« Comics Of The Weak: In The Eyes | Main | Television Of The Weak: Special One Show Only Edition »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

When you commit, make sure the series you choose has the same STD as you.

it makes things easier.

Knife party with Nina.

Sturgeon's Law says 90% of everything is crap. It's just that in the case of comics it's more like 99%, so finding worthwhile stuff is hard (unless you're already some sort of wretched addict and don't care what you're reading as long as it showed up in shabby little store on a Wednesday). Which is to say, I don't think you should feel insulted by recommendations... but, just in case, I won't make any. ;-)

I thought you were quitting the blog altogether or something. That would have sucked.

I thought you were into that Fables miniseries? Is it because it was a miniseries and not an ongoing?

Anyway, I'm glad you'll still be writing about comics.

It's not 'cause "you're a girl", it's 'cause you're new! Music people give recommendations out to new listeners of a genre all the time-it's not because the person they're recommending things to is presumed to be stupid or inept, it's just that the people giving the recommendations want the other person to be as into the thing as they are.

Is "Dark Wolverine" about Wolverine? I thought it was about his evil son...

As for what series you should try to follow all I can say is look for something that matches your tastes outside of comics. Ask around for what ongoing books might fit...

They really call it Dark Wolverine?

What makes him so goddamn dark?

Send him over to my place, and I'll show him some dark.

These sonsabitches never been anywhere, never seen anything.

Can't wait for your next step, Nina; wish I had a good suggestion for a non-"Virgin Read" title...

"Dark Virgin"?

Well, shit, that's a relief. When I saw the title, my blood ran cold, and I prepared to rend my clothes and emit horrible lamentations. So now I'm curious as to what you're going to be following. Is it one that you've written about and liked before? Fables? BPRD? Hellboy? I still like the title, but "Ex-Virgin Read" might be appropriate? Or dumb? Do I use too many question marks? Should I shut up now?

It's not that you're a girl, and I'm sure most people aren't patronizing you. I can understand feeling like that, because there are a lot of dicks who happen to read comics. You're not doing anything wrong. Don't feel bad, don't even feel pretend-internet bad. People want you reading comics, and well...

The problem with comics is not that there are niche titles for fans, but that these dominate the scene, and the most iconic characters in the medium are locked up in them. They're not going away, and they shouldn't go away. There's nothing inherently wrong with them, it's their level of visibility.

The problem is actually that all too often, people new to the medium gravitate towards the most visible comics, and these are usually the most incomprehensible and new user unfriendly. Understandably, a lot of people come away with the idea that EVERYTHING is like that.

In comics, the people worth listening to recommend so much not to lord their taste over you, but because it's very easy to get turned off, the way things are these days. I can only speak for myself, but I don't want anybody scared off, I want them reading things that they would like. The easiest way for them to get scared off is by reading Green Shitto Komix 1000, finding it to be garbage and then throwing up their arms with a resounding "Fuck comics!"

It's sad, but you might need a high tolerance for bullshit to allow the love for comics to click. Reading your column, I think you've probably realized this.

I drifted into comics on my own, I never knew anyone growing up who liked them. I started out in libraries, and I just liked the idea of telling stories with both words and pictures so much that even when I encountered garbage, I just tried something else. Eventually I found stuff like Cerebus, Elfquest and the Books of Magic, and I was hooked for life.

The book that got me into regularly reading superhero comics was the relatively continuity-heavy Marvel title Captain Marvel, during Peter David's tenure on the title.

The main character was the son of an obscure character who's most notable accomplishment was dying (in a novel way for superheroes) so Jim Starlin could write a story about his Dad's death from cancer. The status quo of the book was created in a completely seperate miniseries about how Kurt Busiek knows much more about the Avengers than everyone else.

Despite knowning almost nothing about what was going on, even with the handy late 90s Marvel recaps, and despite being a kid, I ate that shit up with a spoon. It was funny, the characters were distinct, it was illustrated well, things actually happened, and most importantly, what was happening always fit well and made sense. The fact that I hadn't read Avengers Forever and didn't know who the hell Rick Jones was didn't make a bit of difference.

I think because there's so much continuity in superhero comics, people are afraid that they will never understand what is going on. All too often, this is completely true, especially with guys like Geoff Johns, who write for a secret insiders club. However, the best writers of serial fiction will always explain, usually in a natural way, who that obscure character they've decided to use is, or whatever.

My suggestion to you is to just keep trying new things. True, sometimes you'll get burned, but sometimes you'll find something new to love. It's nerdy, but one of the things I love about comics is the treasure hunt aspect. Finding some weird, obscure miniseries from the 80s is just so cool.


Like Chris and Lugh said, it's absolutely not because you're a girl. It's because I think most of us view you as a sort of friend. We want to help you enjoy yourself while you continue to do this. (It's like friends don't let friends read Dark Wolverine, you know?) It's just damn hard to find good comics to read until you get a feel for the scene and develop a filter for what you think would appeal to you and what you think you'd be wasting your time experimenting with.

For me, when I drifted back into comics again, I began with the dumb, stupid superhero stuff because in my own way, I was doing what you've been doing. I was trying to find my way into the scene again. It wasn't until my old friend from childhood, Jason, came back into my life and we started discussing the various comic blogs did I really start looking into the alternative scene again and begin finding new stuff I liked.

I'm a life-long comic reader, yet most of the comics I keep up with come out either quarterly or annually. I don't think there's any series I keep up with on a monthly basis. Even the monthly series I *love* (Invincible), I only read the annual collections of.

Please don't read. Your column, your approach, it's made me enjoy comics soooooo much more. I've adapted your approach and every week I pick one comic to read, and that has really made me appreciate everything more. I take more time with the comic and ask myself why I enjoy it and what about me as a person makes me enjoy it. (I know much more about the scene than you do, so usually I pick something I'm pretty certain I'll love.)

I was just thinking - you live in Brooklyn, right? You should go to Rocketship! It's in Park Slope. (I think, I'm still new to Brooklyn and learning my way around.) It's really nice inside and practically invites you to look around and find something engaging. I always end up being really happy when I'm there, anyway....

I imagine the conversation went something like this:

Nina: "I'm bored by reading and having to write about comics that are boring and I have no personal investment it."

Tucker: "I like comics!"

Nina: "I think I'll commit to one series, and that will give me a deeper understanding of the medium."

Tucker: "I like comics! Also, trying to come up with something new to say about a new issue of the same series over and over and over -- yeah, that's totally fun!"

In my Stone Family drama re-enactment, Tucker Stone is played by Geoff Johns.

I like comics!

In my Stone Family drama re-enactment, Tucker Stone is played by Geoff Johns.

Hopefully not, unless you want your family drama interspersed with brutal decapitations.

Glad to see you'll still be writing... something.

I view recommendations sort of like traning wheels. You use them for a while, but eventually (maybe now) you have the skills needed to ride and explore on your own. Sorry if that analogy sucks, but it's nice to see you "grow" in this manner and still have some small bit of interest in the medium.

Maybe you can be young Madonna, *Like* A Virgin, but not really.

Madonna was like a virgin in that she was all stretched out but then met a dude so hung that it actually hurt again.

I think I learned that from David Brothers.

I think you should read Detective Comics, Nina, because it is - for the nonce - about LADIES who detect. I could sort of stand to read you do that for a year? So glad you're not quittin'.

Or - I don't know? Had another idea, forgot. I'd quite like you to read the Empowered comic this week coming, also. I think.

A list of other things you should totally do follows shortly.

I agree with everyone who expresses relief that you're still going to be writing something, even if you've, um, lost your virginity. Whew. I would not like having you retire from the Factual.

Here's a thought for getting past the superficiality, and for asking a different question: There are a lot of long series out there, well-regarded and with a lot of numbered collected editions, both in manga and American comics. What if you picked up volume one of a few of those (perhaps eschewing the mainstream superhero stuff) until you found a series, like Nana, you wanted to keep up with. Review the whole thing at whatever speed you do.

You can read it from the general perspective of, "Is this really good, in the long term, as a coherent whole (or as a still-continuing story, but with a lot of pages already logged)," or "Does it use its length to truly explore its characters and world, or does it work the same gimmick forever, with diminishing returns?"

Probably a lot of such series have been suggested to you already. The usual suspects include: Fables, Love & Rockets, Sandman ('cause we need more people writing about that!), um, Powers, of course. Pluto. Crime stuff like 100 Bullets or the still-ongoing Scalped. Some of these Volume Ones might already be sitting on Tucker's shelves.

Or pose similar questions of completely standalone works, such as Asterios Polyp, any of Will Eisner's later work, Ode to Kirihito, whatever. Oni Press does a lot of standalone little graphic novels, often centered around contemporary relationship dramas rather than spaceships and spandex.

Whatever you come up with, there seems to be a long list of us looking forward to it. Thanks for the Virgin Era ...

Babies are, in fact, little humans.

They don't like to be called "little humans." It's politically incorrect.

you don't need a new title, you need a sub title. THE VIRGIN READ: BECAUSE EVERY TIME IS LIKE THE FIRST.

Somewhere in here there's a good joke about Dark Wolverine popping more than his claws.

Well, there's always the remaining issues of "Beasts of Burden" and "Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love".

"Once you ain't a virgin no more, you're a whore..." - Paul Sorvino as "Hips" in "The Gambler" (d. Karel Reisz, 1974)

Whatever series you pick, your new column should be called "Whored On Comix."

Has a nice "Joy Division" / "New Order" connectedness, right?

You are very welcome.

"I have to wonder if sometimes, it's just assumed that because I'm a girl, I can't make up her own mind."

No, it's assumed that you can't find what you'll enjoy because the comics market isn't the most welcoming place for newcomers. Take this comic, for instance. You had no idea that even though it says "Wolverine" on the cover, it's actually not about Wolverine at all. The character being called "Wolverine" is actually Wolverine's son, who's an evil manipulator.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo