Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Monday, July 04, 2005

How the Internet Revolutionized Our Hobby

I was reading a 7.3 post over at Cognitive Dissonance and it really got me thinking (when you click through def read her Bendis quote, that's what kind of set me off on this)... How difficult would it have been for me to get back into comics WITHOUT the internet? I didn't really think twice about it until today - but the online community of comic websites, blogs, and forums has been an invaluable asset to me over the last 3 months.

Think about the process with me: I catch the buzz about a new title from a comics news site, blog, or forum thread. Once i know what i'm looking for, I can do some research: who writes it? who draws it? who publishes it? what's the general concensous of opinion about it so far? how do the preview pages look? is there a TPB of back issues? when does the next issue hit the stands? All of these questions can be answered from the comfort of my laptop (typically while i'm at work sitting in front of my computer all day anyway).

This sure beats the old method - taking a trip to the LCS and chatting it up with an employee who's knowledge/friendliness is hit-or-miss. I'm sure as hell not proposing to take the LCS out of the picture - i think they are certainly a valuable part of the overall equation (support your LCS!). It's still nice to walk the isles and hold the books in your hand, talk to real life people. There's just a certain intimdation there that you don't have on the internet as a noob. In many ways, comics fandom is a fairly closed community of dedicated, knowledgeable hobbyists, and it's hard for a noob to break in with the LCS alone - especially considering you may only have one or two to choose from, and the guys/gals who work there may or may not be comic snobs or even feel like giving you the time of day (especially considering that as a noob to this hobby - you're going to need a LOT of time). I've been lucky though - both LCSs near me are great - packed with cool people - but i can't imagine everyone, everywhere is so lucky.

Online you have almost unlimited choices - you post a question on a forum and it's not just to one person - but to a slew of people with the opportunity to answer - some more willing to help and/or more friendly than others. And you know what - that's ok - these online communities give us each the opportunity to respond to or ignore whoever we want without having to be rude about it (sans trolls of course). The internet gives us access to a bucket of knowledge/info that is just not available locally (this is not specific to comics obviously but an important point none-the-less).

Another huge benifit for me personally is the great feeling of belonging/community - especially for a guy who has all of zero (well maybe one) "real life" friend who reads comics. I honestly feel like i've made some good comic friends in just these few months - guys/gals i can talk to about comics till i'm blue in the face, fellow bloggers and forum goers, even some with my same perspective (born again comics noob). If it weren't for this online community - i'd have next to no opportunity to talk comics at all (except at the LCS which i barely have time to stop by as it is with the rest of my life getting in the way). I'm working on that though, trying to convince some of my day-to-day friends to cross the great divide into comics fandom. I'm convinced once you give it an honest chance - there are comics for every taste, sense of humor or adventure, gender, ethnicity, and/or age.

I definitely find myself wondering - how in the sam hell did we ever live w/o the internet?


04 July, 2005 12:59, Blogger Christopher Green said...

I'm lucky, I guess. I only have one comic book store, but the guy who works there is more than willing to chat it up with me about whatever. Once we even had a rant about Kevin Smith's laziness.

But reading comics while having the internet is great, I didn't get the internet until very late in my comic-reading cycle, and even then I was an internet n00b and knew nothing of it.

Nowadays though, it's great. With the internet I can find out what's going on in the comic world, what my favourite creators are doing, and what's coming out. Hell, because of the internet, I already have an idea of what I'll be buying all the way into October!

04 July, 2005 13:26, Blogger zilla said...

yeah i have one good friend who's helped me out so much (he used to own a couple LCS in my area). but generally i just don't have the time to go to the LCS, and when i do - it's to run in and grab my floppies and dash out the door. my free time for research and other comic fun is typically while i'm sitting at work or home in bed on my laptop right before i pass out for the night... and not to beat an obvious point to death - but you really have an uncomparable opportunity to talk to a very wide audience about something (instead of just one or two LCS employees)... i love that.

04 July, 2005 13:46, Blogger Christopher Green said...

Me too. I had an... Unusual early adolensence, and one of the only positive things about it was reading comics. I had no one to talk comics with. Nowadays though, I can at least discuss them with people online. Joining the CBR forum was a great move on my part.

11 July, 2005 16:47, Blogger Kitty said...

Having the Internet meant that I no longer have to rely on the free Comic Shop News newsletter for comic updates. Hooray! I was never a big fan of it, but I had no other source for upcoming news otherwise (not wanting to plunk down cash for the info was a big obstacle).


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In no particular order:

Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

Blog contents copyright © 2005 Rod Wetsel