up, up, and away!! – comic books 101
Who doesn’t like escaping into a fantasy world filled with heroes wearing tights who can always save the day?
I don’t remember exactly how old I was when got my first comic. In my youth, I was reading them here and didn’t read regularly until the Death of Superman. That event was in 1993, I was 8 at the time. I got hooked!! I was so captivated by not just the story but heard the mainstream media buzz surrounding it. 8 year old me loved seeing comics make the news.
Not only did Superman die, but four new ones came back (spoilers – no one really stays dead in comics). It was a fun guessing game figuring out which one was the real deal. It turned out that it wasn’t any of these four. Although these new characters weren’t actually beloved Clark Kent, they have stuck around and been part of DC since.
I didn’t just fall in love with Superman, I also got into Batman, X-Men, Spider-Man, and many others. Turns out, there’s a lot of comics out there. There are two main publishers, DC and Marvel, with a bunch of smaller ones, IDW, Dark Horse, and Image to name a few.
Comics tend to be released monthly, which means only one issue of Superman, Batman, or X-Men comes out in a month. Popular characters tend to have multiple titles like Action Comics, Detective Comics, Wolverine, and the like. During big crossover events like Death of Superman, the story comes quicker by being told across titles. Typically new comics are released on Wednesdays. DC switched it up recently, but you can still find me in the comic shop on Wednesday.
There’s a few different ways to read comics. You can go the route I prefer and pick up single issues week by week at my local comic shop (referred to as LCS in collecting lingo). I protect my comics with a board and a bag, so they don’t get bent or soiled, and store my issues in a ‘long box’ which is designed especially for storing comics. I pick up boards, bags, and long boxes from my comics shop. Most comics shops should have these.
Most major publishers also do digital releases now. Personally, I like to hold the comic in my hand. You can also wait for the story to get collected into a Trade Paperbacks (TPB), sometimes called a Graphic Novel. I’ll grab TPBs for stories I missed the beginning of; when the single issues are costly; or it’s a book I wouldn’t typically buy. TPBs are a great way to get into the hobby if you’re intimidated by having to hunt down old issues.
That covers the basics of collecting comics. I’ll dig more into the nuts and bolts of comics in a future post.
As always thanks for reading.