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Comic Culture: Tips For Finding New Books To Read

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I am guilty of it, and I am sure many of you are as well. You get into a routine with your monthly pull list. You’re coasting along. Everything is good. And then all of sudden it happens. You start to get the itch for something new. Whether it be because one of your current books is slipping, or you just need to switch things up, it’s bound to happen to all of us. Sometimes it’s easy to figure out what to try, but sometimes it’s not. Well, hopefully this post can shed some light on different avenues to scope out new things for your starving comic eyes. So without further adieu, let’s press on!

Many people don't think of libraries as great places to find comics, but depending on their network some libraries have access to a lot of trades.

Many people don’t think of libraries as great places to find comics, but depending on their network some libraries have access to a lot of trades.

  • Research the genres you like: If you’re a horror buff (for example), take a few minutes and jump on the web and see what other horror books are making waves that people are talking about. These books can be current or past books. There’s nothing worse than limiting yourself to JUST current titles. Granted it’s hard enough at times to stay on top of current books, but there are so many classics out there waiting to be read, so at least take a few minutes and see if there might be something you might like. Chances are, depending on how old it is, you could find it cheap at a second hand store, online or even in a library.
  • Research other current and past creator owned-titles by writers and artists you like: This sadly seems to be one of the last things on people’s minds. I see this more often with readers that like to stick with the Big Two. They seem to be more attached to the characters (ie Batman, Superman, Green Lantern) than the writers and artists behind the scenes actually making the magic happen. I will admit I used to be one of these people, and there’s nothing wrong with that. To me now, though, that mindset just seems to be kind of limiting. If I never would have stepped out of the “Big Two” box I wouldn’t have discovered books like The Underwater Welder, I Kill Giants, or Fear Agent which all remain some of my favorites to this day. That also leads me to my next point. More often than not if a writer or artist are working on a Big Two book chances are pretty good that if they have a creator-owned book (Image, BOOM, Monkeybrain, Oni Press) it will be better. On these books there are virtuously no limitations, and they have more freedom to do whatever they want with the characters because they OWN them. So, in closing if you’re reading something from a writer or artist on a Big Two title, give their creator owned work a try and I GUARANTEE you won’t regret it.
  • Look up “Top _____” lists: These lists are pretty easy to find on the Internet and are even in some books and magazines. There’s really no need to go into detail about them because they are really self explanatory. One thing, though, is to make sure and keep your eyes open specifically for the Year-End Best Of Lists. I have found many great things on these lists over the years from many different sources. Happy hunting.
  • Take recommendations from friends: If you are fortunate enough to have friends who are also avid comic readers this can be a GREAT resource. I lean on these people more for ideas and suggestions I wouldn’t normally think of. There always seems to be a little more credence with these suggestions when they are coming from someone you know personally. Granted, any suggestion is more than welcome, but I like to use these people to think outside of the box and I try to do the same for them when I can.
  • Take a risk: This is one thing that I try and force myself to do at least once a month. Now I don’t go in completely blind on these purchases, but for the most part other than reading the back cover, or maybe looking up one review or two, if it looks and sounds cool I give it a try. Sometimes it’s a hit, and sometimes it’s a miss. But, that’s the fun of it. And, it also forces you to get out of your comfort zone and truly TRY something new. One great place to do this is a second hand store like Half Price Books, because you never know what the selection is when you go in there, and by not knowing you are almost forced to think outside of the box. I know it may sound scary, but it’s not. Trust me. I do it a lot.
Half Price Books has great deals on used trades, hardcovers and back issues.

Half Price Books has great deals on used trades, hardcovers and back issues.

OK, does that help? Hopefully there are a few ideas on this list that will help you find new things to read when you get in a rut. And, if there are other things I am missing please feel free to hit me up on twitter or in the comments below and let me know. Until next time.

Happy reading.

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