Everytime I do a survey of the good and bad things in my life reading comics always comes up as one of the best things that ever happened to me. It's simply one of those things I'll never regret - a source of joy. And we can all use more of that, can't we?
The core attraction of comics is the fundamental, and primeval, attraction of stories. The art of storytelling is as old as humanity and will always be with us. That's what comics are, words and pictures that make up a story.
I don't remember what my first comic book was, but it must have been a good one because it led to another one, and the next, and the one after that - until I had a small pile. I remember taking out this bunch of comics when I was very young, there were around thirty or so issues, it was a sunny afternoon as I sat down in the living room to re-read my pile of comics.
I was lucky that my first comic book was a good read. It could just as easily have been a bad one. A bad enough comic would have made me drop the hobby right then and there.
If you're picking up your first comic to find out if comic books are something you want to get into, I would like to suggest that you begin with comics that the majority of readers have identified as being exceptional. There are plenty of lists in the internet; I have compiled one such list of recommended comics on this site. Each entry starts with a brief introduction, relevant links, and other features, all with the purpose of letting you assess if you'll like the comic book. This spoiler-free section will be followed by a commentary with spoilers that will go in-depth into the work. Suggestive links to other entries are also presented as well as links to online sellers.
My intent - aside from trying to earn money by selling you comic books - is to focus on a short list of what is generally agreed upon as the best comics ever. If you're a new reader, you deserve to find out just how good comics can be. If you're a veteran collector, maybe I have some entries in the list that you've missed. Or, maybe I've misssed some gems from your list, in which case, go ahead and drop me a line. Time is too precious for bad comics, that's the basic idea here.
The time will come when you will become aware of the comic book concept of universes. That comics published by a particular company like Marvel or DC or Image all happen in the same space, and a story in one issue affects characters in another - a shared universe where the stories occur, building up on top of each other forming rich histories out of the contributions of all the writers and artists, editors and colorists, letterers and inkers who have worked in comics through the years. The older the publishing house the richer the universe. The richer the universe the more interesting the stories become. The more you know about a particular universe the more you'll appreciate the issues you read that happen in that universe.
Without any effort, your hobby becomes even more engaging. You find yourself logging on to websites and participating in online forums. You buy not just the comicbooks but publications about comicbooks. You get to know the biographies of favorite artists and writers and find yourself interested in the goings-on within the comic book industry. All this happens without effort; it all just naturally follows, creating an aspect of your life that was not there before. A place of fun, a place where you can get excited, and, dare I say it? Happy.
And who doesn't want to be happy?Posted by Pete Albano - January 15, 2011