I think we're all familiar with comics in some form or another. Superheroes popularity is at an all-time high thanks to numerous films and TV shows. I had always been a fan of characters like Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, but actually getting into the comic books themselves was too daunting a task. The world of comic books can be a confusing one, with series spanning upwards of 700 issues, multiple writers, volumes, crossovers, special events, and plenty more confusing terminology to scare off any potential newcomers. My hope is to help you into the world of comics and show you that it's not really as confusing as it may first appear.
To start off, there are a few pieces of comic lingo that you should know:
Single Issue - A single issue is exactly what you would expect, a single issue of a comic book series that usually releases weekly or monthly.
Trade Paperback - This is a collection of single issues combined into one large paperback or hardcover. These will commonly contain an entire story arc. If you're new to comics, I highly recommend starting off with trade paperbacks instead of single issues. For example, Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 1) collects issues #1-#6 into one volume. You'll hear these referred to as trades or tp's.
Omnibus - An Omnibus is like a trade paperback, but with more issues. These collect 10-20 issues as opposed to the 6 or 7 in most trades. Some Omnibuses collect the very first issues of a character while others collect story arcs or runs by a particular author.
Graphic Novel - The term graphic novel can refer to a variety of things, but most commonly it refers to a completed story written in comic form.. Some trade paperbacks can be called graphic novels since the issues collected make one complete story.
With that knowledge in mind, it's time to think about what kind of comics you want to read. There are obviously plenty of superhero comics, but don't think that's all there is. Graphic novels have a great variety of genres, so if you're interested in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, or even fiction based on everyday life, there is something out there for you. If you're not sure where to start or what to look for, searching Google for best comic and graphic novel lists is a simple but helpful way to get an idea of where to start.
Once you know what kind of comics you want to buy, to question becomes, where can I buy comics? The most obvious answer is a local comic store, but if you're like me, then you aren't fortunate enough to live near one. The next best thing is a normal book store like Books-a-Million or Barnes & Noble, which often carry some of the newer and more popular trades. If you despise things like the sun, outdoors, and other people, then worry not, there's always online shopping! Amazon is an excellent source for buying comics (and what I use), as they are relatively cheap and have a decent size catalog. Ebay is a good option if you're looking for single issues or a collection of single issues. In addition to buying physical comics, there is also the option of going digital through a site such as comiXology. Many sites that provide digital comics and subscriptions can also be used with and e-reader or tablet .There are many other sites devoted to selling comics, so finding what you want shouldn't be too much of an issue.
I hope that this piece has given you a better understanding of the world of comics and shown you that it's really not as complex as it seems. If you want to get into comics and have and questions or want recommendations, feel free to leave a comment or email me.