Beginners guide to comics


Jacob Baker | Northern Star

Comics ranging from Marvel to DC on a bookshelf.

By Kyron Lewis, Lifestyle Writer

There is a certain comic or a specific moment in someone’s life that a comic fan can recall falling in love with the medium. For me, my first exposure was a box of X-Men comics handed down to me, but I truly fell in love with the medium in 2011 after visiting my first comic convention. 

With comic book films, more specifically superhero films dominating the box office around the world, more people should be  exposed to the comic book medium.It’s a form of entertainment that presents a narrative through gorgeous art. This is a comprehensive guide for beginners or those just curious as to what the hype is about with these popular characters. 

Common Mistakes

First, it’s important to address misconceptions about comics. Generally, people are intimidated by the long history of beloved characters such as Spider-Man, who has been around since 1962. Often readers think they have to start at the very beginning, and that is just not true. Comics are constantly changing with the times, and there has always been a push to make them new reader-friendly. This can make things confusing and even frustrating when trying to understand a story or wondering why things are so different from comics of the past. With the help of a great comic writer, they breathe new life and creativity into beloved characters, making them accessible for new readers who wish to jump in at any point. 

Comics are not limited to just superheroes and definitely are not exclusively written for children. Most modern comics have a mature rating, and even more independent creator owned works are aimed at adult audiences. For instance, there is an Eisner nominated comic series titled “Sex Criminals” published by Image Comics. The story is as hilarious and crazy as it sounds, but it has been nominated twice for the Eisner award for best continuing series and won the award for best new series for a reason. 


There are different formats that comics come in. Usually, when people refer to a comic, they are referring to single issues, which is the most common format. These are usually around 24 pages long, stapled together and cost $3-$5. They come in series that are released monthly, however, I would not recommend these for new readers. Trade  paperbacks usually collect six issues of a series in order and have a volume order. For more information about the different collected editions and formats for comics, view this video by Near Mint Condition on YouTube.

Where to start

This step really depends on how invested a newcomer is in actually reading comics. A few places to start would be locating a local comic shop or contacting a knowledgeable friend. Other sources that go even more in-depth include the following article and video from How To Love Comics and Patrick Williams.