Whether you’ve been into them for years or only a short time, comics are always better when you share them with the people close to you. Someone you can discuss plot theories with, discuss art and recommend great reads to. It’s the social side of comics and it makes them just that bit more enjoyable. Unfortunately, not everyone has a friend or family member that are into comics. But don’t worry, you will soon!
That’s because I believe that comics are for everyone and it’s just a matter of finding the right comic for them. This has inspired me to create the How To Get Your Friends And Family Into Comics Guide in order to help you get your friends, family and even co-workers into the wonderful medium of comics in just a few simple steps. Follow these steps and in no time at all, you’ll be converting the non-believers and the uninitiated in droves and have a new hobby to share with those close to you.
If you’re looking to get into comics for yourself check out our handy guide.
Step 1: Think About What Comics They Will Like
Before you recommend comics to anyone the first thing you need to think about what comic books they might enjoy. As you know the person better than any publisher or retailer you can recommend comics based the sorts of stories they like and will appeal to them. When doing this it’s best to think about what kinds of TV shows, movies, novels, genres, video games and music they like. Do they like action movies? Maybe they’re more about romance novels. Perhaps they really love stories about animals. No matter what it is there’s a comic book that will meet their tastes.
If you know they love a particular movie or TV show based on a comic book the source material might be a good place to start with them. For example if you know they love AMC’s The Walking Dead then they should like the comic. Similarly, there’s a lot comics are based off or continuations of TV shows, movies and video games. For example, while Buffy the Vampire Slayer finished up on TV many years ago it continued officially in comic book form.
From there you can make a tailored recommendation based on what they like, as opposed to what they should read. One mistake I see people do, and it’s something that I’ve done myself, is recommend the latest and/or greatest story that you think they should be reading. While you might really enjoy that particular comic it might not be to the other person’s taste. You might only have one chance to make an impression so you want to it be as tailored towards that person as much as possible.
If you’re totally stumped and not quite sure what you can recommend to them then free to browse the hundreds of reading recommendations that have been made on this site or even get in touch with me. I’ll be happy to give you or your friend some great comic book reads.
- Try to recommend a wide range of comics featuring different genres, art and writing styles, characters and themes.
- Don’t be afraid to ask them what kinds of stories they like or might be craving at the moment.
Step 2: Give Them Comics To Read
Once you’ve figured out what you think they will like the next thing you need to do is expose them to comics. Give them a HUGE stack of comics to read as the more they’re exposed to the more likely to find something they love. It also will help them see the variety of storytelling, artists, writers and things beyond what they might’ve thought comics were. This stack could come in a variety of forms including but not limited to:
- Single issues (if you’re not too worried that they may be damaged)
- Trade paperbacks and graphic novels
- Links to Webcomics
- Marvel Digital Codes
- Links to Free Comics on Comixology (You can find a batch of free comics here too)
Make sure whatever you recommend is a logical starting point. The starts of stories or series are a great place to start as well as stories that are light on continuity or self-contained.
As mentioned previously, the more comics they read the more likely they will find something they will love. Once they’ve found something point them in the direction of more of it. Here are a few examples of how you could do it:
If this person enjoys the first issue or volume of a particular series then you point them in the direction of other issues or volumes in that comic book series.
If your friend or family member enjoyed a particular comic you could give them other comics made by the comic book creators. Eg: If they enjoyed Saga you could point them towards other work by Brian K Vaughan and/or Fiona Staples.
- If their birthday coming up you could also give them comics as a gift if your confident that they’re going to enjoy what you get them.
Step 3: Discuss The Comics With Them
Once friend/family member/co-worker have read some comics you should discuss with them what they’ve read. This isn’t so you can quiz them to make sure they’ve read it (this isn’t school) but to show the social side of comics. Showing the social side of comics gives the hobby that additional appeal and makes them more approachable. It also allows you to find out what they liked or disliked about what they’ve read, as well as giving you an opportunity to recommend more comics they might like.
As everyone’s tastes are different, don’t be surprised if not everything they read was to their liking. That’s totally fine, as long as they found something that they really dug. Sometimes the conversation is more interesting if both parties don’t agree, just as long as it doesn’t turn nasty. No one wants that when they’re trying to get into comics.
You can also use this step any time during the process as regular following up will help reinforce the habit/passion in the person you’re getting into comics.
- If you find yourself using lots of comic book lingo that’s going over your friend/family member’s head feel free to share with them this comic book term glossary.
Step 4: Take Them To The Comic Book Store
Once this friend or family member has a few comic book reads under their belt you should take them for a trip to your local comic book store. You could make it a special trip or they could simply be tagging along with you on one of your regular pilgrimages. Many people find going into comic book stores for the first time can be daunting so by having someone they know come with them makes the trip less intimidating and more of a social engagement.
While you’re there show them around and even point out sections of the store which might have comics they will enjoy. They might see some of the comics that you’ve recommended, or ones that catch their fancy, and get to meet the friendly staff.
A perfect time to visit a comic book store is during Free Comic Book Day. There’s usually lots going on in stores (such as sales or special events) which makes the store even more exciting. There’s also free comics, which gives the trip additional incentive.
You can find your closest comic book store here.
- If you think that they’d be up for it, you could replace comic book store with comic book convention. Here are some comic book convention survival tips for those first-timers.
Step 5: Repeat
For some people, you might need to go through the process, or certain steps, with them multiple times. It might not be a matter of the person not liking comics as a medium, but they just haven’t found that particular gateway comic. This might just be a matter of exposing them to more comics you think they might enjoy.
This step is also about the follow-up process as while they might’ve loved what they read they might not take the initiative to take it any further. With a little bit of gentle prodding and encouragement, you’ll be able to keep them interested and reinforce the passion.
Unfortunately, some people are stubborn or resistant to trying new things and repeating the process many times won’t help. While it’s highly likely that there are comics out there that they’d love, these people tend to be resistant to the idea before they even start or rarely step outside their comfort zone. Sadly, in cases such as this, you might be better off giving up on them and moving on to someone who’s more enthusiastic.
So there you go, in 5 simple steps, you get your friends, family and co-workers not only to read comics but to love them. While for some people this will be a longer process than others, it will definitely will be rewarding as the more people around you loving comics the greater comics become!
Give these steps a try and let me know how they work out for you. If you have your own techniques or success stories please share them in the comments below. Based on your comments I’ll refine this guide to make it as helpful as possible!