Friday, August 1, 2008

JK Parkin from Blog@Newsarama on Why He Buys Certain Comic Books

Last week, I asked several comic book related bloggers the simple question, "Why do you buy certain comic books?", with a list of possible reasons to help spark some debate, such as whether or not the writer, artist or publisher makes a difference.

The response was both immediate and thought provoking and it was interesting to see why these other bloggers, whom I read and respect, buy the books they do.

This post by JK Parkin, from Blog@Newsarama, marks the final part of my five part series of guest posts. Feel free to check out the previous entries from Greg Hatcher (Comics Should Be Good!), Lee Newman (Broken Frontier), Kristina Wright (Geeked) and Rokk (Rokk's Comic Book Revolution).

Today, JK Parkin, writer and blogger from Blog@Newsarama, answers my question on why he buys certain comics. You can also keep in touch with JK by following him on Twitter.

Why Do I Buy Certain Comic Books?
by JK Parkin

When I was much younger and first started buying comics, my filter for picking out a comic to buy was pretty simple -- the cover. I'd walk into a 7-Eleven, take the spinner rack for a spin, and see what jumped out at me.

Later on, I moved from the "cool cover" filter to the "cool character" filter. X-Men, Spider-Man, Teen Titans, Daredevil ... once I discovered comic shops in the 5th grade, I became obsessed not with just buying the monthly doses of these books, but filling in the holes in my collection by buying back issues.

Who the heck was this Grant Morrison guy, anyway?  
In high school, though, things started to change. The trips to the comic shop exposed me to books I'd never known had existed, by companies like Eclipse, First, and, eventually, Dark Horse. I still followed certain characters, but I started reading Comic Buyer's Guide, Amazing Heroes and other publications that talked about the creators. I became cognizant of the creative process behind comics. I joined APAs (Amateur Press Associations), and learned about even more cool comics from the zines I read, as people reviewed stuff I'd never even heard of. I remember reading about Animal Man, which I laughed off when I saw it in the store. Who the heck was this Grant Morrison guy, anyway? But the guys in Legends APA spoke highly of it, so I tried it out.

Typically I'll choose a book based on the writer first, artist second.  
Nowadays, my "filter" is driven by creators ... typically I'll choose a book based on the writer first, artist second. And I still get feedback from other people, but with the internet, that net goes a lot wider than just the 25 or so members of an APA. That's one of the things I enjoy about Blog@Newsarama - I know if there's a really great Marvel book out there that I somehow missed, Carla's going to tell me. Same with DC and Tom. Same with Michael May and what he calls that "middle tier." I probably would have missed Atomic Robo if it wasn't for him. And with Chris and the alt-comix stuff, and so on and so on. And I'm not just talking about on the blog itself; we have an email group we use to help manage the site, but we probably spend more time talking about other stuff, including good comics.

So my days of buying something based on its cover or the characters inside are probably long gone - nowadays, put a great team on a book, and I don't care who it's about.

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Andrenn said...

This one was pretty good, a little shorter than the previous ones, but still good.

I don't usually buy for Creators myself. Even if I do, it's more for the artist than the writer. I'd rather buy a Joe Mad comic than a Grant Morisson one, just because my enjoyment of artists is stronger than my enjoyment of who's writing.

That doesn't exactly mean I don't find the writer important, but if I'm going to buy a book solely on the people involved, it'd be more around the artist than writer.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I used to use the old APA's for comics too. First I've heard of anyone else using them.


I buy exclusively based on creators now.

Well, except Superman... I always collect Superman. It doesn't hurt that I really enjoy all of the writers on his three main titles (adjectiveless, Action & All Star).

Great article, JK. I dig the idea for the series. You should crib it for Bolg@ :)

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