The Comic Shelf

Rediscovering a love for comic books

For those who love American comic books, whether you grew up reading them or you came to love and enjoy them later in life, the last few years have been… troubling at best. What has given us hope is that an indie/self-publishing scene and Manga imports have just exploded over the same time period. That’s how I rediscovered my love of comic books. 

Sometime in late-2019 to early-2020 I heard about Alterna Comics and Peter Simeti. Then one day in 2020, I decided to check out Alterna and see what they had to offer. I liked what I saw, and several series caught my eye. Before long I was reading about comic books again, but I didn’t buy any right away. I was aware of the nasty back-and-forth discussions and didn’t want to jump into a social war battlefield where any step could be a landmine going off in my face. So I actually decided to do something different.

As someone who loves to be in a book store whenever he can, I’ve noticed the growth of a particular section over the last decade in my local stores. Manga was not something I was very familiar with, but there were a few titles that caught my eye over the years, namely, No Gun Life, Berserk, and a couple of Zelda manga series. What can I say? I grew up on the NES. Then I started to hear about other Manga series that were interesting – Death Note, One Punch Man, BLAME!, Gantz, and of course Dragon Ball, just to name a few – many of which were recommended by friends who had some understanding of my reading habits and interests. After doing a little of my own research into my favorite genres of books (Fantasy, Science-Fiction, and Cyberpunk), I found a series that narratively and artistically interested me the most. So I took the plunge.

So this was my re-entry point into comic books. I bought Biomega vol 1, by Tsutomu Nihei. Over the course of a few months I bought all 6 volumes. Then I went back to Alterna comics and bought three four-volume series (Voidwalker, Tresspasser, and The Chair) and then I got that old familiar feeling. I wanted more. A few months after that I bought more Alterna comics, this time I bought them in their digital format to make it easier to take with me and for making my own content (like this blog). In total I bought seven series for a total of thirty-two comics in all. The best part is that they were all under a dollar for the PDF version. Compare that to the latest Amazing Spider-Man #70 “floppy” on Comixology for $3.99. I prefer PDF or ePUB to the file type used by Amazon. Also, the experience I’ve had with reading comics on a Kindle device/app is sluggish and, shall I say, less than desirable. 

Suddenly I was eight years-old again. I was that kid who would go to the local convenience store (the Sing Store for me and my friends) and as soon as I got my weekly comic book “fix” I was deciding what I wanted to get with next week’s allowance, along with the mandatory Coke or Cherry Slushy and Snickers or Whatchamacallit candy bar. Though I experimented, I believe the best combinations were Cherry-Snickers and Coke-Whatchamacallit. It was very scientific. (God I miss those days!)

Back on topic, even though I haven’t finished reading all those comics, I already have another future “buy list” building up. For Alterna it’s four, and Manga… that list is longer than this article. 

My idea with this “Comic Book Shelf,” as I like to think of it, is to share what I’ve read. What I like about what I’ve read. What don’t like about what I’ve read. To discuss with you what I’ve read, and for you to share your thoughts. The storytelling. The world-building. Reader, my hope is that we can enjoy our time together and to gush over a shared love of reading, storytelling, and comics. 

Talk to you in the comments. 

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