Comics are one of my many little addictions, other being anime and novels. Comics are the western iteration of manga and nowadays comics have become more or synonymous with superhero. But, that is certainly not the case.
This “guide” will cover most of the basics in simple and basic words, so that anyone can understand it. Also, this is just the first part of the “Beginners Guide To Comics” and I might add at least one more part to the series. So, shall we begin?
What are Comics?
Comics are basically magazines with sequential artwork and words that convey a story. Comics are of different types which I will cover shortly and also have different genres. But, as I said earlier that comics are more famous nowadays for superheroes, ranging from Batman to Moon Knight (non-super powered heroes), and from Captain America to Superman (the super powered category). But, people who want comics for other category might be happy to hear the fact that there are comics that print comics on genre like thriller, sci-fi, etc.
Comic Books originally started from the newspaper comic strip. They were originally a collection of comic strips that were found in the newspapers but this changed when Action Comics #1 was released in 1938 and introduced the character, a super-hero, Superman. This comic book went way famous and this saw the birth of the comic book industry and introduced the numerous heroes and villains we have today.
Types of Comics
Comics nowadays come in different format and here are the basic types:
Comic Strip: These are the small strips you find in comics nowadays. Example, Garfield is a very famous example.
Comic Books: The very thing I described above. Example, Action Comics, Batman, Iron Man, and so on.
Graphic Novels: These are basically a collection of comic books and has been gaining a lot of success nowadays. Publishers have been using Graphic Novels as a medium to publish mature subjects and content.
Web Comics: This refers to both Comic Strips and Comic Books that can be found on the internet. Ctrl, Alt, Delete is a famous example of Web Comics and is done by a small endeavor.
One Shots: One shots are comic books that are not a series. These comics are usually launched with other Comic Books to see how the fans react to the new One Shot and whether it would be worth it to turn it into a series.
Mini-Series: Mini Series are Comic Books that run for a predefined period. The number of Issues are set and usually do not cross over 10 issues. Thanos Rising is an example of Mini Series that tells the origin of Thanos.
Now, that covered the basics about Comics. Now, this section will cover the resources needed to read comics or know more about certain Concepts or release dates of certain Issues.
ComicVine: This site is the best site for you to visit if you need to find something. A beautiful layout and an amazing helpful community is what makes this site great. There is also a Recommended To Read tab which recommends which Issues you should read to know more about the character or which Volume is the Best. Link: www.comicvine.com
Comic Book Roundup: This website lets you read the reviews from different sources and lists the best-selling comics from a publisher. It is somewhat like metacritic but just for comics. The site also offers a round-up score from all the reviews. Link: www.comicbookroundup.com
Comic Book Resources: Comic Book Resources or called CBR is similar to comicvine and also contains a dedicated community. You can also find news about various adaptations of various characters and also reviews on different stuff related to comics.Link: www.comicbookresources.com
Now, for comic readers for those who get their comics digitally here are some readers that you can use.
CDisplay/CDisplayEx: The best reader for comic books in cbr format. Just install it, and open any comic issue to start reading them.Link: http://www.cdisplayex.com/
ComicRack: Other alternative to CDisplayEx. This one is pretty famous and has an android app and an iPad app for your handheld comic needs. Link: http://comicrack.cyolito.com/
These are the companies who publish the comic books written and illustrated by various artists. The industry is divided into 4 major parts (the classification is mine own):
- DC: DC is one of the best industry out there rivaled only by Marvel. DC Comics is owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner. DC is known for its well-known characters like, Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, Flash, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Catwoman, Constantine, etc. Superhero Teams such as Teen Titans, Justice League United, Justice League Dark, and Justice League of America are also a part of DC.
- Marvel: The longtime rival to DC. Owned by Disney (bought in 2009), this company was the first one to start the Superhero mania. Beginners might know the name Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Fury, Hawk Eye, etc. as they appear either in their own standalone movie or appear in the team up movie called Avengers.
- Image Comics: Honestly, my favorite publisher out there right now. Owned and run by people who write and illustrate comics, this publisher is attracting fans with its beautiful storyline and artwork. I will talk in detail about some of its comics in a later issue.
- Dark Horse Comics: These are the guys behind all the major tie-in comics that sometimes come out with video games or movies. They have a pretty dedicated fan base and their comics are also pretty brilliant at times too.
- IDW Publishing: These are the people who are currently writing and illustrating the Samurai Jack comics. They are also the one responsible for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics.
The above mentioned publishers are not the only publishers in the publishing business and there are at least a dozen more of them out there. There are also indie publishers who publish just one series at a time and do not have a large fan base or scope. Zenescope Entertainment, Dynamite Entertainment are one of the few examples.
Well, this ends the first part (hopefully!) to the Beginners Guide Series. Next Article in this series will have some recommendation for people who want to read the comics of the Leading Publishers, i.e. DC and Marvel. So, if you made it this far in reading, thank you for reading it! Also if there are any suggestions or if you think I missed something or some point, write it into the comments section and I will reply to them. Cheers!