Welcome to the regular column where I answer your comic book questions. This aims to be a place where no question is stupid and one that hopefully people can find the answers they desire. In this edition I answer questions about Marvel’s “.NOW” numbering, where to read The Walking after the compendiums and the etiquette of reading comic book at the comic book store.
Q: I was just reading Black Widow #1, which was fantastic by the way, and I came across a page of ads for upcoming Marvel comics. They were all #1s, but at the bottom they said “issue #27.NOW” or something similar. I’m new to Marvel so could you explain the difference between the two? Are these actually beginnings of series that I can start with and not be confused? Or are they just new arcs that rely on previous issues?
It is sort of confusing the way Marvel have slapped a big 1 in some of their series, but anything that is labelled with a .NOW is meant to be a jumping on point for that series. As to whether they truly are a good jumping on point will depend on how well the writers and editorial have done their job. Luckily, Marvel has a recap page that will hopefully get you up to speed, then it a matter of the creative team to tell a story that is not too confusing. As a bonus a handful of these .NOW issues will be giving away bonus digital collections, which collect the first collection of that particular series.
As to why they have that big number 1 when it really isn’t a first issue can only be speculated. My theory is that it is a visual way of trying to attract the casual reader. By seeing that “1” on the cover it gives the appearance of accessibility. To a degree this can be true as many of the .NOW issues have been preludes or first parts of a story arc. Although, it get a little more puzzling when the .NOW issue has been place halfway though a story, like X-Men #10.NOW.
Walking Dead Radio asks on Twitter…
Q: If someone read compendium 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead, what graphic novel number picks up where it left off?
The compendiums collect up to issue #96. You’d want to pick up volume 17 onwards to continue. This is the way to go as a 3rd compendium will most likely not be released for another three years or so.
From an anonymous user on Tumblr…
Q: What is the etiquette when it comes to reading comics in a comic book store?
I don’t think comic book stores mind if you flick through or read the first few pages of a comic. This gives you, the customer, an opportunity to check out the art and the tone for a comic, especially if it is a comic you know nothing about. Doing helps a customer decide if they wish to purchase the comic., meaning they are not purchasing based on the cover alone.
What they don’t like is a customer reading the comic cover to cover in the store, especially if you don’t intend to pay for it. You often see this at the large book store chains such as Borders and Barnes & Noble, where people will sit down a read a book for hours on end, treating the store like a library. While these book stores might be large chains and would be relatively unaffected, most comic book stores are small businesses and this could be accumulate to many losses for them. A comic book store is not a library so customers should not treat it like one.
I suggest if you do read a large chunk of a comic book in store that you purchase the comic. It is only fair as it costs the store money to order the comic in, so you shouldn’t read the comic for free.