It’s easy to get the comics you want from DC and/or Marvel.
Often, local comics shops will arrange the new books so that either or both DC and Marvel are at the front of the line, so to speak. You get their books before you can even begin to check out the product from other companies.
And that’s a shame. Those other books often have a lot of what I call “hidden gems” in them, but since you’ve already picked out the “Big Two” books you want, you don’t have any money left.
Well, the next time you have some money left over (or at least think you might), I highly encourage you to do some research on the “other” comics companies. You might find some terrific reading there! Sadly, there are just too many of them to mention here!
Now, Marvel and DC only release pages from that week’s releases to certain websites, but you really have to do some hunting to track them down. That’s too bad because sending them out to more comics-related websites would help get the word out about the good stuff as well as the potential stinkers.
If you aren’t checking out those Sneak Peeks, I recommend you begin doing that.
I’ve discovered many books I have come to love that way. For instance, I didn’t know that Copperhead was coming from Jay Faerber and Image Comics. I’ve enjoyed many of Mr. Faerber’s products including Anti-Hero from MonkeyBrainComics.com and the like, so I made sure I gave it a reading. Now I’m hooked!
And Sneak Peeks are free, so you can at least check out the next issue and get the basics of what that story is all about before you invest your hard-earned money in it.
This week, I challenge you to check out at least two books you haven’t read before and see if they might interest you after all!
“THIS AIN’T NO LIBERRY”
The old joke was that comics stores aren’t places to go and read, much like a library is. Instead, they are businesses for you to pick up what you want to buy and purchase them.
If you go poking around books you may not buy, you just might get a store worker or owner coming to you and saying you shouldn’t spend so much time reading books on the shelves. If you’re interested, buy it and read it at home. After all, some comics fans are very focused on condition, and one person who doesn’t care about that actually picking up and leafing through a book can add folds to the spine and dings in the cover, which may cost that store a sale.
On the other hand, many shops have taken to a practice I like a lot, and that’s recommending books. Of course, this works best when they know what it is you prefer. They can then look over what they’re selling and find a title or two that you might also enjoy.
This is how I got into The Walking Dead. I had some extra money while shopping at a store in Northeastern Pennsylvania, so I asked the owner what he thought I’d enjoy.
When he suggested TWD, I scoffed at him. “It’s a zombie book, and it’s black and white!” He said to put those things aside and give it a go. Since the first trade had just come out, I got that and caught up to the current issue.
Now, I read the book each month as well as watch the AMC television show. Good recommendation!
Also, many stores are setting up displays of comics from the “other” companies near their cash register so you can see what they think is good. At least give them a look over!
FOLLOWING WRITERS AND ARTISTS
I’ve often pointed out that folks like Joshua Williamson, a writer whose scripting I particularly enjoy, work for several companies. He writes Captain Midnight for Dark Horse, Birthright, Ghosted and Nailbiter for Image, and RoboCop for BOOM! Studios! I didn’t know about that last one until I had done research, so that is always worth your time.
The market is so diverse now that an idea you have for a book may not fly at DC or Marvel, but Image just might be willing to give it a try.
Often these days, writers and artists have their own websites, which really helps if you want to keep up with a creator. To follow Mr. Williamson, look him up on Facebook and Twitter, but you can also go to his website at this link.
AND, OF COURSE, REVIEWS
I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much diversity in reviews as I read here at MajorSpoilers.com – different backgrounds, different preferences and a variety of what we expect out of our reading diet.
Now, I do tend to think that people give too much weight to the opinions of reviewers. I’ve read people saying what an awful movie a certain film is, but then I remain interested and still go. When the motion picture’s over, I’m often glad I didn’t listen to that person writing the column!
I also tend to think some reviewers have an agenda motivating them. They like a certain company that makes films, so they want those to be big successes. On the other hand, they may want the competition for that company to go down in flames so that first group can make even more money. Honestly, I’ve read some reviewers who can only say, “It sucked.” We need reasons, folks! If you like or don’t like something, say why.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned a certain former co-worker of mine who felt that something either “rocked” or “sucked.” When I’d ask him why he felt that way, he couldn’t say anything else except, “What’s wrong with you? Everyone feels that way!”
That’s not being a reviewer a reader can count on. My motivation is always to bring to my readers’ attention the very best offerings I can find, and let them know about those books. After all, many of us operate on a budget these days, and I think you should be able to get the highest quality possible. I don’t always succeed, I’m sure, but I’m trying!
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
As much research as you can do still won’t keep you from buying the occasional awful book at times. The premise looks great, the writer soars, the artist is hot, but the book still isn’t what you hoped for. It happens. Don’t let one or two of those make you give up!
Listen to what your friends are talking about. If there’s a book they can’t stop going on about, you might want to check it out. In the advertising industry, there’s a catchphrase: “Word of mouth is the best advertising.” In other words, if you love the product enough to tell others about it, you’ll often convince others to buy it.
Don’t get me wrong – I still love me some Marvel and DC and still give them a goodly portion of my money each week! it’s just that my experience has taught me there are other books worth reading out there as well!
In conclusion, I would recommend that you think “outside the box” once in a while. Don’t like longjohns superheroes? If you hear someone who also doesn’t like that genre raving about a hero comic, give it a try. When someone who hates supernatural stories talks about a book featuring ghost hunters, you also might look into it. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll enjoy it, but it just might be worth your investing in.
One last story: One month while looking through the Diamond Comics Previews book (called affectionately by some “The Phone Book” because of the number of pages therein), I came across a little comic that just appealed to me. It was unlike anything else in that month’s issue, and it was something I wasn’t sure I should take a chance on. But I still ordered it. When it came a couple of months later, I fell in and have never stopped enjoying it.
What book was it? Mouse Guard by David Petersen. If you aren’t reading it, you should be! It’s a huge success that is a model for other comics in that it takes chances but always maintains high quality.
And that’s something worth looking for and finding!