Superhero movies are being released left and right. With Marvel and DC taking theaters by storm, comic book culture is back in action.
With the graphic novel to film adaptations bringing interest back to the genre, many comic book newcomers may ask how to get started.
There are hundreds of issues and several versions of the superheroes that fans have come to know today. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to start.
The first time I went to a comic book store I said to myself, “Sweet Odin’s beard, where do I start?”
It’s a scary world, and when you don’t know which hero to start with, or even which story arc, readers can get lost.
Now is the perfect time to jump in the comic book reading bandwagon. Marvel is beginning the process of slowly re-launching all of their superhero stories, and DC Comics already went through that process in just one month’s time last year.
The re-launch of the Marvel stories under the new name Marvel Now is planning to go into early 2013, and it’s beginning with The Uncanny Avengers.
The first issue was recently released and can be picked up in any local comic book store.
From there, Marvel plans to continue remaking the stories of superheroes including Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Deadpool and the X-Men.
DC fans need not fret. It’s not too late to catch up with the new DC comics. Picking up the first issue of Justice League by Geoff Johns is a good start.
Readers can explore the immense comic book world from there.
DC continued to do remakes with Animal Man, Batgirl, Batwing, Green Arrow, Justice League International, Men of War, Static Shock and more.
Jason Boice Love co-wrote the six part Boondock Saints: In Nomine Patris with series writer/director Troy Duffy, for 12 Gauge Comics.
“Outside of the big two, you’ll find Image, Dark Horse, and IDW making the most money. IDW does a lot of film and TV-related comics,” said Love.
Some popular IDW comics include Transformers, Doctor Who, Star Trek and True Blood.
“There’s even a Doctor Who-Star Trek: The Next Generation crossover,” said John Meyer, owner of The Realm Game and Comics in Brea.
There is something out there for everyone, where nearly every possible genre is covered by the comic book industry.
“Comics started out very cleanly divided, back in the days when there where romance comics, westerns, crime books, and military adventures. Superheroes came later and eclipsed those other kinds of books,” Love said.
If readers are looking for science fiction story lines, independent lines have a lot to offer.
“Horror seems to be the one genre that’s going away outside of Walking Dead,” Meyer said.
With The Walking Dead becoming such a sensation both on paper and on screen, not many companies are up to competing with them.
Comic book fans have been as enthusiastic as the next movie-goer for the film adaptations.
Who doesn’t love the on screen sass between Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Chris Evan’s Captain America, or Thor’s love for pop tarts and Loki’s daddy-please-love-me eyes?
The Iron Man film is Meyer’s personal favorite for various reasons.
“The most fun, and as far as the movie goes, it had a good flow from beginning to end. It’s one of those movies that (are) fun to watch over and over again,” Meyer said.
Love said American Splendor, a film adapted from Harvey Pekar’s autobiographical graphic novel, is a movie he can watch over again. He added that if you haven’t read Pekar’s books, he strongly recommends them.
“It’s purely slice-of-life, like listening to an older, compelling relative sharing life lessons, and it’s wonderful,” Love said.
As far as superhero comic adaptations go, Joice was as enamored with Marvel’s The Avengers as the next person.
“I’d have to give it to Joss (Whedon),” Love said. “Avengers was a massive chess board and he managed to give every piece a spotlight without sacrificing balance or pacing.”
Comic conventions are a great place to get to know the culture as well.
“What’s great, though, is that no matter where you live you can find smaller comics conventions near you,” Love said.
So, go forth and delve into the world of comic books. Grow a soft spot for Loki, eat chimichangas with Deadpool, and meet the Joker’s crazy girlfriend, Harley Quinn.
It’s a big comic book world, and it’s only getting bigger.