It is easy to feel intimidated by comic books. Reading some comics seems to be the simplest way to learn to love them, but knowing where to start can be challenging. When I first walked into a comic book shop, I walked out with a Flash issue tied into an event I had no idea about and focused exclusively on a Flash rogue (Boomerang), with hardly any mention of the hero.
There are many different stories to choose from, and some have been ongoing for a long time! Once you know where and how to start, reading comics can be much easier. Here is the complete information about “How to read a comic book?” Check it below!
How To Read A Comic Book?
Method 1: The Correct Way to Read Comic Pages
1. Pages of Western (American) comics should be read top to bottom, from left to right. Always begin reading from the leftmost panel on the page. You should read each dialogue bubble left to right, starting with the leftmost panel and moving to the bottom and right of the panel.
2. As soon as you reach the right side of the first panel, go to the next panel. Two or three panels usually appear in the top row of a comic page. Read the subsequent panels in the same manner as the first one.
3. Stacked panels should be read together. Despite the fact that the panels are arranged in this fashion, they are meant to show two connected actions or dialogues. The panels in these sections will usually be arranged differently from the other panels on the page, and will always interact with each other. In some cases, the images may slant to show a dynamic action, or they may share a speech bubble with each other. Read the panel above the one you are currently reading, then the next one below it, and so on.
4. From right to left, read manga (Japanese comics). Unlike American books, Japanese books should be read in reverse order. From right to left and back to front, they are still read top to bottom. Panels and dialogue should be read from right to left, and the entire book should be read from back to front.
5. Dialogue bubble shapes should be observed. Dialogue bubbles of different shapes usually indicate different types of dialogue.
- The speech bubbles are circular in shape with the tail pointing in the direction of the character who is speaking. When a character speaks, the speech bubbles are circular in shape.
- If a character is shouting, he or she may have ragged bubbles and/or enlarged, bold text.
- There is a trail of dots pointing towards the character’s head in thought bubbles, which look like puffy clouds. The character is probably thinking to themselves.
- Square or rectangular blocks make up narrative panels. In other words, the “narrator” is describing what is happening in a scene and revealing details the characters don’t know.
Method 2: Choosing a Comic to Read
1. Identify the kinds of stories you are interested in. Besides the usual superhero narrative, there are all kinds of comics to pick from, so you can approach choosing one like any other book. Among the genres of comics, there are romantic stories. For those who enjoy action comics, there are plenty of choices. Just pick a genre and start checking out the available comics.
2. Choose the work of a specific writer. The number of comic book writers is as great as the number of comic book stories. As you’ve researched different comics, you’ve probably heard about several popular writers. If you are interested in the storylines or subject matter they have written, check out the rest of their library.
3. Pick a story whose main character you like. The comic book industry has given us many famous characters, such as Spiderman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Ms. Marvel. Discover the stories they have starred in by choosing a character that interests you. Decide what part of a character’s story most interests you before picking a comic to read.
4. Make sure you start with the comics that inspired the movies you love. Many popular comic books have been adapted for movies, such as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and the Avengers series. Comics is a great source of inspiration for these movies, so chances are good you’ll also enjoy them. It’s a great way to get started reading other comics if you start with these.
5. Research the stories that interest you. After you decide what you would like to read, you may want to explore the timelines of their stories. Comic books have been around for decades, so they have more stories than you can get through in a short amount of time. Learn about what’s happened up to the most recent issue of the comic you’re interested in, and use the events that catch your interest as a launching point for where to start reading.
- Investigate specific publishers, series, or characters in online databases and encyclopedias devoted to comics.
- Comic reference books are also available at libraries and bookstores. The histories of comic book publishers, series, and characters have been written by several authors.
6. Explore different reading lists. There are always reading lists available if you’re interested in a certain character or publishing company, but don’t know where to start. A majority of reading lists can be found online, usually written by aficionados and hardcore fans. The majority of reading lists will recommend where to begin a series based on the events in that character’s story.
- To find reading lists online, you can search for terms such as “DC reading list” or “Marvel reading list” or “Spiderman reading list”. You can substitute the first word of the search term for the publisher or character you would like to read.
7. Become familiar with comics terminology. Comics can be described in many different ways. It will be easier to locate what you’re looking for if you understand what they mean.
- In “graphic novels” and “trade paperbacks,” multiple issues of one comic are collected into a single volume. You can read the storyline in chunks so you can take it in all at once.
- Omnibuses are like graphic novels or trade books, except that they combine an entire storyline into one book. These are great finds, but they are generally much more expensive. Only purchase these for stories you truly love!
- The storyline is broken into “issues”. New ones are released on a monthly basis. Comics are typically published in this way.
Method 3: Comic book collecting
1. You can purchase physical comic books by visiting comic shops regularly. The inventory of comic shops is constantly being updated, so you will find plenty of books to browse while choosing what to read. The advantage of physical comics is that you can always read them even if your Internet goes down. Moreover, as your collection grows, they make it easier to display and show it off. Before you start collecting physical comics, you should have adequate shelving or storage space (boxes and/or bins).
2. You can store your collection of digital comics by purchasing digital comics. All digital comics can be stored in one place, making them easier to store. You can keep them in them if you don’t have a lot of space to keep comics, or if you just want to organize your collection as easy as possible.
- Consider reading comics digitally, then purchasing print editions of your favorite stories to support the creators.
- There is no need to choose between them. There are plenty of comic book fans who own both digital and printed copies of their favorite comics. The same issues of several printed comics are also available for download at no additional charge.
3. Make a plan for storing your comics. Comics are collectibles. You buy them to read them, but you also want to preserve them so you can continue reading them years from now. Put them in special sleeves to prevent them from yellowing. Store them as you would normal books. Tape can be used to open and close them, and they will be made of plastic.
- Collector’s boxes, which offer great protection and look amazing on your shelves, come with some comics.
- Digital comics won’t suffer from this problem, of course, but you might want to back them up on another cloud storage service (such as Dropbox or Google Drive), just in case something happens to your device.
4. Get a few comic books for free. Free comic books are a big deal in the comic book world! Taking advantage of these giveaways is a great way to begin reading comics. Plan a visit to the comic shop closest to you on Free Comic Book Day and pick up a comic you’re sure to enjoy.
- You can find a lot of free comic issues on Comixology, an online comic store.
- Take a comic out of the library or borrow one from a friend. You can read comics for free in many libraries, which have dedicated sections to comics. You can also ask a friend who reads comics if you can read their collection.
Method 4: Diving In
1. You can start with whatever story you want. Don’t worry about reading comics in a certain order; it’s not necessary. If you start at a point in the storyline you’re interested in, you won’t miss too much. If need be, you can brush up on parts you aren’t sure about through Google or Wikipedia.
Some common misconceptions we need to bust
Some people have misconceptions about reading comics, and these misconceptions can be roadblocks for potential comic readers. Some of these are simply not true, and it’s a shame.
It will be much easier to get into comics once these misconceptions are cleared up.
1. The First Issue Must Be Addressed
A comic book doesn’t have to start with issue #1, as is commonly believed. For many readers, their first issue wasn’t the first issue. It was usually a random issue, sometimes in the hundreds.
X-Men is one of the series I read a lot, but I didn’t begin with issue 1. Issue #188 was my first. Even though I wasn’t sure what was going on at first, I soon became familiar with the characters and it wasn’t a detriment to the experience. Wikipedia answered all my questions when I was confused or wanted more information about a particular character.
I admit that it can be confusing to choose a series in the middle of the story. Even if you begin with an issue that begins a story arc, it doesn’t matter if it’s not issue #1.
It doesn’t really matter where you start reading so long as you enjoy the story or the art.
2. You Can’t Find Comic Books
Comic books aren’t everywhere, but they’re not as hard to come by as you might think. There are many places to buy comics, including comic book stores, bookshops, online, and even your mobile phone.
Check out the ‘Where Can I Buy Comic Books And Graphic Novels’ Guide if you want to learn more.
3. Comic retailers are unfriendly, like the Simpsons character
The only comic book retailer you have ever dealt with is this guy. Comic book retailers tend to be friendly, helpful, and passionate about their work. You can chat with them about all kinds of things and they are happy to answer your questions.
The unfriendly stereotype used to be true, but comic book retail has evolved to become more professional and accommodating to all customers in the past 15 years. Therefore, dealing with people like the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons is rare.
If you encounter an unsavory retailer, I have written a helpful guide to combat their rudeness.
4. Superheroes Are The Only Comics
In addition to superheroes, there are many genres of comics such as science fiction, humor, fantasy, memoir, horror, crime, espionage, romance, adventure, war, and much more.
Depending on the genre, you may have to search a little deeper, but if it’s a genre, it’s probably been done in comics.
5. A Series And Character’s History Is Too Difficult To Determine
It’s a notion that many writers and editors, especially at Marvel and DC, consider when creating comics. The late Stan Lee is credited with saying “every comic is someone’s first.”
Explicit storytelling techniques and recaps at the beginning of comic books help writers keep readers up to date with what they need to know.
In addition, even the most convoluted histories are not difficult to reconstruct with the help of the internet. With sites such as Wikipedia, Comic Vine, and a variety of wikis, the answers are at your fingertips.
In addition, there is no need to know the whole history. Just as in real life, not every event in a character’s past influences their current story. In many cases, a character’s past is never mentioned after a certain point in time. Sometimes they have even forgotten altogether!
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