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The 1st of 52 Ways To Hook Your Reluctant Reader On Comics…

Justice League #1 The New 52At first it’s a little weird. After years of reading comics we’re used to Batman and Superman and the Green Lantern knowing each other. They call each other up on their superhero phones and say ‘Dude, there’s some big bad thing threatening the world, could use a little help.’ And they all show up and they fight together and they save the world.

That’s not how it works in Justice League #1 The New 52.

As previously mentioned, DC Comics is starting over. They are taking 52 of their most popular characters and ‘rebooting them’ completely. No connections to each other. No familiarity. We’re talking going all the way back to:

“Hi, I’m Green Lantern, and you are?”
“Nice to meet you Batman.”
“Uh huh.”

Superman Action ComicsIf you have read comics for a while it takes a little getting used to. But I have to admit, at least in Justice League #1 it works. You get caught up in the story. Green Lantern arrives in Gotham City to save the world from a space alien. Batman not so politely says Gotham City is my town. GL is all “how can that be when you don’t even have superpowers? And beside Green Lantern’s are responsible for this whole sector of space” so he says to Batman “That kind of makes me the boss of you.” And Batman is all “Like that’ll happen.”

Good writing captures us and invests us in the characters, whether it’s in a novel or a comic book. And Justice League #1 is a well-written comic book. And without giving away any spoilers the best part of the book is the end, when the Green Lantern and Batman finally make peace and decide they need to head to Metropolis to check out this Superman guy. The way it’s brought to a close is fun. It could have been a cheap tactic, but they invested in the idea and made it work.

Fun. Well-written. Interesting. For $3.99 you might be able to get your reluctant reader hooked on a comic series.

I’d also recommend Green Arrow #1 and Action Comics #1, which reboots Superman’s origin story. For older kids Detective Comics #1 (Which is for older kids only because it re-launches the epic struggle between Batman and Joker but is very violent and the art is a little graphic for young readers).

I’ll admit, which DC announced this initiative I was skeptical. But so far the stories and the writing are winning me over. Forcing something on a reluctant reader almost never works. So maybe you make a quick trip to the comic shop and leave a few of them ‘lying around’. The next thing you know, they’re asking you to take them to the comic shop every Wednesday. (Wednesday’s are new comics days). Or you make a deal with your reluctant reader. Sure. You can have a Green Lantern t-shirt, or an Iron Man lunchbox, but first you’ve got to read one of the comics. Try as many different tactics as you can. Reading is just too important.

And more importantly, if you want your reluctant reader to start reading comics, they just might try it if they see you reading them. And if you haven’t read them in years and don’t know where the stories are or where the characters are at in their lives, well DC has given you a chance to jump in at a new beginning for all of their biggest names. If your reluctant reader gets hooked, there are lots more stories to come. And the next thing you know they’re reading George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones or maybe even,  The Youngest Templar: Keeper of The Grail.

I’m just sayin…

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  1. My husband, an avid comic lover since his childhood — when dinosaurs ruled the earth — is afraid it won’t save the comic industry because he feels they have become a story board for movies and aren’t they now owned by movie companies? Part of my concern is the cost.

    I am a teacher building my classroom library on used books right now. I can buy a good used book for approximately the price of a comic, but I will probably purchase a few, and ask some of my reluctant readers what they think, if I can pull them away from another Michigan author I got them hooked on.

    1. Janeen,
      Thanks so much for your comment. To answer your question, the two majors Marvel (owned by Disney) and DC (owned by Warner Brothers) are owned by the big movie companies. But they’ve made some good movies and bad movies. My hope is the movies which gain the most attention will drive kids to read the books. And the quality of writing in the books today is pretty amazing. Much better than it has been in the last twenty years or so.

      In addition, there are some ‘Independents’ comics publishers who are creating AMAZING graphic novels and comics.

      I know the expense is an issue. Please message me on facebook with your address. I might be able to get you a small supply of comics (for your review first of couse) that your students might enjoy.

      And thank you so much for A) participating in the blog discussion and B) getting your students hooked on a ‘Michigan Author’. Tell them I am working fast and furiously on my next novel The Raven’s Shadow. And if there were any fans of my first books Spy Goddess an ebook of third book THE SPY WHO TOTALLY HAD A CRUSH ON ME is now available on the Amazon Kindle store.

      Thanks again so much for your support and friendship!

      Mike Spradlin

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