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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Finding out about monthly issues

On this here blog we usually talk about trades – those books that collect between 4 and 8 issues of a monthly comic.  We do this because we believe it is an easier way in for readers, but as big changes are afoot at DC comics I think it’s about time to talk about the monthly issues and where to find them.  We have briefly talked about the different publishing houses here, so this post shall serve as a bit of a reminder.
DC comics
DC are relaunching their entire universe in September.  All issues will be renumbered to number 1 and the idea is that they serve as a great starting point for new readers.  The first issue of this relaunch, out on August 31st, will be the JLA (Justice League of America).  This issue will set the scene for the new DC universe (DCU) and will introduce us to the world.  If you follow me or other comics fans on twitter you will have seen quite a few tweets referencing the DCnU – this stands for DC new Universe, and refers to the relaunch.

Reactions have been mixed.  All heroes have been given new costumes, based on a design ethos from the 1990s, and their origins and timeline of the DC universe, as we now know it, has changed.  DC included a lot more characters of colour in their 52 new issues, but dropped a lot of female characters.  Initially there were few female creators involved.  However because of the questions posed by a woman dressed as Batgirl at the recent San Diego Comic Con, Dc have promised that a lot more female creators will be involved.  To find out more about this you can read an interview with the fan, known on twitter as kyrax2, here, and you can also read about the u-turn DC have made since the convention, here.

The good news is that the issues will be available digitally on the day of release, so if you can’t get to a comic shop you can download them easily and quickly.  To find out more about all this go here or scroll through the list of titles on sale in September here.
Vertigo is an imprint of DC and generally publishes more mature, adult (not pornographic) comics.  Although a lot of Vertigo's titles nominally belong in the same universe as DC's main books, they have a very different flavour and do sit far apart in mood, theme and style from DC's straightforward superhero books.  You may see DC characters in Vertigo titles, and vice versa, but Vertigo's books can be read without nay knowledge or interest in the DCU.  As such, these comics will be unaffected by the DC relaunch.  Read more about Vertigo here  and browse the comics on sale here.  We have reviewed various Vertigo books already, and if you click here, you will see all reviews tagged with the Vertigo label.
Marvel is DC’s main competitor.  We have reviewed several Marvel books on this site, but not as many as DC.  This isn’t a statement on the quality of Marvel’s universe – it’s just that most of the bloggers are primarily DC fans (If you’re a Marvel fan and want to submit reviews please email me on paicomics@yahoo.co.uk!).

Marvel’s website is much better organised than DC and they are the ones responsible for most of the superhero movies we’ve had lately – Thor, captain America, Iron Man, Hulk to name a few.  If you visit the Marvel website you’ve got a decent banner across the top giving you links to characters, movies videos, games and of course comics.  Scroll further down the page and you see a link to ‘comics on sale this week’. 
If you click through to the ‘comic book’ section from the top banner, you get to this page where they very helpfully list current in comic events, including something called point one, which is a great jumping on point for new readers, apparently.  I say apparently, I haven't read any of the books, but it seems like a great way to get new readers started.
Image can be found here and they publish a range of genres.  They have some horror comics, some sci-fi comics, superhero and monster books.  They have published the wonderfully creepy Morning Glories and also do the Walking Dead books, which is about a zombie apocalypse and is a must read for all horror fans.  To see what they are releasing this week, go here.
Dark Horse
To my mind, Dark Horse have a higher presence than Image, but only because they publish more recognisable spin offs.  For example, they published all of Joss Whedon's universes in comic form - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, the Angel comics and the Serenity spin offs.  They have just published the first issue for a new Dollhouse series (and it's very very good), and they also do Star Wars, Hellboy and Conan the Cimmerian comics (the Conan ones are also highly recommended).
probably Publishers of Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse (highly recommended), star wars, hellboy, conan.
http://www.darkhorse.com/.  To see Dark Horse's release on any given week go here.

Don't forget that you can also buy digital comics from all the publishing houses on Comixology.  They quite often do sales and other promotions so have a browse and sign up to their mailing list, or follow them on twitter, if you want more information.

Alternatively, we have compiled a list of recommended comic shops.  If you think your shop be on there let me know!

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