Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Readers

I'm probably the last person to be bringing up DC's 52 reboot as I'm not reading them (other than Justice League) and I'm not going to be a new DC reader, I'm just not interested. But I've been reading plenty of comments on them from new and old readers and among the compliments and complaints there are a few things I'm picking out (whether they're true or not). One, the books don't seem to be all that new reader friendly. If it's not Superman or Batman then new readers have no idea who these characters are and the reboot books don't seem to be origins or introductions to the characters. They are the start of a new story but readers without the history may be feeling lost right from the start. And there doesn't seem to be any closure within the issues (with maybe a couple exceptions). This can be jarring to new comic readers who are expecting a contained story. I think they expect like a TV show or movie that there will be some sort of contained story in the issue even if it is part of an ongoing larger story.

So I think about when friends ask me about getting into comics and what to read, my first reaction is usually "well what would you be interested in reading?" Are they in to horror, westerns, sci fi, romance, or do they really want to give superhero stuff a try? And then I go to books/stories/characters I feel they can get into easily and this is usually not Marvel or DC. Unless they say "I saw Thor and really want to read Thor comics" I just don't go there. I find any character who has a story going back to the 1960's can be a little daunting. I usually go with ones where they can go into a comic shop, bookstore, or Amazon and grab a TPB or two and figure out if the story is for them. So I go with Invincible, Elephantmen, Atomic Robo, Walking Dead, Chew, Sandman, Fables,... And it's easy to direct them to volume 1. Where do you direct someone for Marvel or DC characters? The "essential" volumes? More recent TPBs? More recent "relaunches" of the character (if they have one)? I'm just never sure.

It has me thinking, would DC's reboot have been better served by having single issues or even initial TPBs that contained full stories that actually introduced the characters (either through origins or just self contained stories that at least told you who they are). Would it benefit DC (or even Marvel) to put out such books? A confined "All you need to know about Spider-Man/Thor/Captain America/Superman/Batman" comic (either single issue, TPB, or digital comic they can get from their sites. And I'm not talking those 2-3 pagers that don't really give you any actual story. Because as it is I'm still directing any potential new readers elsewhere.

But that may just be me.

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