching about your local comic book stores to find which one might fit you the best. Chances are there's someone in your area real eager to fill you in on which runs are best suited to what you're looking for.

6. Look into ComiXology and other helpful apps and sites designed to turn you into a comics reader.

ComiXology
ComiXology

ComiXology is the easiest place I've found to buy and read digital comics online and in their app. Among its features is Guided View, which senses comics panels and zooms in to the parts of any page so that you don't miss important details even if you're reading on a small device. It's honestly a godsend, especially if you're looking for more recent comics and want them to automatically come to your device week-to-week.

Another thing to consider is Marvel Unlimited, which is basically Netflix for Marvel comics: You get to read as many Marvel properties as you want for $9.99 a month. The main catch is that series don't hit MU until they're six months old, but it's amazing for if you're looking to catch up on runs that may not be the absolute newest. Personally, part of how I fell in love with comics last year was by bingeing the Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie Young Avengers and the Matt Fraction/David Aja Hawkeye on MU every time I was alone with my phone or my iPad.

7. Consider what format you'd like to read in.

The apps mentioned above are pretty good at finding cool ways to help you read on small devices, but for some people reading on their phone&#x27;s a non-starter. If that&#x27;s the case for you, try some kind of tablet if you have one – or, obviously, you can always go with physical individual comics or trades*. *FYI: Trades are the collections of the individual comics, as opposed to the thin comic books that come out week-to-week during a run. Think volumes vs. issues. So basically you can choose whether to consume comics weekly like a TV show currently on the air, or all at once like you&#x27;re binge-watching or reading a book.
Emmanuel Dunand / AFP / Getty Images

The apps mentioned above are pretty good at finding cool ways to help you read on small devices, but for some people reading on their phone's a non-starter. If that's the case for you, try some kind of tablet if you have one – or, obviously, you can always go with physical individual comics or trades*.

*FYI: Trades are the collections of the individual comics, as opposed to the thin comic books that come out week-to-week during a run. Think volumes vs. issues. So basically you can choose whether to consume comics weekly like a TV show currently on the air, or all at once like you're binge-watching or reading a book.

8. Experiment.

That time when you&#x27;re new to a thing is the best time to mess around with it and try a bunch of things at once. The first comic you read might not always be the one that sends you over the moon and turns you into a comics devotee for life, so be willing to dip your toes into a bunch of stuff, because there&#x27;s a lot to see. There are ways to assist yourself in this endeavor: Devour reclists, of course; talk to friends or acquaintances who like comics and can guide you; or sign up for a service like Landfall Freight, which is basically a Birchbox for graphic novels, comics, and zines (one of their hauls is pictured above). And don&#x27;t forget your local public library – comics, like any entertainment medium, cost money, and libraries should always be used to their fullest potential, ESPECIALLY when you&#x27;re still figuring out what you&#x27;re into.
instagram.com

That time when you're new to a thing is the best time to mess around with it and try a bunch of things at once. The first comic you read might not always be the one that sends you over the moon and turns you into a comics devotee for life, so be willing to dip your toes into a bunch of stuff, because there's a lot to see.

There are ways to assist yourself in this endeavor: Devour reclists, of course; talk to friends or acquaintances who like comics and can guide you; or sign up for a service like Landfall Freight, which is basically a Birchbox for graphic novels, comics, and zines (one of their hauls is pictured above). And don't forget your local public library – comics, like any entertainment medium, cost money, and libraries should always be used to their fullest potential, ESPECIALLY when you're still figuring out what you're into.

9. Just pick a thing and dive in.

As with anything, at some point you just have to do it and 💫see what happens💫.
Marvel Comics

As with anything, at some point you just have to do it and 💫see what happens💫.

Have a tip we missed? Hit the comments to share your knowledge!

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