How to buy comic books.
Many people who got into marvel via the MCU Can find it daunting to crossover into the world of Marvel comics. There are a lot of misconceptions about comics, the prevalent idea that you have to go into some horrible dungeon populated by dude bros and neck beards and then fork over $300 an issue for some obscure Spider-man title if you want to truly enjoy the comic experience.
I am here to tell you that is absolutely untrue.
There are many ways to find, purchase and enjoy comic books and many different kinds of comic books to enjoy.
As for what to buy that’s a different post and also something that I (and lots of others) am always open to answering individually because it usually takes an individually tailored answer. Just hit my ask box anytime. Today I’m going to be talking about how to purchase comics.
Basically, you have three options digital, issues or trade paperback (TPB)
Digital comics are great, you can carry them with you anywhere on a phone or tablet and they don’t take up a lot of storage space, you can buy collections at discounted prices, they are usually a little cheaper per issue, often go on sale and #1s are occasionally given away as freebies.
You can buy through the Marvel website at Marvel.com but by far the best website seems to be Comixology. Their sales are legend.
Marvel has also just recently launched Marvel unlimited. You can get a subscription for ten dollars a month and have unlimited access to a large library of digital comics. This means that if you are a fast reader that you could conceivably read all of the back issues of a character you are interested in for about $10 to $20 or you could spend a month reading #1s to see what you like. Pretty good deal.
Digital is great if you want to play catch up with old issues but one of the big downsides is having to wait weeks or months for issues on the newsstand to be available in digital format.
If you want physical copies, as many people do, you have quite a few options there too. You can buy comics as single issues or as trade paperbacks.
Trade paperbacks are collections of comics that usually make up a story arc, so you can read one self-contained and though you may not know all of what’s going on it should still tell you an entertaining story.
You can find trade paperbacks all over the place. You can get them mail order from Amazon or other online bookstores. You can get them at big chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble, you can even find them in used bookstores on occasion. If you are buying from a brick-and-mortar store (even a comic book store) they may not have a huge selection depending on the size but most will let you place orders through them so if you know the name of what you want then you can almost always get it.
Now if you want to read new things as they come out every Wednesday, or newish books that have not been collected in trades yet, you’re going to want to start buying single issues of comics. Some larger bookstores do actually have a comics section, my local Barnes & Noble has quite a few popular titles over with the magazines, but your best bet is to go to your local comic book store.
I know a lot of comic book stores get a bad rap but more and more I’m hearing stories about new readers having really positive experiences at their local shop. At the end of the day they are a business and they want your money so they should provide you with some basic customer service. If they’re not there are other options, you can take your business elsewhere, but if you do find a good comic book shop it can become a wonderful part of your life. With lots of friends to met, signings to attend and new books to find.
Another great bonus of finding a local comic book store is it you can start a pull list with them. If you like a book and plan to buy every issue, let them know you want it pulled and every Wednesday they will set aside the books that you asked for and you can pick them up anytime in the week. This is also really great for them because it helps them know how many books to order and it’s great for supporting sales of the book.
The last way to get comics, and one I know that a lot of my non-American friends use, is to get mail order subscriptions you can do this through the Marvel website and you actually get a discount on the cover price if you buy a full year of an issue and get it delivered to your house every month this is a great option if you live somewhere far away from a comic book store and are unable to get transportation very easily. There are also places like Midtown Comics (they can even do a pull list for you) and Things From Another World that do mail order, you can pre-order comics or buy whatever issues they have in stock. I find both sites occasionally hard to navigate if you don’t know just what you are looking for but if you have the time to hunt around you can usually find what you want.
“Yeah, that’s cool but where can I find free comics?”
Print comics is not exactly a thriving industry and while sales are actually going up for the first time in years and in terms of going artistic quality it seems like Marvel is entering something like a second renaissance with a new outlook and lots of amazing stories and talented writers and artists, the money that’s coming in from the big hit movies just isn’t there in the print form and books can still be cut before the first issue even hits the stands if there isn’t enough interest in it.
This is one instance where voting with your dollar is absolutely 100% the best thing to do. There are a lot of people who believe in try-before-you-buy pirating and I’m not going to say anything against that but if you do like some of what you read and you have any desire to see more of it is really important to actually purchase the book. I know not everybody has a ton of money but if something is important to you putting aside $3 or $4 a month to buy single issue will probably not make or break your budget. So if you want to keep seeing interesting artists, innovative character driven stories like Hawkeye and awesome well-written female characters with title books like Capt. Marvel, it might be worth it to skip Starbucks for a couple of days and use one of the many methods of listed above to pick up the book and show Marvel that there is money in making books that break the mold.