Saturday 6 July 2013

Top Ten Reasons You Should Be Reading Comics And Graphic Novels - And Super Secret Project Announcement!

I've been reading a lot of comics and graphic novels recently, and I think you should be too. Why?

1. The variety on offer. From pulp action (the awesome Dynamite Comics line) to LGBT romance (the fabulous Flutter, written by Jennie Wood, art by Jeff McComsey), from superhero stories (Dan Slott's stunning Superior Spider-Man, with Ryan Stegman, Humberto Ramos and Giuseppe Garmuncoli on art) to horror (Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's Locke and Key), from incredible original tales like Mark Waid and Peter Krause's Insufferable to awesome adaptations (Daniel Abraham and Tommy Patterson's superb adaptation of George R R Martin's A Game Of Thrones) and so much more, there's something for everyone in current/recent comics and GNs.

2. They look gorgeous. Well, gorgeous may not be quite the right word for certain of them - there are parts of Graeme Buchan and Felipe Sanhueza Marambio's Creepy Scarlett which would possibly be better described as nightmare-inducing - but the amount of phenomenal artists out there is amazing. Take a look at Bodie Troll by Jay Fosgitt and you'd have to try hard to avoid falling in love with the title character.

3. They’re not just for kids. Okay, we all knew that – the ‘they’re for children’ argument used occasionally to put down comics readers is only used by a few people these days, and it’s unlikely that any of my sophisticated, mature and intelligent readers would believe something like this.

4. But some of them are. The flipside of the above is that sometimes people complain that comics aren’t suitable for young children any more. There may be something of a point here in that some comics definitely aren’t ones I’d recommend to youngsters – although handily there’s a rating guide to give some idea of what age range comics are suggested for – but that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of great all-ages comics out there. Bodie Troll by Jay Fosgitt springs to mind as a superb one that I’m recommending to every parent out there. 

5. The story never ends. Not always true, to be fair, but so many comics characters out there have been going for decades and show no sign of stopping soon. Enter the world of the X-Men, for example, and you have thousands of issues you can catch up on.

6. You can get them cheaply. Between free issues and sales on Comixology and a Marvel DCU subscription for digital comics, and the chance to pick up bargains on eBay for job lots of physical copies, getting your hands on a decent amount of comics isn’t expensive. Those of us with no self-control can admittedly find spending can rise – but it doesn’t have to. Your local library is also a great place to get collected editions (trade paperbacks) of many series.

7. Rereading them is easier. One aspect of a really interesting discussion a few weeks ago about spoilers was that sometimes, a particular work is BETTER when you know what’s coming. I can appreciate that suggestion, and think I agree with it at times, but I can’t bear spoilers and struggle to find the time to reread novels due to the sheer amount I have that I haven’t read yet. I can read a comic really quickly, though, and then reread it – and there are definitely some which you can take so much more from second time around. Becky Cloonan’s Demeter stands out, in particular!

8. There’s no budgetary constraints for creators. Well, they do need to be able to afford materials to write and draw comics, I suppose. However if you read Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Eight you’ll see things that simply couldn’t have been done on TV because the cost of special effects, etc, would have been through the roof. In comics, as in novels, anything is possible.

9. There’s a great community. Several, in fact. In addition to lots of incredibly enthusiastic people on Twitter who love discussing comics, there are some brilliant fan sites out there. I love Comic Book Resources – I avoid the Marvel and DC forums because I’m so far behind with many of their books, but the independent forums are a superb way to find out about books you may not have heard of before. Marvel Masterworks is another great forum, while blogs like New Readers Start Here, That Comic Blog, Red Mage Comics, and many others run superb reviews and features.

10. My new blog - which I'm running in addition to YA Yeah Yeah and YA Contemporary will focus solely on them. That’s right, the Super Secret Project (which half of my readers may well know about as I’m terrible at keeping things quiet!) is the upcoming GN Yeah Yeah, focusing completely on comics and graphic novels. Whether you’re a long-time comics fan or just someone who’d like to give some great books a try, the aim is to make it a great place to find recommendations. It will particularly focus on books which I’d recommend to new readers – short runs, one-shots, limited series, and some of the Marvel/DC books which ‘stand alone’ rather than needing you to be reading lots of others at the same time. I’m hugely excited about it, and hope that some of my readers here at YA Yeah Yeah who don’t normally check out graphic novels and comics will give some of my recommendations a try. Launching Thursday 11th July, and featuring a great interview with Princeless writer Jeremy Whitley on Friday 12th, I can't wait to share this with you!

Are you a comics fan? If so, are you looking forward to GN Yeah Yeah? If not, is there anything that I could do on GN Yeah Yeah to persuade you to give a couple of books a try? Please leave me a comment, I'd love to hear from you!

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