If you have been around any of my social media, you may have noticed by now that I quite enjoy comics. They are definitely a big hobby of mine, one that I have dragged many of my friends in to and I love giving recommendations for people who aren’t in to comics yet but want to be. With all of this being true, I didn’t start reading comics myself until about three years ago. I hit the tail end of college and thanks to the combination of a really intense design program and some really rough mental health, I realized that I didn’t have any hobbies of my own. I am a very visual person and I love reading and it seemed like the perfect intersection. But then the big scary question came: “Where do I start?” If you are not familiar with the various universes of comics there are a lot, and when I say a lot I mean this is a Tolkein esque landscape of universes, languages, and canons where even a single “universe” has multiple timelines and universes within universes and to someone who has never been a part of it before, and doesn’t really have a stepping stone to get in, it is incredibly intimidating.
So I went to the internet. I was lucky enough to find one of the first videos that Amy Dallen did for the Geek and Sundry network which was literally titled “How to Start Reading Comics” (If you prefer text, here is a link to her blog post on the same subject). Amy is delightful to watch, and did a really fantastic job of breaking down different types of comics and recommending a few starting points, based on the other types of mediate that you might like. From her recommendations I picked Day Tripper. I ordered it on amazon, read it in almost one sitting and I was hooked from then on out. I’ve had some really good experiences with comic book store employees who were more than happy to give me recommendations based on what I was already reading and I am lucky enough to have my brother’s girlfriend who has happily supplied me with a wealth of comics to get me started, going and continuing in the field.
The thing that always makes me sad about talking to people about comics is the fact that over and over I have heard “I’d like to get in to comics, but its so intimidating and I feel like I get embarrassed if I say I don’t know anything.” I have heard this mostly from women, but also from men. It is such a wonderful medium, but when it comes down to it it is an expansive, varied, and simply vast set of media. I have consistently heard from women that they’re nervous to go in to a comic book store and say that they don’t know what they’re looking for, because they don’t want to be talked down to, and across the board, there is a certain amount of fear of shame that I’ve seen with people attempting to get in to comics.
So I send them Amy’s video, and I ask them what kind of movies they like or what kind of books they read, and I give them recommendations, and I love it. Seeing the look on my friends face when I ask them about the comic that I lent them the week before when they love it or hate it is wonderful, and I love the community that comes out of this medium in particular. I have had my share of “Ah, you’re a woman in a comics store, your knowledge must be tested!” experiences, but I’ve also ended up standing at the counter for 30 minutes on a slow day because the guy working saw me buying Avengers Academy and refused to let me leave without finding out who my favorite character was and making sure that I knew at least four other series that I would like based off of that.
I love hearing how people got in to their passions, so how did you get in to comics? Who got you in to it and what has your experience within the community as a newbie been like? And if you’re not in to comics, what is something that you got in to say near the end of college that you never thought you’d enjoy?