LIBRARIES GAVE US POWER
I’m so glad I have finally been able to work a lyric from my favourite band into my blog about comics and geek culture. When Manic Street Preachers penned and sang that line to critical acclaim in 1994 they probably weren’t thinking of it in the sense of a fan boy using his local library to feed his obsession. When I started writing I didn’t know what the hook for this article would be. On one hand it could be seen I’m turning my back on the industry by reading graphic novels for free. Then I thought no. Having this blog gives me a platform to give back to the industry. Most of the books I have read for free have mentioned and will continue to mention on my blog. I even hope by me talking them up other people have sought them out.
This weekend I went to my local library for some inspiration rather than just writing from memory. Sadly I don’t know if they are in the middle of a refurb or if someone has checked them all out, but they seemed down on quantities compared to my last visit. Last time there was a whole shelf just of Constantine/Hellblazer titles which I was looking forward to diving into. I couldn’t find one Constantine related title this time! Oh well just bad luck I guess. Always there is an abundance of Batman books even right up to modernish New52 collections. I picked up Vol.1 of Batman Adventures the comic that ran along side Batman The Animated Series. Purely a nostalgic read but a book that is hard to find and is often over priced online. Lots of Marvel this time, particularly X-Men titles. I don’t want to start listing books as who knows how many people are checking books in and out at anyone time.
Generally though it was the most amount of Marvel titles I’ve seen. This article could be a simple case of me saying thanks to my library. Thank you because I discovered how cool Green Arrow was by reading Quiver and the Archers Quest before he became a small screen superstar. Thank you for allowing me to read nearly all of both The Sixth Gun and Locke and Key. Two series I have nothing but love for and highly recommend them to anyone. Thank you because I can always pick up something by Ed Brubaker from your well stocked shelves. Preacher, Swamp Thing and The Unknown Soldier I read them all after walking through your doors.
Collecting comics can be an expensive past time depending on tastes. Even if you are a casual reader picking up the occasional TPB. People come to comics for all different reasons. Comics are so diverse you might not know right away what your flavour is. You don’t want to dive into collecting high priced back issues of the X-Men if you find you don’t like the team dynamic twenty issues later. Why not pick up a trade from anywhere in the continuity to see if you enjoy it? Stan Lee always said any issue is someone’s first comic. It needs to be new reader friendly. It can be daunting walking into a comic shop or book store seeing high issue numbers on a cool cover that has caught your eye. Even with TPB’s the numbers can seem high. That daunting feeling can be eased if your not spending your own cash right? In the internet age you can read a book from any point in continuity and if you so wish fill in the gaps from online research. It doesn’t and should take away from the enjoyment you get from what happens between the covers of the story your read. Picking the right book for free could lead to something special.
I myself first read a Library copy of Watchmen. I got an itch to read it again so eventually brought my own. I now read it about every two years. I am predominantly a Marvel guy. Wolverine, Daredevil and Shang-Chi are the characters that get my big bucks. The library gives me a chance to taste some DC titles. They are responsible for the majority of my Batman knowledge. Year One, The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again all stocked in my local library. Superman who in my opinion is too powerful to tell an in depth stories. Well without spending any money I was able to see if I was wrong.
I read Red Son and Superman For All Seasons and I can say to a degree I was wrong. But he still isn’t for me. This is all around about way of saying even when it comes to comics libraries are providing their purpose of education. Perhaps me and anyone who is reading this could start some sort of the awareness to the quality of comics in libraries all over the world. At the moment that sounds a very raw plan but if it sounds like something you would be into hit me up on Twitter @IanWells87. I’m also thinking about seeing if they need/want any donations. This article got me wondering about whether a library could be used to bring more people to comics. Getting kids into comics probably doesn’t go hand in hand with the quiet surroundings of a library. What about the worlds first silent comic con? Come on there has to be a comic loving librarian willing to give that a try.
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
About Language of Bromance
Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
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