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Comic Geekdom for Dummies Tags: comics superman

Please don't let the title of this blog lead you to think I associate reading comics with a lack of intelligence.  That couldn't be farther from the truth because I have pretty good grasp of what a highly evolved literary form graphic storytelling has become.  It's because of this ever-growing complexity that I reach out to the true comic geeks to help us fledgling geeks dive face first into the world of comics history.

I'm obviously no different from the rest of you in that I love my superheroes and villains.  I'd say I know more about them than an average person, but when I read other fan posts on this site, and on Facebook, I end up feeling like a big dummy because I don't read comics.  I've learned very quickly that I've got a lot to learn, especially about the history of Superman in comics. 

So the purpose of this blog is to ask all of you to offer your tips and advice on how to ease into comic geekdom, and I hope that other novices, like me, can benefit from your experience.  Here are my issues (pun intended) that have contributed to me not getting too involved with comics.  Please feel free to respond to any or all of them.  I prefer DC, but am open to Marvel suggestions, too.  FYI--I really like Aquaman, so if anybody can make recommendations on his storylines, that would be fabulous.

1.  I'm impatient and don't like cliffhangers.  Many storylines are stretched out over several issues, and cross over into other titles.  That drives me nuts.  I know that it's common practice now to publish all parts into one hardcover or paperback edition, so you get the whole story, rather than being stuck chasing down individual issues.  This could be a good thing for me, but I don't know where to start.  Which storylines, that are available in graphic novel format, do you recommend?

2.  Are there any titles that don't do as much stretching of stories, and are comprised of more one-shot stories.  I really like those better.  I like a quick little fun/interesting story that I can read as a minor diversion.

3.  As a way to be exposed to a wide spectrum of characters, which titles typically feature more heroes and villains?  I'll assume any Justice League, Teen Titans, X-Men books would be a good start, but I know there are probably a lot of variations of these titles.  Which ones are the best?

4.  Comic collecting can be an expensive hobby, and I'm not in the position, right now, to start spending more money on randomly filling in my collection.  If I did want to start hunting down issues again, where is the best place to start?  Flea markets, eBay, collector shows???  I'm a cheapskate and try to just go through the back issue bins for $1 books.

5.  I like to be light-heartedly entertained, so I probably won't like getting into really heavy or complicated stories.  Are there any specific titles that are written a little more fun, and less dark.  I think superheroes are fun, and I think that I'd prefer fun stories over the really deep stuff, ya know?

Thanks for any advice you guys and gals can offer up!

The People vs Chloe Sullivan Tags: Smallville finale Chloe Sullivan Allison Mack

We're at the end of an era with the Smallville series finale airing one month from today, and the news that Allison Mack will reprise her role of Chloe Sullivan, sidekick extraordinaire, makes me very happy because A) I think she's a great character and B) Allison Mack is a great actress and a real class act.  Something that I need help understanding is the pretty strong division of Smallville fans into two camps:  pro-Chloe and anti-Chloe.  While it is true that Chloe Sullivan is a character who never existed in the comics, I don't get why comic book fans have traditionally bashed her existence as Clark's confidante on the show.

When the producers have hinted near the end of previous seasons that a major character was going to get killed off, the first person on the death-wish list has been Chloe because apparently it's sooooooooo offensive to comic fans that she ever existed in the first place.  She's not part of the original mythology.  Clark's best friend and confidante was always Pete Ross.  Why did they make up a new character?  I say, "Why NOT?"  It's fiction, folks.  It's a television show telling a different version of Clark Kent's youth.  Why is it such a stretch to believe that Clark could have had other friends, besides Pete and Lana?  If every incarnation of Clark Kent/Superman was written the same way, with the same cast of characters, with the same background story, we'd all be pretty bored with it by now, right?  To most Smallville fans, Lionel Luthor is the best thing since sliced bread...and he was created for the show, just like Chloe was.  It's a bit hypocritical to praise one character and bash the other.

I think it's pretty funny, too, that some of the major components of the Superman mythology that are generally accepted as 'original' were not first introduced in the comics.  Perry White?  Created for the radio show.  Jimmy Olsen?  Created for the radio show.  KRYPTONITE???  Yup, radio show original.  Ursa?  Created for Superman: The Movie and didn't make her comic debut until 2007. The power of flight?  Created for use in the Fleischer Brothers animated films.  So many Superman characters and concepts that we take for granted as having been a part of his story since the early days of comics weren't part of the comics until introduced as a result of their creation for other media ventures.  I wonder if comic fans back in the good ol' days were as opinionated about new additions and alterations as Smallville detractors have been towards Chloe's role on the show.  And now that Chloe has been officially inducted into the world of comics, will she eventually, given enough time and exposure, become an accepted part of Superman's world?  Where do you all stand on the issue?


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