You’ve heard it, “I won’t read anything but Marvel!” “I won’t touch anything DC!” “I only read Indie publishers, the big 2 are sellouts and hacks!”
I manage a fairly large comic book and gaming shop and the close mindedness of supposedly very open minded people is astounding to me. This not only holds true for comic book readers but card gamers as well. The Magic players look down on the Yu-Gi-Oh players, and both groups look down on Pokemon or God forbid, the “My Little Pony” TCG players.
I hear it all the time, “I don’t get DC, Marvel is stupid.” Now before the backlash begins, I admit I have my favorites too, I skew toward DC more than most and I know everyone has stuff they like more than others. Debate among comic fans is an important component of the culture. “Who wins? Batman vs Wolverine?” But to outright deny the notion or the mere plausibility that a good comic could come from any publisher, DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, Aspen, Dynamite, IDW or the slew of smaller publishers is outright ridiculous to me.
For any industry to survive, diversity is the key, and competition is a must. However, I have never understood the mentality that you would automatically shut yourself off from trying new things, new books, new writers or new artists because it’s deemed childish, too mainstream, or even too dark. This mentality has consequences. As a comic book reader first and foremost I honestly believe that for the business and growth of the industry we must support and champion everyone in the mix. Comics have a hard enough time connecting to new fans and readers without those longtime readers turning their backs on half the industry.
It doesn’t matter what side you fall on, but comics aren’t politics, if you actively root for certain comics to fail you are part of the problem with the industry’s overall success. It’s OK to like Batman better than Wolverine, or Deadpool better than Deathstoke but if you choose to wish failure to others, the whole industry suffers. This goes for all things comics, books, TV, movies, or video games. I don’t play video games but I don’t want XBOX One or the PS4 to fail. I didn’t like “Thor: The Dark World” as much as most but I am thrilled it did well, because when big budget superhero movies start to flop, studios will start to cut back, and those movies could become a thing of the past. Why? Because we stopped supporting them.
You don’t even have to like everything. Thought “Man of Steel” was terrible? OK. The Mandarin twist in Iron Man 3 sucked? Absolutely! But I still saw them all, still supported them and the Avengers 2 will go on Batman vs Superman moves forward because the majority gave them a shot! But the old saying holds true. United We Stand, Divided We Fall. It’s literally that simple.
I’m not suggesting we all be shills or blind followers or consumers of every property, book, or movie that comes out, far from it. I only suggest that, even if you had a million dollars you won’t waste one on a Deadpool or a Superman comic, doesn’t mean you can’t wish those in the business the best of luck and that a million other people would be willing to drop the buck you won’t.
Don’t do yourself a disservice by not at least expanding your comic book reading horizon. Stroll to the other side of the comic shop, Marvel only fan, and maybe pick up one DC book and vice versa. Big 2 only fans, make a stop by the independent shelf and grab an Image, Dark Horse or IDW book and try something new on for size. You’ll be a better comic book fan for it, I promise, and while it may take several trials and errors with that one publisher you just can’t stand for any multitude of reasons, you will find something you like or never knew existed. You’ll discover that there are great things coming out from just about everyone and just by trying something new, or just saying something positive to a new reader about something that might not work for you will make the comic book industry a better and stronger place.
I’m all for a good superhero debate and we all win when we actively support what we love. But the industry will be stronger as a whole if we step out side some preconceived notion and give something new, unknown or strange a try.
EXPAND YOUR COMIC HORIZONS
Never read an Image book? Never fear. Think DC is just for kids? No problem. Tired of all the Marvel NOW’s? Not to worry. As a comic book shop manager I get asked all kinds of questions about where to start, what does the New 52 mean, what’s the deal with Spider-Man, aka Spock, what can my 5 year-old read that appropriate? As a service to the comic book community at large and for those fearful of treading in enemy waters, I have complied a list of comics you might want to try. They may not be perfect but I would be shocked if you didn’t enjoy and possible champion one or more of these titles. Give it a try or pass it along to someone else. We’ll all be better comic book fans for it!
MARVEL: Black Widow, Avengers World, She-Hulk, Hawkeye, All-New Invaders, New Avengers, Magneto, Uncanny Avengers
DC: Earth 2, Superman Wonder Woman, Batman, Justice League, Harley Quinn, Green Lantern, Red Lanterns, Swamp Thing, Justice League Dark
VERTIGO: The Wake, Trillium, Sandman: Overture, Fables
IMAGE: Saga, East of West, Velvet, Revival, Pretty Deadly, Alex + Ada, Lazarus
DARK HORSE: Star Wars, Captain Midnight, Mind MGMT, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind, The Massive
VALIANT: X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Archer & Armstrong, Shadowman, Unity, Quantum and Woody
IDW: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ongoing Series, Locke & Key, Judge Dredd
DYNAMITE: Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Magnus: Robot Fighter, Twilight Zone, Red Sonja
BOOM!: Clockwork Angels, Polarity, Six-Gun Gorilla, Regular Show
ONI PRESS: Letter 44, The Sixth Gun, Wasteland, Helheim: The Witch War
SAFE FOR ALL AGES and still great reads:
The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, Ben 10, My Little Pony, Adventure Time, Herobear and the Kid, Lil’ Gotham