Expanding Your Comic-Reading Horizons
It’s easy to let your comic-reading patterns become stagnant after a while. Everyone has their favorite comics that they read every month in print or multiple times a week on the web. These are familiar characters, reassuring faces, and a standard that you can count on. But with that set pattern comes a slippery slope: You stop looking for anything else.
I’m just as guilty of this as the next guy. I avoid tons of new material because it’s not something that I know and trust. I click my familiar links and buy trade paperbacks of my favorite books and pretend that nothing else exists. Starting today, I’ve decided to break this habit and I’m hoping you will too.
Let’s set some two simple goals for ourselves.
GOAL #1: When I go to buy comics, I will try something brand new each month. Think about it- that’s only 12 new things a year. I don’t think that’s difficult or cost-prohibitive. This new comic doesn’t necessarily have to be a brand-new series with a giant "Issue 1" splashed on the cover; it just has to be something I’ve never read before. Here’s the other catch: it has to be done by creators that I’ve never followed. I’m not going to just expand my Warren Ellis collection or buy more Alan Moore books, this has to be brand new, a re-education if you will.
The "Collector" part of my brain fires up when I decide to do this:
"Now you’ll have to collect the whole series, completing some mythical checklist of comics that will let you into Heaven when you die!"
No, Mr. Collector… I’m just trying something new, dabbling really. If it sucks, I have no regrets. I’ll toss it aside and go in for a helping of something else in 30 days. I will continue to try something new each month and I will keep looking for new creative material that inspires me.
GOAL #2: When I’m reading my favorite webcomics, I will consciously go to an effort to try something new each week. Most webcomics don’t cost anything, so it’s practically painless for me to click a link and read some archives.
The "Jaded Web Surfer" part of my brain chimes in when I decide to do this:
"You know that there’s nothing good on the web! You’ll just waste your time wading through pop-up ads and slow-loading webpages that all lead to thinly-veiled porn!"
No, Mr. Jaded… some of the most original material I’ve seen in a long time has been in webcomics. I’ll delve into it and get a feel for one brand new webcomic a week. If it’s achingly bad, I’ll force myself through 10-12 pages and then cast it off into Internet oblivion. No matter how many bad or incomplete webcomics are out there, I’ll keep searching each week to find new and entertaining stuff.
In both cases, when I find a damn good comic, I will tell others about it and keep reading. Good work deserves recognition and I want to make sure that I do my part. It’s not that hard to show other people a good story or e-mail a creator to let them know that I’m reading and enjoying the work that they have created.
Both these goals are reachable and reasonable for me. They require minimal effort and the potential for expanding my reading horizons is quite strong. I’m determined to see more and experience more creativity than the set standard that I’ve built up for myself.
One new print comic and 4 new web comics a month… try it out and let me know how it works for you.
Jim Zubububu is a contributing columnist for Comixpedia.