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How to Start Reading Comic Books

Interested in getting into comic books but having trouble finding a jumping-on point? Start here!

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Welcome to the world of comic books!

See if any of the following apply to you:

*I binge watch Big Bang Theory reruns every time I stumble across them
*my ex-roommate had Sandman trades on the coffee table
*my family and I love going to Marvel movies
*I remember loving the 90s X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons
*the Walking Dead is my favoritist show ever

Most of us have experienced at least one of those but they are also just scratching the surface of all the places we encounter comic books in popular culture. Whether it's a movie or tv show, video game or Youtube video, whether you hear people talking about them at work or school, comics are a fact of modern life.

But most of us either haven't read a comic since we were a kid or have never read one. We love Spider-Man and Batman, but we haven’t got any idea what to read or sometimes even how to start. Yet the comics themselves are the source material for everything else.

Every week, Paradox is on the front lines of the biggest pop culture movement in the history of the world. We sell the classic stories and first appearances of the characters you are falling in love with. We sell their adventures every Wednesday. We sell the stories that the next ten years of media interpretations will be based on. Basically, everything begins right here at your local comic shop.

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It’s our job to introduce you to all the worlds of imagination on our shelves every single week. You need to know everything but most of all you need to know how to start. The best way we can help is if you stop by so we can share our enthusiasm and love of comics with you!!

Ok, pep talk over. If you are still reading, it’s because you are ready to take the leap or at least thinking real hard about it. So now here’s our checklist of how to begin:

*How do I read comics?

Let’s start with the absolute basics. Comics are just like books in that they are read left to right and from up to down. The trick of course is that comics use pictures to fill in most of the information that the prose of a book does. You can jump back and forth between the dialogue you’ll see and the pictures however you’d like. Some people read the dialogue first, some people look at the pictures, there is no right or wrong. Don’t over think it or be intimidated. It can definitely take a little getting used to if you are new but it’s really not tricky.

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*I have no idea where to start!

Many of you know comics have been around for nearly 100 years now and you may have seen Superman and Batman celebrating their 80th birthdays, or a headline that Spider-Man was on issue #800. No doubt that seems like an impossible barrier to overcome. But it’s really not.

 Think about a couple things first: if you had to read everything back to the beginning, most comic readers would be about to turn 100 years old, all the comic creators would be right there with them, and even the characters would be way past retirement age. I’d guess that when you saw your first Spider-Man movie, you knew something about him. I bet when you saw the Avengers for the first time you were able to pick up what was going on without reading 40 years of comics to get ready. Well, good news, picking up a comic is just like sitting down in that movie theater.

*Are there good places to start or do I have to read from the beginning?

Over the decades, comics have gone through all kinds of different eras, creative  teams, and interpretations. The characters' stories and even their origins have been changed and reinterpreted over and over again. So that’s the answer? With our help, you find a starting point along the way. We’ll probably ask you which movies you’ve seen or what your favorite tv show is. Oh, and that’s just super heroes - now I’m really going to blow your socks off. Do you like fantasy novels? Science fiction series? Romance or dramas? Today’s comics have grown up and broken out of every stereotype you can imagine and along the way have blossomed into a rich, adult, and critically recognized medium full of as many things under the sun as you can possibly imagine. Netflix, Hulu, movie studios, video games, and even novels have taken the source material from the comics and put them in front of you in so many ways you may not always know you are reading or watching something based on a comic. There are comic publishers dedicated to creator owned material. Companies such as Image where you’ll find the original comics the Walking Dead is based on. Publishers like IDW and Boom where you will find adapations of everything from Ghostbusters to Transformers. Plus just this past decade, Marvel and DC have relaunched their characters and universes multiple times providing perfect opportunities to get you reading. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Just like everyone else in entertainment, comic companies are always looking to find new fans and new readers for the next generation so it’s their job, and ours, to make sure you can join us on the journey.

*Ok, i believe you, and i want to try some comics. Now what do i do?

It’s time to stop by Paradox and ask for our experts help or just browse the racks and let your eyes guide you to something really cool looking. We’ll help you find something related to your existing tastes or find the stories your favorite movies are based on. One way comic companies overcome that 80 years of history is by breaking their long selling titles up into what we call ‘runs’. Once you start researching, you’ll notice that a particular writer or artist will write 100+ consecutive issues of a character or you’ll find a gigantic intertwined crossover blockbuster or even an original series that is not based on the super hero movies at all. Those are all ‘runs’.  Many times, the movies or tv shows are based on one of those runs and they have a beginning, a middle, and an end all to themselves. You won’t always be able to get every single issue of those runs individually, but we can guide you to the collected editions that allow you to read them start to finish.

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Whew. That got pretty long. But if you are here, then you are ready and armed to read! New comics hit our stands every Wednesday morning at 10AM, we’ve got subscription plans so you never miss what you want, we’ve got all kinds of events like Free Comic Book Day to make it as easy as possible to join in the fun, and most of all we’ve got a staff of experts ready to meet you! Did you love the Guardians of the Galaxy movies? You waited two years in between the first two and now at least four for the third one. Meantime, there are new Guardians comics hitting the stands every month, sometimes multiples. There’s comics for Star Lord, Gamorra, Rocket, and Groot, too. That’s just one tiny example. The point is your favorite characters are here all the time not just every once in a while. So come down and introduce yourself and we’ll introduce you to the greatest hobby in the world!!