Gateway to Comics

Gateway to Comics on Tor.com

Even with so many comic-related TV shows and movies these days, getting into reading comics can be difficult. Many comic series have runs in the high triple digits and comic book shops and the medium in general can be intimidating to new readers who want to get into comics, but don’t know where to start. The intention of this new recurring Wednesday feature on Tor.com is to give new readers a clearer picture of what is available and, hopefully, point out a good place to start in a number of different comic book genres and franchises.

Despite the increase in the number of comic-related properties in different mediums, the general opinion of a random person on the street is that all comics are superhero comics. The other is that all comics are for children. Both of these are misconceptions that the industry has spent decades trying to shake. I understand why the first persists, because there are a lot of movies, TV shows, animated shows, computer games and merchandise based on, predominantly, Marvel and DC characters. These two companies cover roughly 70% of the monthly comics market in America, and some of their characters are iconic superheroes with over 70 years of history. They are so well known that their names have become general knowledge. Without ever having read a comic, the same random person on the street would be able to tell you something about a character like Batman, Spider-Man or Superman. Both of these companies have been publishing comics in a variety of genres for decades, but superheroes are their most popular.

There are a number of other publishers in the market that are focused on a particular genre, some produce mature comics, some all ages, some comics tied to popular franchises, and so on. For every genre you might see in a book shop, there is an equivalent comic.

In the Gateway to Comics feature, we’ll focus on reviewing/recapping a “gateway” trade or issue to a genre, series, or character. Meaning you will be able to pick it up without having read any other comic before, and with no prior knowledge of the characters. This is the golden rule. (A lot of these gateway picks will be first volumes of trades, but not always.) We’ll tackle a range of genres, such as western, sci-fi, slice of life, horror, adventure, biography, comedy, history, and many more.

There are a huge wealth of fascinating, exciting, thought-provoking, and award-winning comics out there and I (and perhaps some guest writers down the line) will try to show a little of what is available to new readers, and maybe introduce some new comics to current readers.

We’ve got a cool line-up ahead of us, but we’re just getting started, so feel free to list anything you’d like to see covered in the comments below!


Criminal volume 1: Coward

02/16/11 – Criminal Vol. 1: Coward by Stephen Aryan

Gateway to: Noir comics


Stephen Aryan is a lifelong fan of comics, science fiction and fantasy. He co-hosts the Comic Book Outsiders podcast and writes fantasy and comic book reviews at Walker of Worlds.

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