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New to comics: Episode 2 – The continuity complexity

What starts as an explanation of pull lists quickly morphs into a conversation about comic book stores. So far, I’ve been to three different comic book stores and the general vibe towards anyone who was obviously not a seasoned veteran was…less than welcoming. It’s a problem that plagues the comic (and geek) culture. Unfortunately, there won’t be any drastic improvements until people start to recognize there’s a problem and become more proactive in making n00bs feel at ease.

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Show notes

  • Comic book stores culture is often clique-ish in nature and not exactly newbie friendly. You will find curmudgeon-y owners and employees, and customers who treat local shops as their own personal club houses. This is sad because local stores can be a key component to cultivating new or casual readers into diehard fans.
  • Take the time to look up reviews of local comic book stores on Yelp. Finding a good store with friendly, helpful staff will aid your quest into comics. Plus, you’ll make new friends. If you’re in north county San Diego, Nick and Lauren recommend Invincible Ink in San Marcos.
  • The issue of how women are treated as customers in comic stores and by the industry as creators is almost as complex as canon and continuity.
  • The size of Marvel and DC’s catalog is insane. If you’re looking to jump in to a super hero story, ask around for a good place to jump in with your favorite hero. For example, if you love Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Batman movies, a good place to start would be Batman: Year One by Frank Miller.
  • A comic “run” begins when a new writer and artist team take over the story. This may mean a new storyline begins, or the new creators may choose to continue the story being told by the last creative team.
  • In an effort to attract new readers and capitalize on the cinematic success of the Batman movies, DC rebooted their entire catalog with the “New 52” in 2011. The issues were re-numbered back to #1.
  • The complicated problem of story continuity and where to start is really only problem for Marvel and DC properties. You won’t experience that trouble when reading comics by Image Comics, Dark Horse, or smaller indie publishers.
  • The comic industry doesn’t appear to have received a jump in readership that you might expect from the massive popularity of movie adaptations like the Avengers. Why? Well, one issue is that comics are really only available in comic book stores right now.
  • Going digital removes many of the barriers for new readers (the sometimes hostile or snobby store culture, the fear of asking “stupid” questions, etc.) and may be the thing that boosts the industry once the technology kinks are worked out.

Resources:

The podcast is “Save the Girl” by Pixel Head. Comics, artists, and authors that were mentioned in the podcast include:

Co-hosts

Lauren Williams has been an avid comic reader for the past 7 years and has attended San Diego Comic Con since 2005. An all around nerd to the core, you can find Lauren enjoying the latest episode of Doctor Who over a hot cup of jasmine green tea or laughing over Alex Trebeck’s latest quip on Jeopardy.  She has previously produced “In the Ring,” a radio talk show exclusively about Professional Wrestling (go figure) and is currently dreaming of a career in voice acting. Her senior year thesis at CSUSM was about Batman; seriously.

Nick Lane can usually be found at Disneyland, or at home where he’s either violently throwing video game controllers across the room, or organizing his iPod, and pouring over his latest musical discovery. Nick has been an on-and-off reader of comics since he was 5 years old, but didn’t become an avid fan and regular of his local comics shop until the last nine or ten years.  But even when he wasn’t reading comics, he ALWAYS had, and still has, an undying love for all things Batman.

His ultimate dream for the majority of his life has been to become the new revolutionary face of radio. He’d also settle for a decent paying job doing anything, so long as it’s in the radio or voice business. He currently works as a board operator at AM 1170 KCBQ. Oh yeah, and Nick is also a lover of most things sci-fi. His favorite show of all-time is The Twilight Zone, and he has a sweet poster of a DALEK hanging in his living room. That should say it all right there.

This podcast is part of the New to Comics series, listen to all of the entries in this series here.

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By Melodie Turori

Finding fresh and exciting ways to tell stories that stir the soul is my great love.

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