Research: A comic book newbie's best friend!

Okay, so we've recently tackled in depth the most important thing to do before diving head-first into the comic book reading habit (especially if you've got a bit of a tight budget like mine). You've thought about what sorts of stories interest you...but if you've never read or seen a comic book before, where do you really start?

Like all good and thrifty people, research goes a long way into ensuring that you know what you're getting into.

Of course, there are a lot of ways to go about researching comics you want to try out, but for the purposes of this article I will only use probably the easiest method...which is the internets!

So what are the best places to check out which titles fit the genres that interest you? For starters, you could always check the official sites of the publishing companies that...uh...publish the comics you might be looking for. Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics and Dynamite Entertainment are some of the mainstream comic book companies out there and they have listings of ever comic book they publish, and they're good places to start if you just want a general idea of what to look for. Marvel in particular offers free digital comics, which are free online versions of the comics they publish. A nice way to check out some of their stuff before jumping in.

If you've seen the comics that are out there, but still want to know a little bit more about them (wow, we're bordering on obsessive/compulsive here) like, what's the art like? Is the ongoing story anything interesting? Then you can go to comic book news sites. Some of the more popular sites include Newsarama and Comic Book Resources. They have company, artist and writer interviews, comic industry news, and 5-6 page previews of upcoming comic books coming out that month. For a first-time yet discerning comic book reader, they're wonderful resources (hee!) to look into.

But what if you know what you want, and you have some inkling on the comic books you want to buy, but the previews and reviews aren't doing it for you? Then you should ask real (well, as real as the faceless Internet can allow) people to give you suggestions on where to start! As you may well know, official previews can only give you so much, but more often than not they're going to say they're awesome even if oftentimes they aren't. And what better way to know if a comic is good or not than to ask the real people who've read them?

You could start by registering to online forums/message boards that specifically cater to comic books. The aforementioned Newsarama and Comic Book Resources have their own message boards (as well as some of the official websites I mentioned above) and the people there more often than not are nice and knowledgeable and willing to help newbies who want to start reading comics.

With the advent of the internet, these days it's now easier and to know more about comic books for the comic book newbie. And if you want to start reading comics but want to get your money's worth, there's no excuse not be informed. Who knows? Somewhere out there waits the right comic book for you!

So you know what you want, and you've researched about the potential comics that interest you...but where do you go with all that information? Why, to a comic book shop of course! But is it as scary as you think it is? We'll tackle that bit next time! For now, if you have any questions or want to add anything to this post, the comment link below is your friend and mine! Thanks for reading!

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  1. I have particularly found the free first issues on sites like Image Comics very helpful for finding out if I realy want to follow a particular book or not.

    When my comic budget was particularly tight, I also went to an actual book and mortar library or two and checked out every single graphic novel on their shelves - well, not all at once. Some libraries have great selections, generally in the "teen" section. It backfired as a money-saving technique, though: I ended up reading several books I never would have picked up in the store, but thought were great then had to purchase for myself.

  2. Hi fcg! I totally forgot about the free first issues they put up on their website. Good catch! The big plus about them was they were infinitely easier to browse than Marvel's digital comics.

    The last time I saw a comic book in a library was during my last visit to America (Minessota to be exact). How I wish libraries here in the Philippines stocked some. But yeah, libraries are sometimes your best bet if you want your comic book fix. I'll be tackling that bit in the next article!