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Thread: Comics are For People 12: From Watching to Reading

  1. MattGrant Guest

    Comics are For People 12: From Watching to Reading

    Let's skip the howdy-dos and get straight to:


    Well, I'd be full of it if I didn't say Watchmen grabbed a lot of news this week. Not only has the comics community been having alternating fits of excitement and pulling out their hair for the last year (or really since right after 300 came out and Zach got the go ahead for Watchmen), but the marketing push for this movie has been... to say the least, heavy duty.

    But one of the reasons why this movie was so big, and so important (whether in a good way or bad way) to the comics community was because Watchmen is something that has been cherished by the comics community for quite a number of years, and now that's being shared with the greater world. For better or for worse. Watchmen belongs to everyone now. But, of course, you know where I'm going with this Watchmen talk, so lets get right down to it:

    Earlier this week it was noted to me that Watchmen was the top selling book-- that's BOOK as in, not top selling "graphic novel", but the top selling book of all books-- on A quick check here several days later, and it's still the top selling book on Amazon (at least at the time if writing, of course). That's pretty amazing if you ask me. Its also a signal that there may be a lot of new comics readers, which, of course, I love! I'm sure of all the people who buy and read the book, a large percentage will never read another comic in their life, which is okay, but there will be a percentage of people that will say, "hey, I want to read more!"

    Aaaaand don't worry. DC has you covered. How covered? Well they started a new website called to help guide people to other DC books that they may like. Even dialing in on what interests might be sparked by Watchmen, they've got categories right out front: Modern Superheros, Alan More, Science Fiction, Best Selling Authors, and Mature Readers. Way to be pro-active guys! I'm sorry for all the crap I slung after the Batman debacle.

    Is there a minus to all this? Well. Sure. I mean, Watchmen is a pretty heavy duty read. While we comics fans hail it for expanding our minds and ideas of what comics could be, its certainly not what I'd regard as a "starter" comic. There are also quite a few themes within the book that sort of assume the reader has a working knowledge of comics throughout history. So that aspect might get lost on some folks.

    And, frankly if Watchmen didn't involve super heros, I'd imagine that the effort toward capitalization on selling comics wouldn't be made. I mean, I didn't see any websites dedicated to "After V for Vendetta," which, while enormously a less faithful adaptation, was a comic adaptation that was based off of something that is sold as a single volume (versus character adaptations like Spidey, etc). I'm thinking while studios are cool with people knowing that something is adapted from a "graphic novel" (more about why I hate that term another day), they don't really want to alert folks who might be put off by that concept to that fact either. So, here, with super heroes in tow, there's really no denying it-- so they're making the most of it.

    I know. That's cynical. I said I'd stop that, but hey, that's the way the world works, and I think we really need to be grateful for what we get. And frankly, even with such a huge film release, DC could easily have dropped the ball and, well, they didn't.

    Now, my assignment to YOU, comics fans and readers, is to seek out any of these pals of yours who might be new readers via Watchmen, and help them on their way to becoming seasoned comics readers. I believe that all people really need to enjoy comics, is something that interests them. But, be wary, I wouldn't attempt to either A) convert these folks into Wednesday people, or B) try and make collectors out of them. Those aspects of comicdom might be what turned them off initially. Try and figure out what their interests are and guide them to the trades. This is what Comics Are for People is all about!

    Well, that's a bit more about Watchmen than I had planned to write, so I will just leave it at that for now...

    Hey, if a friend dug the Watchmen movie, but isn't so sure about buying the book, loan em yours! Cause...



    Matt Grant is a graphic designer and self-publishing comics and webcomics creator. His comic MastorisM can be read at and updates Tuesdays and Thursdays. A long time comics fanatic and advocate for the medium, Matt eats, sleeps, and breathes comics. Sometimes even brushes his teeth with them. Why not?

    Matt would love nothing more than to hear from fans, retailers, creators, and publishers that have anything relevant to contribute to his column. He believes that, only by working together, we can bring the comics medium to a wider deserving audience. Please feel free to email him at, private message him here, or harass him on the street! Matt does not claim to be an industry expert in any way shape or form, but rather an opinionated pundit on the sidelines.

  2. Dingo Guest

    Getting people involved can be so difficult.

    Take my mother for example. She reads novels voraciously. She reads non-fiction voraciously. She reads lots. Can't get her into comics.

    If I give to her and say she should read it, she'll read it, but after that, it's back to prose.
    She's read Maus, a whole heap of Eisner comics, and even a few super hero comics (Ultimates, Ultimate Spider-man), but nothing so far has made her catch the bug. She says that she really enjoyed some of them, Maus especially, but that is the end of it.

    Some people just don't seem attuned to comics as a medium.

    Other people, I've given them any old thing and they've been hooked for life. Whatcha gunna do?

  3. MattGrant Guest

    Maus is a fantastic book for non-comics readers.

    The fact that you can get your mom to read the stuff you hand her, is pretty good. There's a contingent of people who have an attitude of "Its a comic, I don't like comics, I won't read it." Unfortunately, I think they're missing out on some good stuff.

    Like I said, sometimes its just a matter of finding something that they like. My wife for example, didn't read comics... ever, I think. BUT, she was a big fan of Buffy and Angel and all that, so when the Buffy Season 8 comic came out, I bought it for her, and she was like "Woah! I guess its not all Green Lantern or whatever." Since then, she's come with me to the comics shops and discovered all kinds of stuff, Fables, in particular, being one of her favorites.

    So, there's really something for everyone, I think. And as much of a fan I am of the spandex genre, I think its important for people to know that comics have quite a bit to offer beyond that.

  4. HollyG Guest

    I actually got my Mom to read Conan : )

  5. Dingo Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by MattGrant View Post
    So, there's really something for everyone, I think. And as much of a fan I am of the spandex genre, I think its important for people to know that comics have quite a bit to offer beyond that.
    Yeah. I'm going to try her on Y the Last Man next.

    I bought the first trade of Fables, it did nothing for me, so...

  6. Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Post Thanks / Like

    My wife has read PARTS of comics. Normally just to see what it is I'm over-reacting to.
    After WATCHMEN, however she has announced her intention to read the trade, which I don't own. And I think my original issues are long gone, but in the mean time she has started peaking at my other Alan Moore trades, HIs DCU stories, TOP 10 vol 1 & 2, and, of course, the hardcover KILLING JOKE.
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5

  7. MattGrant Guest

    Geez... good luck finding a copy of Watchmen. Hard to come by these days.

    V for Vendetta might be a good one if she has issues with tights.

    Say, sidenote, didn't Alan Moore have a bit of a run on an older GLC book? I'd like to see a trade of that...

  8. Dingo Guest

    I don't know about a run. I think he did an annual or two, and they are in the DCU Stories trade.
    Last edited by Dingo; Friday, March 13, 2009 at 08:32 PM.

  9. MattGrant Guest

    Sweet! Then I must obtain that. I do not have that.

  10. Dingo Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by MattGrant View Post
    Sweet! Then I must obtain that. I do not have that.
    Well worth the money. It's good stuff.

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