Getting into comics books can be intimidating. Characters have decades of history. There are dozens of new books every month. You might be jumping into the middle of a story. Even knowing where you can buy comics can be confusing for new readers. In part one of this article I focused on comic book shops. Now I will expand into other places you can get comic books.
Some people don’t have a great comic book shop near them. Don’t let that stop you! There are other options where you can get your monthly comic books. One I recommend is Discount Comic Book Service or DCBS. DCBS is an online comic book store. DCBS can be as intimidating as a brick and mortar shop at first. The first hurdle to get over is having to order your comics two months in advance. The comic book industry is driven by preorders. Publishers put out solicitations 3 months before the books come out. Having to order so early means you will have to read the solicitations so you know what books you want to buy. Another problem is since your comics are being delivered you wont be able to get them the day they come out. If you need to read a comic the second it’s released than an online service like this isn’t for you. Despite the problems, DCBS’s discounts are so good that it’s worth the trouble. Nearly every comic is discounted at least 40%. Some are discounted even more. It lets you get more books on your comic budget. If you don’t have a comic shop near you it’s a great way get your monthly comics. DCBS and services like it aren’t for everyone. You have to weigh the pros and cons and decide if it is right for you.
You can also find comics in more main stream places. Stores like Borders and Barnes and Noble have trades. For this article I will be using the word trade to refer to books of collected monthly comics. The word comes from the term trade paper back. Some people call them graphics novels. Trade for me means any collection of comic books, whether it is softcover or hardcover. Getting trades is a good way for people to dip their toe into comic books. You don’t have to deal with finding a comic book shop. Trades can be found at big book stores or online. You also don’t have to worry about missing any part of a story because a trade will have a complete story arc. Trades are usually cheaper than buying each issue separately too. Unfortunately you will have to wait a few months after the individual issues come out before the trade is released. Trades can be the only way you read comics or they can be a supplement to your monthly books. The only comics my sister reads are trades of The Walking Dead. I get trades to read stories I missed or to try out new series.
The newest way to buy and read comic books is digitally. There is a lot of debate going on about digital comics and how they will affect the industry and retail stores. I will touch on that in a different article. Right now I will just let you know about where to find digital comics. The iPad has really jump started digital comics and now there is no stopping them. For me, the iPad is the best way to read digital comics. Comixology is probably the most well known comic book app on iOS and Android devices. Comixology has comics from lots of different publishers. Every Wednesday Comixology releases new comics. The prices range from 99 cents to $3.99. Most of the comics cost $1.99. Publishers Marvel, DC, Image, and Boom all have separate apps that are part of Comixology. If you don’t have an iPad, Comixology also has a web store where you can buy and read your comics on a computer.
Another great comic book app on the iPad is Graphic.ly. Graphic.ly doesn’t have as many offerings from the big publishers but it does have books and publishers that Comixology doesn’t. Most notable for me is Archaia and their Mouse Guard series. Graphic.ly also has more social networking options. It is trying to bring a comic shop atmosphere to digital comics. Some publishers have decided to strike it out on their own in the digital world. IDW has their own app (I recommend trying out Locke and Key and G.I. Joe Origins from them). Dark Horse Comics is also close to releasing their own digital store. They publish Hellboy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and many other great books.
As digital becomes bigger and bigger more comics will be released in stores and digitally on the same day. Right now most of the books released digitally are from publisher’s back catalogs. There are a few that are released the same day as print though. Some same day releases I am reading digitally are Justice League Generation Lost, Ultimate Comics Captain America and The Waking Dead. Right now digital comics are a great way to read an older story or try a book you aren’t sure about. I hope as digital comics grow they will be a bigger part of how I read my monthly comics.
Hopefully these two articles have shown you the many ways you can get into comic books and made the medium a little less intimidating. There are lots of different options to suit what kind of comic book reader you want to be. It doesn’t matter if you want to read 50 books a month or just want to pick up a trade or two a year. The important thing is you enjoy some amazing stories.