LESSON 1 PT. 2: HOW TO READ COMICS

Hey and Welcome to the next Lesson.

You found what you were looking for and you’re interested to see where the story goes, but you happen to hear words like “fridged” and “retcon”. What’s more is you turn the book over and you see names like Geoff Johns and Mark Millar. What do those mean and who are they? Well, you since you found your comic, it’s only right to see what happens when you turn the page.

LOOKS!

If you’re in a bookstore of sorts, you may see things in common like color schemes. Typically, Marvel Comics uses striking colors like red and white while DC uses cooler whites and blues. If it’s on a shelf with his spine out, you’re given the following pieces:

  1. The Title
    1. A] All volumes will come with a subtitle for those collected issues
  2. The team behind it (writer, penciller, colorist, etc…)
  3. The Publisher
  4. The volume number (mostly)
    1. A] The reason there wouldn’t be is if it’s a one-shot title.
  5. The collected issues.

Most of these will be mirrored on the cover, front or back, once you pick it out and are equally important for different reasons.

ANATOMY OF A COMIC TRADE

TITLE

The title should be the dead giveaway you need. Wanna read Superman? Find “Superman”. Wanna read Avengers? Find “Avengers”. Sounds cut and dry, right? Well, not exactly.

While it is true most titles are self-explanatory, there also may be variations of the topic such as: “Thor”, “Thor: God of Thunder” and “Mighty Thor”. It’s important you pick up the right title as not every title is the same story. Example “Unworthy Thor” is a title that delves into Thor Odinson’s introspective journey after losing his hammer, Mjolnir where as “Mighty Thor” is the adventures of Jane Foster taking up the hammer and becoming the next Thor.

Each title has its respective story; so you’ll want to stick with one particular title to see a story arc through to the end before picking up another.

TEAM

Much like how film trailers promote an upcoming movie by having a director’s name and accolades in their careers, comics run off the same principle.

If you find a story you’re enjoying the comic you’re reading, it helps to know who wrote it. If you’re blown away be the art in the comic, you should memorize the name of the artist so that you can follow them as not all team members stay on a certain title for long. Following them to their next project would also help you to explore other comics and stores, as well.

PUBLISHER

It’s no secret that certain publishers publish certain titles. If you’re looking for a certain kind of story, doing a big of research can go a long way when picking out a title from a certain publisher.

Like Marvel movies? Go with Marvel. Prefer DC? Search for DC. A fan of the Walking Dead? Image Comics is the one for you.

VOLUME NUMBER

While picking out a certain title is the most important thing, the volume number goes hand in hand.

Picking out a particular volume would effectively put you in one particular spot in the entire story. If you pick up volume 2, for example, it’s assumed you’re already 5-7 issues into the overall story and just want to see how the story continues. Think of it like picking a scene from a Blu Ray film or a certain track on an album. If you pick up “Black Widow Vol. 2”, you’re on the “2nd scene/song”.

ISSUES

While it isn’t required to go volume by volume, as volumes tend to put footnotes of previous events in their thought boxes, there is nothing like continuing the journey of these heroes as switching titles may cause just little confusion. Trust me, the only issue you’ll want is the one with the following number on it.

That spot there is the easiest way to tell just exactly where you are in the overall story.

So, you know what you want when you see it – great! …but what the heck does “annual” and “New 52” mean? So, you know what you want when you see it – great! Hopefully, I was able to shed some light on your lessons and make things a bit easier for you…but what the heck does “annual” and “New 52” mean? Next time, we’ll finish our guide into comics with basic terms to help make your journey even smoother.

That’s all for now and I will see you for the next lesson.

Until then, class dismissed!

COMING SOON…!
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Author: R.J. LEE

Over the past decade, it seems pop culture hasn’t become just “pop” anymore. Comic book movies are multi-billion dollar corporations, comics aren’t only for weekly Archie specials and video games have become an electronic sport competing with the likes of the Super Bowl! What happened? Where did the time go? It can all be a lot to take in and overwhelming at times, but what if I told you it doesn’t have to be? Like everything in life, nothing is hard to learn, you just need the right teacher and that’s where I come in. I’ll be your Lingo Liaison, your Coach for Comics, your Tutor for Trends, your Video Game Guru, your sensei from Sin City — My name is R.J. and I’m here to answer your FAQ’s of Life.

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