Thousands of people grow up comic book nerds, but I am not one of those people. I wasn’t infatuated with graphic novels until about four years ago when I read my first trade paperback.
I watched a lot of TV and movies, specifically TV and movies based off of comics or novels. I went through a phase, while working at a Barnes and Noble, where I could only see a movie if I read the book first and having a discount on books fueled that.
At the turn of the decade, a slew of movies and TV shows started popping up that were based off novels and comics. My favorite show is “The Walking Dead,” and the summer of 2012, I dedicated myself to binge watching the show on Netflix and catching up for the new season.
When I finished all the episodes, I craved more. I knew that the series was based off the comic books by Robert Kirkman, but I only read the occasional superhero comic and a Star Wars series every now and then.
I purchased a tablet, which I planned on using mostly for reading, but it was then that I discovered the world of digital comics. After this, I took a shot in the dark and purchased the first trade paperback of “The Walking Dead.”
Six days later, I had plowed through 16 volumes, and I became legitimately depressed that there weren’t more.
But then I realized I can totally read the individual issues monthly and made my way down to my local comic shop.
I purchased the newest issues, read all of them, then looked down at myself and realized I just read 120 issues of a comic book over the course of a week.
After work one day, I made my way to Bedrock City Comics to pick up the newest “Walking Dead” issue. While I was there, I struck up a conversation with one of the employees, and he just happened to have the newly-released trade paperback of a series called “Manifest Destiny.”
He described it saying, “It’s about what would happen if Lewis and Clark encountered horrible buffalo-centaur men and a variety of other monsters while exploring the new world.”
So I bought it, and that’s when I discovered the world of independent comics.
What makes comic books so great is that they aren’t just about Batman, Superman or Captain America. Comics have a wide variety of stories, many with incredibly rich and original story premises that can rival any book, movie or TV show.
Stories like Brian Vaughn’s “SAGA,” one of the more popular series out right now, contain amazing sci-fi epics that are ongoing. And then there’s “Sex Criminals,” a story about a woman who can freeze time when she orgasms and meets a guy who can do the same thing. Or “Nailbiter,” my personal favorite serial killer/murder-mystery about a town called Buckaroo.
There are thousands of amazing, original stories.
Some of these comics are even vetted for TV adaptations. Brian Vaughn’s “Y: The Last Man” was pushed for either a movie or TV series with pre-breakdown Shia LaBeouf as the lead.
Recently, Showtime picked up Robert Kirkman’s newer comic “Outcast,” and a pilot is due to air soon.
I didn’t truly discover my love for reading until I started reading comics. It’s not that I don’t love reading books, but my ADD rarely allows me to finish a novel once I’ve started it. It may sound childish, but the illustrations in comics add a level of creativity that books or film might not necessarily have.
With books, it’s the literary skill of the author that paints the picture for you. With comics, you have both the talent of the writer and the creativity of the artist to illustrate the story.
Series like “Low” or “Intersect” are examples of comics where the illustrations actually blend with the story to create what can only be described as high art.
The visuals aren’t just pictures in a book — they genuinely add detail and more artistic quality to the story.
I firmly believe there is a comic out there for everyone. I didn’t start reading comic books regularly until I was in college, so you’re never too old to enjoy them.