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Into the back issue box!

by  in Comic News Comment

I decided to do a series of comic book reviews based loosely on John Seavey’s Punk Comics Manifesto, which is a fine idea even if I don’t totally agree with it.  Therefore, I set up some ground rules for these reviews:

I would go to the comic book store and buy a back issue completely at random.  I would go to one of the long boxes, close my eyes, and pick a comic out.  No matter what it was, I would buy it, with a few exceptions.  Of course, it can’t be totally random, because I would know vaguely where I was in the alphabet (if the store organizes its books in alphabetical order), but it would be close enough.

The exceptions would be minor: I can’t have read the book before, and it can’t be too expensive.  If I grab an old issue of Fantastic Four that costs 25 dollars, I’m probably going to put it back.  It’s just not worth it.

Then, I would read these books as if I were a first-time comic book reader.  Again, I can’t completely fake this, because I’m not a first-time comic book reader, but I want to examine these books in a way that a first-time reader might.  That is: does it tell a good story in that one issue; does it introduce the characters in a way that is not necessarily intrusive but would enable a first-time reader to get who everyone is; does it tell a complete story or at least make someone want to come back for more.  A comic shouldn’t necessarily tell a complete story in each issue, but if it doesn’t, it should grab the reader and make them want to read the rest.  If it’s not doing that, then what’s the point?  I am very interested in how accessible comics are to the new reader.  It seems like most comics rely far too heavily on repeat readers, ones who are already hooked, and that leaves new readers out of the loop.  And that can’t be good.

So every weekend I’ll have a new book to review.  Some will be good, some will be bad, some will be painful to read, some might inspire me to seek the rest of the series.  Who knows?  It should be fun.