Comics Creators

You have one comic to convert a non-reader


What is it?

For me I think it has to be Batman Year 1, though more recently I’ve been buying people Saga.

Ps don’t tell BKV this. He’ll love it too much.


What are we trying to convert them to, the medium in general or something more specific within it? If it’s the medium, I would say Blankets by Craig Thompson hands down. If it’s a traditional monthly book that is at least somewhat superhero-y, it would be either Saga or something Millar.


Simply to pick up a second comic. What’s the gateway drug when you try to get pals into it?



If it’s to get them to pick up the next one, definitely Saga or something Millar. It would also depend on the person. I like to tailor my recommendations on what I would think someone would like. Though Blankets might still work too as it demonstrates what the medium can do and there is plenty of material in a similar vein to keep someone hooked.


This is a really good test for a book. Essentially any comic should pass this test, as the rule is it’s always someones first, but very few modern comics actually work as an intro comic.

Off the books on the stands right now I’d say Star Wars or Darth Vader, Saga, whatever the latest Millar mini series is, the new Ant Man, Rocket Raccoon and the Aaron Thor series. Oh and Hawkeye.


I’d ask the person what kinds of stories they like first, then advise based on that


This is cheating, but okay…

I throw a copy of Roger Stern’s The Death and Life of Superman novelization of the Death and Return saga at their heads until they relent and read it. I’ll buy a whole stack if I need to.


I agree it often depends a lot on who has asked, how well I know them, and what they already like. Also, comics in general, or superhero comics particuarly?

A lot of the time what I want to show them is something that not only can be done better in comics, but sometimes can only be done in comics.

Ones I’ve given this year:

Jeff Smith’s Bone (to a 7 year old - he loved it) - I’d give this to almost anyone though.

Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba’s Daytripper (for a friend’s 40th birthday; he’d been doing a lot of reflecting and thinking as he got closer to the birthday, and this fitted really well)

One I’ve given to a few friends lately and said ‘look, just READ this, and tell me what other medium could do this anywhere near as well?’ is Richard McGuire’s Here, which is just amazing.

All-Star Superman’s had a fair success rate too.


Civil War reintroduced me to comics, and I hadn’t read any of the previous books in 15 years at least. But Kick-Ass hooked me, when I finally got the hardcover of Kick-Ass 3 I promised to pace myself, but I ended up reading it twice in one sitting. Oldman Logan is also a good intro book, my wife picked it up for me and now she’s reading it.


Here we go.

If we go fishing, we use the bait the fish wants to eat.

One good trick is to give someone something they will hate. Did so with a friend, who probably asked me fifty times “Why did you give me that? It was disgusting! I hate it!” And now he buys about ten titles a month. It was so bad I knew his contrary nature would force him to think “Comic books have been selling forever. They can’t be this bad!” and sent him exploring.

Heh. Heh heh heh heh heh.


I’ve used Year One before and Astonishing X-men: Gifted. They both worked though I got a complaint about Year One saying it was too short. Surely that’s the best complaint?
I’d be tempted to try giving people Akira in the future. It’s so kinetic. I haven’t read anything else like it.


If you had to narrow me down to one comic, Akira vol. 1 would be a strong contender. It’s still one of the best comics I’ve ever read.


The extensive 50 page action/fight/chase scenes blow my mind. Why isn’t there anything else like that? Is there anything elselike that? It’s so technically good as well. Otomo is a great artist. It makes me sad that he left comics behind.


Have you tried Appleseed or Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow? Or Batle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro?


For kids and people who like childlike (not childish) entertainment: Bone

Heady sci-fi: East of West or Prophet

“Literary”/non-genre stuff: Fun Home, The Nao of Brown, or Asterios Polyp

Superheroes: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, Civil War, All-Star Superman, Ms. Marvel (Kamala)

Crime: Stray Bullets, Criminal

^A lot of these had fairly good success rates when I worked in a comic shop


I’ve found Y:The Last Man to work very well, it’s simple concept that grabs the attention and Vaughan does those final pages that make you want to read on so well.


I read some of Appleseed when I was younger. I always meant to go back to it. I haven’t tried the other two though. Thanks.


The correct answer is always Planetary.

Although, now that I think about it, most things would be disappointing after that =/


Ah see, I think Planetary works better if you have enough knowledge of superhero comics and their history to know what it’s doing.

Haven’t tried it on someone who knows v little … do they get the most out of it do you think?


No but there’s plenty enough to enjoy it… I mean, it does reference a lot of pop culture archetypes (Dracula, ghosts, godzilla-like monsters, Tarzan, Lone Ranger, Flash Gordon etc…) and a lot of the issues have an individual “feeling”… Some are horror stories, some are sci-fi, some are pulp, some are totally psychedelic =P

Planetary has everything, but yeah, you do need at least a passing knowledge of things like the Fantastic 4 and some other superheroes/villains, and obviously of the previously mentioned archetypes, but I guess it’s safe to assume that a lot of people have some knowledge of those… and with superheroes’ rise in popularity, you can connect most of the dots these days (IMO).

Beyond that, it’s a very good sci-fi story overall (even if you don’t get any of the references or homages) with a begining and end so that also helps.