Confessions of a Comic Book Novice

Confession: I have recently gotten into reading comic books.  Yes, as a recently married 29-year old woman this might seem like an odd hobby to suddenly pick up but let me explain…

This is due to a couple of reasons: The first is I just recently finished the entire Game of Thrones book series, better known as A Song of Ice and Fire by crazy, heartless author (no, not really) George R. R. Martin. After reading 7,000 pages of straight text, I found I wanted to read something with pictures.

So there’s that.

Also, for the past two months, the husband and I have been going to The Geek Easy every Sunday night. In my aforementioned Game of Thrones post, The Geek Easy is essentially a sports bar for nerds (without the sports).  The Geek Easy is located behind A Comic Shop, a fantastic comic book shop tucked away in a nondescript plaza.  As a result, I have had exposure to all kinds of comic books and graphic novels.  I have also attended a few comic-cons in the past (MegaCons and also the now-defunct FX International), but the world of comic books has always seemed overwhelming and slightly inscrutable to me.

Throughout the years, I’ve mostly stuck to comics that I know (a.k.a. Serenity, Dexter, WatchmenV for Vendetta) from films or TV.  But I wanted to read more from characters I know from superhero movies and also explore lesser known ones that feature great art and storylines.

What comic books should I read? How do I know which ones are better than others?  Which artist/authors should I embrace?  Whom should I avoid? (For example, how do I know to read this fantastic Wolverine comic book and not that terrible one?) 

Luckily, I have a couple of friends who are comic book experts. My friend Andy hand-picked and lent a couple of comic books for me to whet my appetite.  They did not disappoint:

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Wolverine: Old Man Logan
This story features Wolverine/Logan as an old man, in dystopian world well-worn of heroes and villains.  The plot is INSANE, cleverly weaving together well-known Marvel characters.  Andy reminded me that these were released as individual comic books so that is why there is a crazy cliffhanger at the end of each installment. I’ve heard online rumors that the next Wolverine movie may very well draw inspiration from this particular comic book and if so, that would be OFF THE CHAIN.

Batman: The Killing Joke
This graphic novel had a completely different vibe than Old Man Logan and it was quite intriguing to read these side by side.  It gives an interesting take on The Joker’s origins.  The conclusion is very ambiguous which also adds to the intrigue.  It reminded me of the first Batman movie with Michael Keaton, which makes sense because apparently this is Tim Burton’s favorite comic book storyline.

Andy also suggested borrowing comic books from the library, as collecting them can start to be quite an expensive hobby.  I recently checked out Wolverine vs. The Hulk (by Lost writer Damon Lindelof) and the husband also recently bought me Wolverine in Japan.  

As I’m reading more, I’m starting to truly appreciate the value, intrigue and enjoyment of comic books as a completely distinct and separate medium from books, television and movies. I’m discovering there are storylines, visualizations and possibilities that only comic books can fully bring to life in a way that no other medium can approximate.

Plus, it doesn’t take as long to read as a 1,000+ page novel does.

I hope this means I’m leveling up in the comic book world.

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