Quips From A Clerk: The Batman Essentials


tumblr_lxlq0eIiID1r6f9lbo1_400We all know the big characters out there, but do we know how to start them? How does a new reader learn about characters that have been around for 75 years? There are the collection books that both DC and Marvel have created, collecting the golden age books, but is that enough? Is that really the “Essential” book to read? I don’t believe it is. I think there are stronger stories, ones that will really show the true character that we are used to. That isn’t to say that the collected classics aren’t listed, but they aren’t always the first book you would hand over to a new reader. Sometimes the style or the art just doesn’t translate in modern age, which is fine. We all respect the classics, but what would you suggest?

I went to Twitter and Facebook for help on this weeks topic: Batman. There are just so many stories that he is in, along with him being in television and movies, its hard to not know who he is. But where do you begin reading?

The most popular vote was for Batman: Year One (written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, colored by Richmond Lewis and lettered by Todd Klein.) It was published in 1987 in issue numbers 404-407 of the main Batman comic. This is available in trade paperback, as well as animated film. This story follows Bruce Wayne upon returning to Gotham from his martial arts training and Jim Gordon who has just transferred to Gotham from Chicago with his wife. Almost immediately you are introduced to Holly Robinson and Selina Kyle. From there Bruce and Jim also face encounters with Harvey Dent, Gillian Loeb, Carmine Falcone, and Sarah Essen. The most widely known villain, The Joker, also has a mention in this story. Not only does Year One give you a sense of history with Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon, it gives you a sense of understanding with other characters you didn’t realize you knew.

The second most popular vote was for The Long Halloween (written by Jeph Loeb, illustrated by Tim Sale, colored by Gregory Wright and lettered by Richard Starkings.) It was published in 13 issues in the same title from 1996-1997, originally inspired by Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Specials. This story also sparked two sequels, Batman: Dark Victory and Catwoman: When in Rome. I would not consider the Halloween Specials “essential” reading, but I would strongly encourage Long Halloween.  The origin story of Two-Face is a selling point to me, but it is also a very well written story that shows both Bruce and Batman, how one person can be two people being so different yet the same. I feel like this shows more of the detective side as well.

There was a lot of recommendations, including Hush and The Killing Joke, while both are remarkable books that I would consider to be essential reading, I would have a hard time giving them to someone who has no history of Batman. To prerequiste Hush I feel like I need to give them Death In The Family (not to be confused with the more recent title of Death Of The Family, another Joker story.) Dark Knight Rises was also mentioned a few times, with the debate of is it actually an origin story or is it just a good story. It does set the stage for what the more recent Batman has become, but it would be hard for someone who hasn’t read before to pick up right away. A Court of Owls from the New 52 is also mentioned, but again without the good foundation to start on it might be a little harder to pick up one. I solidly agree with the two popular votes of Year One and The Long Halloween for first time readers, but I would definitely push any of the recommendations listed as second reads.

What books would you consider essential to your Batman collection? Which book would you hand a new reader first?

Quips From A Clerk: Individual Issues vs. Trade Paperbacks


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A question often asked in the shop is what is the best way to read comics. Read them collected in trade paperback form, or wait month to month for individual issues. Honestly its a personal preference, but I feel some series are better to be read collected rather than waiting. Most of the horror and mystery genre is included in that. For others the wait is needed, just to build up that want for it. I have a personal preference towards trades, mainly because I am impatient and I can barely watch television shows when they air because I hate waiting. To have an entire collected story in one book just seems right to me. That being said, I do understand collecting individual issues. You get different covers and you get the immediate gratification of having the story right away, versus waiting for the publisher to put the trade out a few months later.

I consider trade paperbacks the easiest way to introduce someone to long standing comics, especially with the Marvel and DC superheroes. Some characters that are over 75 years old is difficult…or extremely rare…to be able to find the earlier issues, even in just a beat up reader comic. Its accessible and easy way to read stories, without having to hunt down individual issues. Plus, its a money saver, especially if you are looking at the classics.

If you are a collector, you’re going to go for the individual issues. The hunt, the bargaining, the actual capture of your prey just gives you that rush that you need. There really isn’t anything like it, right? The individual issues I feel like are for the collectors, or for people a little more experience in t

he industry. If you’re looking for instant gratification of newer comics, you’re probably going to go individual issues. You’ll  get a monthly fix!

So whichever your preference is, neither answer is wrong. As long as you’re reading the stories, that is what matters.

Quips From A Clerk: That One Character…


superman-logo-012I talk to a lot of people in the shop, and I try very hard to be as open minded as I can be when it comes to old and new books. But everybody has that one (or sometimes two) character that they just cannot enjoy for what they are. For me those characters are Superman and Captain America. It honestly is nothing against the characters, but I just cannot find them interesting. They are the big guys that always win, to me that is uninteresting. I can handle more Captain America then I can with Superman, but it still is hard for me to sell a book on either character. When it comes to Superman, I have read a few of his stories, the best that I thought of is Red Son. When I like Captain America when he is in team ups, so I will read some classic Avengers, but his solo stories are hard to read.

I asked around to see what that character is for other people. It was interesting to hear what they said.

1855660-wolverine_comic_if_you_could_s392x480_134091_580Wolverine: “He is in too many books, I have no idea what is going on” is a valid point. Since his popularity skyrocketed, Wolverine is in almost every book, or has at least made an appearance. Giving up seemed to be the most practical option, rather than try to figure out what is happening. Recommendation: Picking up of the Marvel Now series Wolverine and the X-Men is a good title. I am in the process of reading All New X-Men, so I will let you know of that in the future. Another Wolverine story I have heard good things about is the Old Man Logan series.

redhood_18Red Hood: “Jason Todd needs to be dead” this actually surprised me. I can’t say that I have read much of Red Hood since Batman: Under The Red Hood, but I didn’t absolutely loathe it. I do understand it, Jason Todd being resurrected wasn’t a great plan, but I haven’t heard too many bad things about his current series, Red Hood and the Outlaws. Recommend: Batman: Under the Red Hood. Its an interesting story and you might actually enjoy the Jason Todd that appears.

Who do you loathe in comics? What makes you dislike them so?

Quips From A Clerk: Won’t Somebody Please Think Of The Children?!


ArchieComicsLogo_smThis week, we’re going to bring our aim to the younger crowd. Comic fans are getting older, spawning off their own offspring, and they want to bring their young into the scene. But what to show them? Batman gets a little dark. Superior Spider-Man might be a little hard to explain to a 4 year old. So what do you bring to the table? Luckily, there’s a good amount out there.

The Classics

Did you know they are reprinting some of the old comic strips into monthly comic books? Books like Classic Peanuts, Classic Popeye and Garfield are still printing stories that come out. Sometimes the humor is a little older, so you might want to re-read them yourself a bit. In example, there is an issue of Classic Popeye where Popeye and Olive Oil get married. For some reason, Popeye exclaims “Well blow me down!” and Olive Oil replies “Popeye! That is for after the wedding!” While I doubt the kids will get it, they do make the adult in us laugh. Archie is still going on, now with several other titles. They just did a crossover with Glee, making it really popular with pre-teens.

Television Shows

What Marvel and DC has done is tie their all-ages comics directly into their all-ages shows. Shows like Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengersfile_23_9: Earth Mightiest Heroes, Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series all have their own tie in comics. Whats cool though is that they are not the only ones doing that. Adventure Time has a tie in comic, with its own spin offs, such as Fiona and Cake; Marceline and the Scream Queens; and Candy Capers. My Little Pony also has a tie in comic, along with a microseries, which features a new pony each month. The Simpsons have a successful line in comics, including ones that feature Bart Simpson, Mr. Burns and Professor Frink. Star Wars: The Clone Wars also has tie in series! Everyone is invited to this party!

Everything Else

Things I didn’t know how to categorize but you should seriously consider:

Princeless:  A beautiful comic about a young princess decides that being locked in a tower isn’t her thing, rescues herself, takes her dragon and goes off on adventures to rescue her sisters.

Super Dinosaur: The title alone should give it away, but there is a robotic dinosaur. Everyone can enjoy it!

Tiny Titans: If you put the Teen Titans in kindergarten, this is what you would produce. Super easy to read, really good for those just learning how to.

bone-03Bone: A classic about rooting for the little guy, even when everything looks bleak.

Mega-Man: All about your favorite video game hero. Bonus! There is also a Sonic the Hedgehog comic, and they just collided the two universes.

Hopefully I have given you some ideas to introduce to your little ones into the comic world. What is nice about most of these is that you don’t have to start with issue one, they are pretty much pick them up as you go, or in such mini series that you don’t have to collect hundreds of issues.

Do you have any special comics you get for your kids? What are some that you would recommend?

Quips From A Clerk: Superior Spider-Man


Superior_spiderman_1One of the hottest debates right now is Superior Spider-Man. I have argued with my co-host on All Things Good and Nerdy (along with a few guest hosts) and was asked to come on Comic Book Legends podcast to continue the debate. I’ve talked to numerous people in the comic shop, in conventions and on Twitter on their thoughts. I’ve even talked to the writer himself, Dan Slott, about this series. Well, through Twitter anyway! This column is going to touch on the spoiler side, so if you’re trying to avoid them, there are a lot of articles to read on this site!

A little backstory on Superior Spider-Man if you have not read anything about it, or know anything what I am talking about. Superior Spider-Man is the where Amazing Spider-Man left off. ASM ended with a bang, Doctor Octopus is dying when he places a device on Peter Parker during one of their final battles. Right before Doc Ock dies, the device activates, switching brains between Peter and himself. When the body of Doc Ock dies, it is Peter’s mind that dies with it, as Doc Ock has taken possession of Peter’s body. Doc Ock then declares that he will be the Superior Spider-Man, exchanging his evil ways for good.

Now the argument that is had is if it is good, or bad, that this has taken place. SSM to me is one of the strongest books that Marvel has going for them. I enjoy reading it, its different from what ASM was. By the end of ASM I was completely bored with Peter Parker. I found him whiny, boring, dull…he just won everything. Characters like that is what makes me back away from the Superhero Clique of the comic book world. There are two things that I hear that are the complaints with why SSM is a bad move: It’s a Gimmick and Spider-Man Kills People. There are other arguments; the fact that it goes back and forth in feeling, and there are better ways to make Spider-Man gritty, but hopefully my points in the two big points that I hear will help clarify why I feel people need to give SSM a chance.

It’s A Gimmick

Welcome to Marvel. Everything happens and nothing sticks. What has actually stuck in the 616 universe when it comes to Spider-Man? 1. Uncle Ben is dead. 2. Gwen Stacy is dead. That is it. 

The point that I am trying to make is everything comes back to normal eventually. Something that Marvel excels in is their marketing of their characters, and part of why they are so marketable is the fact that they are always the same. The good guy wins, and everything continues on. It shakes people to the core (whether or not they chose to admit it) that Spider-Man lost. Peter Parker lost, and now Doc Ock is in control. It probably could have been introduced in a less abrupt way (the feeling of Amazing Spider-Man ending felt almost tacked on) but in the end it made for a new comic book with a safety net: Peter Parker can always come back. In the first issue alone (this actually angered me) Peter Parker already returns as what has been referred to as Force Ghost Peter. He is present in Doc Ocks mind. Later on there is a battle between the two, completely wiping Peter from the brain of Doc Ock, which is beautifully done and one of the best issues in the series. But back to my point, it was totally set up as a gimmick.

8948294279472849But looking past that, getting into the real grit of the story, there is a man who is struggling with the power of good and evil in his hands. On one hand, he is Doc Ock. He is one of the most evil villains that has ever been created in the Spider-Man universe. He’s a genius, he’s got it all. Except a body of his own. In the other hand, we have Spider-Man. He is the pinnacle of all that is good, the golden child of the Marvel Universe. Doc Ock wants to be better than that. But at his root, he is an evil man. This is the fluctuations that we see, that we see the complaint about. He is someone who struggles with the Good vs Evil fight, completely trying to change into a new person to fill the golden child persona and he just doesn’t know how. That’s the Marvel books we know. That’s the emotion that Marvel brings in people. That’s why I enjoy this book. Good vs Evil doesn’t have to be about the powers, the costumes, the whole shebang. It can literally be one persons internal struggle, and that is what is happening here.

Will this end and Peter Parker makes a triumphant return as Spider-Man? Sure, its going to happen. People in the universe are already aware that Peter has not been himself. But what needs to be remembered is that these are stories. These are stories built with already established characters, and the writer is given practically free will with them. What Dan Slott has done was create a new story with Spider-Man, done something creative and different. Something we haven’t seen before.  I embrace things like this. Change needs to happen, Peter needs to evolve as a character. What they have done by switching the brain out is basically said “Okay, now Spider-Man is able to do things that he couldn’t do before, because he is released of Peter Parkers moral code. But we can always switch it back if it doesn’t work.” Doc Ock is basically a safety net. There can always blame put on Doc Ock if they screw it up too much! You will get your precious Peter back, and he’ll go back to being the golden child. But for now, let the Superior Spider-Man play.


Spider-Man Kills People

Something that is the most common of arguments is that Spider-Man is going around doing these things that Spider-Man doesn’t do. He’s trashing the essence of the character by doing these things, such as killing people and using spider droids to monitor the city so he can go about a daily life. “Spider-Man wouldn’t do that.”

You would be correct. Spider-Man doesn’t do that.

Doctor Octopus does.

This isn’t Spider-Man. This is Doc Ock in a Peter Parker and Spider-Man suit.

Yes, Doc Ock is trashing Spider-Mans good name. In the most recent issue, he even threatens Jameson. He kills villains instead of letting them live to rot in prison. He is doing what he thinks Spider-Man should have done. He thinks he is right.

Doc Ock is evil. He knows of nothing but evil. So yes, to him, killing people is the right thing to do.  People in the universe haven’t quite figured out what is wrong with Spider-Man.


Now think about this.

Would you, reasonably smart human being, think right away that someone has switched brains with someone else?

Because I wouldn’t.

Spider-Man is having an off month. He’s coming through some really bad times, he’s dealing with things. Those are my first thoughts. Not “oh, well obviously he switched brains with someone. Quickly, to the helicarrier!”

Give them time to figure it out. Let them think about it. They didn’t know Doc Ock like Peter did, they don’t exactly know what he is capable of and what he has done. They aren’t thinking about that. We’re only 13 issues in. Thats not very long, considering how long Amazing Spider-Man was. 700 issues of Peter Parker vs 13 issues of Doc Ock.

So that is my argument for Superior Spider-Man. I enjoy it. I think that a lot of fans did not give this series an honest chance because they just gave up on the gimmick. I understand your reasoning, but I feel like you are missing out on what could be the best Spider-Man story. If you haven’t been reading, or even cared about it, maybe I just gave you reason to pick it up. Issue #13 just hit stands this week, so be sure to stop by your local comic shop to pick it up!

Comic Book Review: Princeless


Princeless-2-coverRecently I wrote in my column “Quips From A Clerk” about the Go-To comic of your choice. The one comic that you cannot get enough of, that you want everyone to love as much as you do. My choice currently is Saga, but fellow GonnaGeek staff writer Anthony Bachman might have changed my mind with a comment on the column itself. He told me to check out Princeless, published by Action Labs. I was instantly intrigued by the title, and with his Twitter magic skills, Anthony was able to connect me with the writer of the story, Jeremy Whitley.  Emails were exchanged, bonds made and the stars aligned the right way.

Princeless is written by Jeremy Whitley, with M. Goodwin illustrating, along with Jung-Ha Kim and Dave Dwonch on letters. I’m always looking for books that I can give to my niece, because lets face it, there isn’t a whole lot out there that are not Disney Princesses for me to give her. Not that there is anything wrong with the Disney Princesses, but they just aren’t strong. This is where princeless333Princeless takes over. Right away we are introduced to Princess Adrienne, the young princess that wants nothing to do with the fairy tales. Before she even reaches the age of 16 she makes it clear she will not be locked in a tower, awaiting a prince to rescue her. Adrienne goes on her own adventure, with her dragon Sparks and friends she picks up along the way.

One of my favorite points of the story is every time Adrienne corrects a prince. They tend to call her a “fair maiden” when Adrienne is of color. She makes it a point every time to correct them, making her more and more real to me. There are also several jabs at female armor in comic history, as well as the covers that are tumblr_lxx0k4zEPD1qcw8g4o1_500nothing more than cheesecake. The story is paced well, a little jumpy a times but it is easily to catch up on. The art that Goodwin provides alongside the story is on point, not taking away from anything and adding in more depth to the story itself. Its strong, it leaves you wanting more, it features a strong female character of color, there is good humor…there really isn’t more that a girl can ask for in a comic. Anthony was right, I cannot recommend this comic enough.

Princeless volume 1 collects the first four issues of the series, there is a series of short stories (all worth the read!) and then we are brought current to volume 2, which has its fourth issue coming out on July 3rd.  This current volume has Adrienne going to rescue her sisters after escaping her own tower. The pacing hasn’t quit, neither with the humor or art. Be sure to put this one on your pull list!

Quips From A Clerk: Comic Book Team-Ups!



This week the newest line of team up comics began, with Batman/Superman #1 from DC hit the stands this past Wednesday. This got me thinking about old team ups, new team ups and what I enjoy reading. I am meaning past The Avengers and The Justice League, but actual things that have happened in the different universes.

This actually isn’t the first time Superman and Batman have teamed up. Originally featured in Worlds Finest, they had their own monthly comic series from October 2003-August 2011, appropriately called Superman/Batman. While the 2013 is being written by Greg Pak, the original series was was written by a number of writers,although most noted is creator Jeff Loeb, who wrote issues number 1-25, his son Sam wrote 26 before he had passed away from cancer. This is also the series that brought Kara Zor-El, also known as Supergirl, back into continuity from the 1980’s. Personally I thought the series was a lot of fun, and it was cool to see the duo take on different things then their usual books. I’m interested to see where Pak is deciding to go with this updated version, so it is definitely on my pull list.

2-1Someone in the Marvel universe known for his team-ups is the one and only Deadpool. I know I have mentioned in the past his team ups with Spider-man, both Amazing and Superior, but he has had team ups with Hydra Bob (fellow GonnaGeek staff writer Chris Ferrell’s favorites) and quite a few team ups with Cable, including a series called Cable and Deadpool. He eventually had The Deadpool Corps with Lady Deadpool and Zombie Head Deadpool. I am trying to think of which one would be the best one to recommend, but honestly if you read any of them you’ll get a great laugh and probably question your personal morals a bit. The Merc with a Mouth is one that will be hard to put down, even if you feel a little dirty reading it.

IVampirella Witchblade 1f you’re strictly an indie reader, you might be feeling like this article isn’t for you. There are actually a TON of team ups in the indie world. Valiant Comics currently has a big team up with their major players going on, along with Masks, in the Dynamite universe. When I asked for recommendations, the one that come up the most is Vampirella/Witchblade. Which surprised me, neither are comics I read regularly anymore, but apparently their team up is quite possible. I don’t know if that is because of mass amount of…well, lets face it, there is a whole lot of boobs going on in that series, or for story. I can’t honestly tell you what it is about, but it is very popular in the shop I work in. I do however recommend checking out the Valiant series, or if you are more into the Noir style of comics, Masks.

I know I missed a ton, and I mean a TON, of team ups here. I don’t want to put you to sleep with the amount that I can put here! So you tell me: What are the greatest comic team ups? What have I so greatly missed here?

Quips From A Clerk: My Absolute Go To Comic Is…


lying cat

We all have our favorite comic books. Favorite characters, favorite stories, favorite costumes, that sort of thing. But we all have that one series that we want everyone around us to love and enjoy as much as we do. That one comic that you want everyone to be just as excited about as you are for it. For me, that is a recent series called Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, published with Image Comics. With the second trade paperback hitting shelves this week, I felt it most appropriate for me to tell you about this now. Especially since they are on hiatus until September, you have time to catch up.

250px-Saga1coverByFionaStaplesHow I describe Saga to new readers is as if Star Wars took place in the Dungeons and Dragons universe, with more sex, more blood and less lightsabers. I’ve also heard it compared to Game of Thrones, but I’ve honestly never read the series so you’ll have to tell me if that is a fair comparison. The stories narrator, Hazel, is the daughter of  Alana and Marko, lovers from different worlds. The problem being is that these two worlds have been at war, since before they were born. Marko was a prisoner of Alana’s people, Alana being his guard. They fall in love and run away, being chased by the governments of both worlds. This triggers two bounty hunters after them, The Will (with his trusty accomplice Lying Cat) and The Stalk, of Marko’s world. Of Alana’s world, Prince Robot IV chases down the pair in a rush, as his wife just sent him some surprising news.

Staples draws, inks and colors the comics herself, working closely with Vaughn on character design and artistic direction. There has also been indication that there is an ending in mind for the series, along with the fact that issues are planned at least five in advance, makes me feel like they know what they are doing and we will not be disappointed. The thing that will disappoint me is that it will probably be too short for my liking!

So what is your “one comic” that you want everyone in on? Tell us about it! Also, let me know what you want to see written here. I’ll be back with some fun new thing next week, should I head back to the Big 2 or stay with the independents? Let me know!

Quips From A Clerk: It’s The Big 2 And I’m Lost!


marvel-avengers-logoLet’s face it: Most of us started reading our comics from The Big 2. I’m talking about Marvel and DC. Some of us have grown to be more Marvel Fans, some are now more DC Fans. But regardless, most of our first comic books were of spandex and super powers. But we have those times. Money is too tight, falling out of love with the characters, or you just don’t have the time to keep up with all of the madness that happens in these universes. Don’t worry, it happens! But now you want to get back in? What have you missed? What if there are new characters? New artists? New writers? What is happening!?

Calm down. Take a breath. It’s all going to be okay.

The nice thing about the Big 2 is that they are very marketed characters. I don’t have to tell you the origin of Spider-Man or Batman. It is easy to pick up the stories and not have to know entire back stories. There is also wonderful things called Trade Paperbacks that have become your best friend when it comes to playing catch up.

Let’s start with Marvel. Marvel has an advantage as they have more marketed characters. Any kid that comes in tells me how much they enjoyed the Avengers, or the latest Iron Man movie. People come in after seeing the movie and want to play catch up with Thor or Spider-Man. More characters are listed to me that are Marvel then DC, but we’ll talk more about that later. Something that is nice about Marvel is that Marvel Now! has just begun, making it easy for me hand over Number Ones as a starting point. Personally, I go for the self contained stories since I don’t have to hand out 5 other books with it. I aim for Superior Spider-Man, with the explanation that Spider-Man isn’t quite himself these days. I tell them about Deadpool, Indestructible Hulk, Thor: God of Thunder, Daredevil and Hawkeye. These stories are self contained, with familiar characters and I don’t really have to tell much of a back story. Its an easy way to lead yourself back into the Marvel universe. If they want to get more in depth is when I’ll hand them the current Age of Ultron series with the tie ins, or lead them to the Ultimate Universe. I did discover that it is easiest to start off with the self contained things and move in from there. If they want to know more is when I lead them to trades. Lately, Deadpool and Wolverine are the big characters that Marvel is marketing. I enjoy giving people the trades of Merc With A Mouth or Monkey Business for Deadpool. Wolverine Origins and Old Man Logan are ones that I’ll hand over for the big X-Men. There is a lot out there, and it is just a matter of finding what they are looking for. It’s not easy bringing people into the Marvel universe, because they like their tie ins, but if you start small you’re more likely to have a Marvel fan.

new-dc-logoDC is a totally different bag. While each story is pretty self contained, depending on their universe there could be cross overs. Recently, Superman crossed with Superboy and Supergirl for Hell on Earth, Batman crossed over with Batgirl, Teen Titans, Nightwing, Suicide Squad, Detective Comics and Catwoman for Death of the Family. But I noticed that you don’t have to read the crossovers to get the story. It can still be a self contained story without reading the other books. The problem DC has is that their characters aren’t quite as marketed. Their movies and cartoons are not aimed to children, leaving them with a less broad audience. But with that said, start them with the characters they would know: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are easy jumping on points with characters that are well known. If they want to start getting more into things, Green Lantern just started as a whole new chapter with a whole new team of writers and artists. Green Arrow starting with issue 16 started over. Justice League America is only a few issues in at the moment. DC has made it easy to start over, and have put out trades if they want to start from the very beginning of the New 52.

Hopefully I helped ease you back into what is a difficult market. If you have more questions, don’t be afraid to ask! Most of us comic book clerks are pretty darn friendly, and we just want to help you get as excited as we are about comics. Next week I’ll talk about my current obsession, Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. Until then, keep on reading!


Quips From A Clerk: Revisiting Your Childhood


TMNT Change Is ConstantA lot of people that come into a comic shop are newer readers, or ones that have fallen out of the loop. Which robots_disguise_9_covergranted, if you haven’t visited a shop in a few months, its pretty easy to do. Comic news is as fleeting as it comes, along with books and tie-ins, its easy to miss.

So how do you bring someone into your world? Ask them about their childhood.

Everyone has fond memories of a show they watched or a comic they read as a kid. We’re at a time right now where introducing people to comics from The Big 2 is easier than ever, since Marvel Now! has started and DC’s New 52 is an easy jumping on point. Personally though, I go for the independents.

People in my age group (mid to late 20’s, early to mid 30’s) have a good recognition for certain things. Things like, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Voltron, Star Trek or Star Wars. Big names, all with current ongoing titles that are easy to jump onto. My two recommendations are these: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles current ongoing series by IDW, and Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye and Robots In Disguise, also by IDW.

Now, lets face facts. I have a severely large soft spot for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). I was 2 years old when the show aired, which granted I was not living in America at this time but it was played in syndication when I moved here. I put a lot of emphasis as to how I learned English was through television, and TMNT was one of the first shows and movie series I latched onto. So, severe soft spot. With that said, Kevin Eastman returns to the TMNT universe after legal mumbo-jumbo happened in 2008, beginning the series completely over in 2011. The most current ongoing still follows the beginnings of the Turtles, but with some slight changes (such as TMNT #22 Phantom Variant CoverApril O’Neil is now a scientist in the lab where the Turtles and Splinter are from) and has the same quirks that made the Turtles who they are in the first place. You’ll still feel like Shredder and Krang are out to get you, although we dive into Dimension X quicker than I remember. The only difference I don’t like? Severe lack of “Cowabunga!” being said…but you can’t have it all back I suppose! Starting up the current series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is easy as well. IDW presents awesome trade paperbacks and hardcover special editions, and if you really want to throw them back, they just put out a hardcover edition of the Color Classics line that is built like a pizza box. The current run does have 5 trades, which will get you to issue number 20. Number 22 just hit the racks last week, so if they just want to hit the current storyline without the trades, there is only two issues to pick up. Not too bad! If they really want to get interested, there are also Micro-Series tie-ins, also in trade form. They help with the story, but not a necessity. They are a lot of fun!

Honest truth, I had to be convinced to start reading Transformers, mainly for the task of it being two books instead of just one. But, trust me when I tell you that it is worth it. I start my readers off with Regeneration One a two-trade series to really get them reacquainted with the universe. If they don’t find that interesting then they won’t be interested in what is going on, also leaving me space to find what they are really looking for (usually can be filled with Saga or Locke & Key. But that’s another article.) If they do continue to be interested is when I introduce them to the two current series in that universe: More Than Meets The Eye and  Robots in Disguise. The first thing I tell them is that there is no Transformers_More_Than_Meets_The_Eye_9-461x700humans in this story, and really Optimus Prime is not around. This will make or break your reader, as both of these things were probably part of what they know. However, this is where your words of persuasion will come in. This is a deeply intellectual story of governments and politics, and how the world isn’t black and white but shades of grey. Coming from Transformers its different and new, but its fun. Its a way to remind us that our childhood grows up with us sometimes, and it has totally been done with this current series.

As I previously said, there are a lot of series that can bring you back to your childhood. I just wanted to give you the two I personally am most interested in. What are you reading this week? Are there series that you are reading now because it is something you enjoyed when you were younger?

Since I touched more on the Independent side of the comic universe, next I’ll head back to the Big 2 and let you know what I’m recommending for people. What are you interested in these days?