If you read my Monthly Meow or subscribe to my YouTube channel, you'll know this month I decided to give comic books, graphic novels and manga a try. I'm late to the game, I know, but I'm loving the illustrations and pacing of the titles I purchased.
Why I Bought Comics
For Christmas, my partner bought me 1-3 of the Artemis comics by Lindsey Stirling. I'm a huge fan of her music, and I really enjoyed both the story, the feel and the artwork. I can read them cover-to-cover in about 20 mins each due to their length, and they're light-weight and don't involve too much brain power after a long, busy day. An hour later, I've enjoyed all 3 of the comics in the series so far, which tell the story of her most recent album.
Because I have such a busy schedule with full-time work, clients, running a publishing house, writing and housework/family life, getting stuck into a 600+ page novel is daunting for me right now. I wanted to try something visual, that didn't involve a high learning curve such as a paperback or hardback science-fiction series, that also wouldn't take me forever to finish. As I enjoyed Lindsey's comics so much, naturally this was my first thought!
Which Comics Have I Bought/Would I Recommend? (Part One)
If you're new to comic books or graphic novels etc. like I am, you may be wondering which I decided to try and how I'm finding them so far. The above video from my YouTube channel in February talks you through a few, but I'm mainly sticking for titles I'm already familiar with in some other way, such as movies, books or TV shows.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead was the top of my list, but to purchase all the comics individually would have been a nightmare! I discovered they are also available in 4 chunky (and rather expensive) compendiums costing around £30 per volume. But, in the long-run, I knew this would save me money. So, I decided to try find a few 2nd hand (pre-owned) copies just in case I didn't enjoy them as much as the TV show on Fox.
Generally, I've been looking for copies in great condition at a reasonable price, but due to the size and weight, I noticed this added some considerable postage fees! If you're tempted by The Walking Dead compendiums too, it may be worth just buying them brand new depending on your location.
Something else to note with The Walking Dead Compendiums is their weight when reading, not just when shipping. I like to read in bed, but needed the support of a book cushion (a triangular-shaped cushion for tablets etc) just to hold them up without my arms aching! They are also in black and white (which I don't mind at all) but some readers prefer colour.
It's interesting to compare the stories to the TV show; which characters are different, what do they look like, and how does the plot in each book match the episodes? I thought I'd struggle not to imagine Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, or that I'd miss Daryl Dixon (who doesn't feature in the comics but is popular on the show), but I've adapted well; it's a different experience than reading a 400 page novel, because the illustrations and artwork are there to guide your imagination.
If you're willing to commit, you can actually just buy a box set on Amazon. Click here to check it out.
I've already read the Battle Royale novel by Koushun Takami and really enjoyed the story, which is occasionally compared to The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (also a great read!). So, when I spotted the manga Japanese novels for sale online, I bought books 1-6 for an amazing price as a bundle (book 3 was missing, so I had to backfill it by purchasing this on its own).
At first, I was completely clueless about how to read these books. In England we read from left to right, but in Japan it's the opposite and so, of course, is how to read what's going on. It took me 2-3 reads of the first few pages and a search online for some basic 'idiot's guide' instructions before I figured it out. Then, it all made sense and I was off (and it definitely helped to know what to expect from the characters and plot, which is how I knew something was wrong the first time!).
I'm really enjoying the style and pacing of this series and I'm familiar with it from the movie. If you haven't watched that, I'd highly recommend it (though it is in Japanese with subtitles).
I've been a Sookie Stackhouse/Charlaine Harris/Trueblood addict since being a teenager. I've read all the books goodness knows how many times, and watched the series over and over too.
I didn't even know they had been made into a comic series, which I'm assuming was produced after the TV show given the characters look like animated actors from the series on HBO.
The comics are thin, and I purchased a total of 18 of them in the three different 'series': Trueblood, Tainted Love and The French Quarter, which I believe has 6 comics in each. And I got them in brilliant condition at a really reasonable price. As a lover of the books and then an addict of the show, I knew I'd love these comics equally! I do - they are smooth and easy to read, in full colour and some include bonus features or have collectable covers.
If you're ready to commit to the novels, though, you can grab the box set on Amazon here. My covers are all mis-matched shapes and formats, but I love them and they have pride of place on my bookshelf.
The only downside, of course, is that there's less room for the imagination if you've already read the books/watched the show. It's hard to see the characters any other way, as their illustrations and the artwork mimics that of HBO's show. Just something to bare in mind if you're not already a fan of the TV series.
I'll be sharing another list of my favourite comics and graphic novels so far next week on the blog (which I was not already familiar with when I purchased them), so be sure to subscribe to be notified when that goes live. I post new content every Thursday!
I hope these recommendations have given you some ideas if you'd also like to check out this type of book/reading style, and of course if you have suggestions for me, I'd love to hear from you!