Read Marvel Comics if you like the Movies

Deadpool by Irene Y. Lee
Deadpool by Irene Y. Lee. Marvel Comics

I was interested in comic book characters before I ever read - or even held - an actual comic book. Back when I was just a youngling in the late '80s and early '90s, I absolutely adored the Spider-Man, Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and X-Men's animated shows; I couldn't get enough of them and I even fell in love with director Tim Burton's first 1989 Batman movie and, of course, the multiple Ninja Turtles movies (yes, even the third one - come on, I was a kid).

I'm sure I flipped through a comic here and there when I went to a bookstore with my family, and I most definitely remember the superhero merchandise that Pizza Hut offered, but comic books didn't play a big role in my childhood. I loved the characters, but I didn't explore what was going on in the stories that truly mattered - the ones that would strongly influence the shows and movies I loved so very much.

I only have one vivid memory of reading a comic when I was younger. You see, despite being completely useless in the show, Remy LeBeau, a.k.a. Gambit, was - and still is - my favorite member of the X-Men. (I promise that you're a close second, X-23!) Seriously, have you rewatched the show recently? In one episode, Gambit - who is supposed to be incredibly agile, have great reflexes, and the mutant ability to turn just about anything into an explosive - completely fails at skiing. That alone really isn't that humiliating (he is out of his element, after all), but the Ragin Cajun then goes violently crashing face first into a tree.

Then, while he's knocked out from the brutal impact, he accidentally charges the tree with his mutant ability. The tree then explodes and that further injures the X-Man when he's already knocked out. Yup, that's my favorite X-Man. I guess his costume design really won me over? Anyway, my interest in the character - which stemmed from a TV series - is what finally motivated me to pick up a comic.

That comic, random readers, is the first issue from his very first limited series. Despite enjoying the comic, this wasn't what turned me into a weekly comic book reader. I read some random comics throughout High School and a few in early college, but it wasn't until 2006 that I decided to finally become an avid comic book reader.

While interning at Comedy Central in New York City, I walked past Midtown Comics in the always crowded Times Square each and every day. It was the huge images of iconic heroes that pulled me into the store - I just couldn't resist it. What was Gambit up to? Is there a terrific new Spider-Man story to read? What's going on in Wolverine's life? So many thoughts about different characters kept popping up in my head as I walked into the store, but all of those thoughts were cast aside when I saw a poster for Marvel's latest big event: Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's Civil War. I credit this event with pulling me back into comics and now, almost a decade later, that big event is serving as the inspiration for Marvel Studio's latest blockbuster movie. Funnily enough, I now also work at Midtown Comics as the Marketing & Events Manager! I decided to give comics a back then, but there are still a lot of fans of the movies and shows that still haven't decided to pick up a comic.

Since 2008, Marvel's biggest heroes have become more popular than ever before. The publisher had some rough times (that's why it sold character rights to studios), but now the House of Ideas' fictional superheroes and villains have become household names. Sure, characters like Hulk, Wolverine, Captain America, and Spider-Man are well-known, but who would have thought that Guardians of the Galaxy would become fan favorites? Or that Jessica Jones would get her own show? Or that Deadpool - a character who quickly became one of my favorites - recently had a solo movie, and it was an enormous success? Or that Gambit is (eventually) getting his own film? I really could go on and on; it's amazing that there's so much demand to see more and more of the Marvel universe on the big and small screen. At the time of this writing, Captain America: Civil War has already made more than $200 million internationally during its opening weekend!

Clearly, people aren't suffering from superhero fatigue. If you make a good comic book movie, odds are it's going to get a proper amount of attention.

With the millions and millions of people watching comic book TV shows and movies, you'd think the source material would get a massive boost, right? The top selling comics don't reach one million copies sold to retailers... and they're not even close to that figure. Last month (March), Amazing Spider-Man sold just over 88,000 copies to retailers - he was the standout character in a recent Civil War trailer, too! That makes it the fifth highest comic of the month, and if you look at the complete chart in the link, you'll see so many comics sold fewer than 30,000 copies to retailers (note: this figure doesn't include digital sales). That range includes characters are who are getting extra time in the spotlight thanks to shows and movies, too (i.e. Suicide Squad, Hawkeye, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, etc.). Why is this? Obviously, that's a question that the publishers and retailers need to address and it's something they're well aware of. Marvel did a major renumbering after Secret Wars and its attempting to appeal to new readers by adding much more diversity and a bigger selection of lighthearted titles. Meanwhile, DC's Rebirth is approaching. It's not a reboot, it's an attempt to refocus on its core characters and make readers fall in love with them all over again. 

With these characters playing such a prominent role in pop culture, more people really should be reading comics every month.

So, here I am, basically begging you to give a comic an honest chance. If you're one of the people who enjoys the TV shows and films, don't you want to see more stories involving those characters you've become emotionally attached to? You can simply search something like "Captain America's best comics" and you'll see multiple articles that are loaded with reading recommendations. From there, it's so easy - and affordable - to give just one or two collections your focus. If you don't feel like putting in the extra (and very quick) research, here are my favorite comics for just a few of Marvel's big names and teams:

Wolverine: Old Man Logan

Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt

X-Men: Astonishing X-Men

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Luke Cage and Iron Fist: The brand new series (Walker & Greene), Immortal Iron Fist

Avengers: The Ultimates (vol. 1 and 2)

Deadpool: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Black Panther: The brand new series (Coates and Stelfreeze)

Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank

Daredevil: Born Again

If you're nowhere near a comic book shop, you can order comics online, or even purchase digital comics (I do recommend physical copies, though). Seriously, comics are easy to obtain. If you're enjoying these heroes on TV and in theaters, there's no good reason not to give comics a chance. Don't you want to see what inspired these stories that you love watching? Won't it help ease the wait until the character gets a sequel or another episode? And then, with that new knowledge of the character, won't you have a greater appreciation for the live-action project you're witnessing?

I mean, I still can't get over the fact that I saw a live-action Deadpool movie and it was a total blast. No amount of words can properly describe just how happy that made me.

Maybe you'll become hooked like I did and enjoy new stories every week. It can definitely become an expensive hobby, but having new "episodes" with my favorite characters on a weekly basis is so much fun, and I constantly find myself giving brand new titles a chance. Seeing as this article is being written for About.com's Marvel site, I focused primarily on that publisher's characters, but it's a big industry out there. IDW is doing brilliant things with some of my favorite childhood franchises (i.e. TMNT and Ghostbusters); Valiant has done a phenomenal job rebooting its universe (and there are films on the way); DC's Rebirth is right on the horizon and it promises to do great things with its core characters; Image has so many awesome titles (like Rumble and I Hate Fairyland); that's just scratching the surface of all the entertainment that the industry has waiting for you, and on a weekly basis, too. Or, maybe comics just won't be for you, but if that's the case, at least you can say you gave them a fair shot, right? If you really do love these surreal and inspiring characters, you need to give the source material a chance.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Katzman, Gregg. "Read Marvel Comics if you like the Movies." ThoughtCo, May. 2, 2016, thoughtco.com/read-marvel-comics-4041104. Katzman, Gregg. (2016, May 2). Read Marvel Comics if you like the Movies. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/read-marvel-comics-4041104 Katzman, Gregg. "Read Marvel Comics if you like the Movies." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/read-marvel-comics-4041104 (accessed December 17, 2017).