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– by Kyle Malone

Comic books… they are a relatively young form of written entertainment, having become popularized in the United States in the 1930s, but have become a billion dollar industry in print and digital sales. They are also the inspiration for countless movies including the incredibly popular Marvel Cinematic Universe. The multimedia, merchandising, and book sales make comic books one of the most popular and lucrative items in the world. The traditional form of comics and the place to buy them is hurting though. Sales are declining and local comic book shops are closing their doors. If we’re not careful we’ll lose this great art form and everything that comes with it.

When you think about comic books the first image you get is usually a character from DC or Marvel. Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and Captain America are all examples of the traditional comic book superhero and are often favorites of comic book fans. However, there are dozens of companies outside of the big two that produce more stories that caped heroes running around in their undies. Everything from original fantasy and science fiction stories to licensed properties from television and film, comic books have something for everyone.

Like novels, comics provide a great escape from the normality of daily life. Unlike novels though, comics come illustrated and help build the world in your mind more vividly. A lot of care goes into the artwork of comics and character designs. Some artists become so beloved that comic book publishers pay top dollar for exclusive multi-year and multi-book contracts. Readers all have a favorite writer, but they also have a favorite artist. These comic book worlds can provide you the exact medicine you need for a bad day or bad week.

Books like Saga or Rat Queens can offer you a comedic sci-fi or fantasy adventure that can scratch that itch to laugh while enjoying a story of elves and magic or aliens and robots. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers can lead you down a road of nostalgia while telling a more mature and less cheesy story than the show ever could. Chew and Sex Criminals can send you into strange worlds that will make you laugh, cringe, and question what you would do in the same situations the characters find themselves in. As I said, no matter what you’re into there is a comic book for you.

One of the coolest things about comics is the huge worlds they have within individual books as well as connected or shared universes. Marvel and DC are well known for their connected universes and major cross over events that see characters from multiple books teaming up or fighting each other for one reason or another. IDW, Image, and Dark Horse have also done cross over events. Beyond seeing your favorite heroes team up against a really big bad guy, some comic companies have had cross overs between movie and television characters. The Transformers have crossed over with the Ghostbusters and G.I. Joe, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have fought against and with Batman, and Star Trek has crossed over with Doctor Who. Events like this are just like when you created epic fights with your Voltron and Star Wars toys. Who wouldn’t want to see that on the page?

This is just a fraction of what you’re missing out on by not reading comics and waiting on the movie. Not every comic will get a film or series order on TV, but just about every idea can and will be printed on the page. Do yourself a favor and go down to your local comic book shops and talk to the owner or clerk. Tell them the types of things you’re into and ask them for recommendations on what to read. You could get three to five books for less than $20 especially if you’re buying back issues and find yourself starting a pull folder the very next day. I know we live in a digital world, but there’s something so grand about the feel and smell of reading a printed physical comic book. If you want to see great adaptations on the big screen, you need to get them onto the page first. Plus, if you’re not a serious collector you don’t have to worry about all of the bagging and boarding and variant covers, and that will save you money.

Kyle has read and recommends:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Current ongoing)

Mighty Morphin and Go Go Power Rangers (MMPR thru the end of the Shattered Grid story)

Moon Knight (Jeff Lemire’s run)

Doctor Strange (Last Days of Magic story)

Rat Queens (Both runs were good)

Saga (The first four or five volumes)

Chew (All of it!)

Black Hammer (Everything!)

There’s more but those are some of my more recent favorites.

Do you read comics? Will you go try them now? Let us know in the comments below!

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Kyle is the Weekend Editor for LRM Online and a business school graduate who loves movies, comics, and video games. He shares his passions with his wife and is raising a next-generation geek.