Talking Comics with Desiree Rodriguez

Superheroes are seemingly everywhere lately, what with the slew of movies, TV shows, and cartoons that inhabit our screens on a yearly basis. These adapted takes on famous characters introduced to a new and wider audience can entice that audience to seek out the source material. However, comic books, with their decade’s worth of history, development, and content, are difficult for a new fan to navigate through. How does a new fan, someone who has never read or only marginally read comic books before, get better acquainted?

Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill as Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman on the cover of Entertainment Weekly
The Trinity pictured in Entertainment Weekly property of WB/DC Comics

It’s a difficult question to answer, because truthfully, the comic book industry isn’t very accessible to new fans. There’s been recent attempts to market to a wider, and newer demographic by what most known as “The Big Two” aka Marvel Comics and DC Comics.

In 2012 Marvel, in an attempt to draw in the audience created by their successful cinematic movies, relaunched their entire comic line as the Marvel NOW! The line was meant to re-introduce new fans to decades old characters such as Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel who is getting their own movie in 2018. The line also launched a new book titled Avengers Assemble, where in the first eight issues the Avengers team mirrored the team of the Avengers film. In 2011, DC Comics rebooted their entire line of comics completely starting anew from scratch in an effort to draw in new fans to their market.

The efforts have been met with middling success. DC Comics New 52 line was abhorred by older fans, and the overall dismal quality of the books put off new fans. Marvel Comics Marvel NOW! line had more success in series such as Captain Marvel, and Ms. Marvel, but hit some snags with their continued re imaging of decades characters to suit the movies which upset older fans, and lackluster, inaccessible events failed to keep a majority of newer fans.

So what’s the secret behind pulling in a new audience? What’s the secret of inducting new fans into the world of comics?

I asked some female friends of mine who enjoy superhero movies where their reluctance to read comics came from. Most of their issues can probably be shared by many. The overall lack of accessibility, the intimidating amount of history, time, money, and the worry of buying something not worth your time.

My advice for new fans would be this: ask and don’t do everything at once. Talk to someone who knows comics, or visit one of the many local comic shops in the Jacksonville area. I frequent Borderlands: Comics and Games, where the staff is always friendly, and informative. Superhero Hive has built up a strong clientele because of their dedication to the industry, and welcoming atmosphere. Or ask a comic fan you know or we here at Campus Voice!

Comics are a great big world, but you can jump over a lot of hurdles by simply integrating with the community itself. Nowadays you can simply wiki a character, google recommendation lists, and buy comics online for convenience. Comics aren’t too scary, you just need to know where to look.

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