The Road to DC’s Rebirth #1: How I Got into Comics

First off, as an editorial note, this was supposed to come out on the 24th, as that’s when I initially wrote it, but with finals looming and work busy, I wasn’t able to put it out until now (so it will be written as if Rebirth hasn’t come out yet). Also, most of this post was meant to just be an intro to my excitement for DC Universe: Rebirth #1, but instead became far too long that I could no longer call it an intro. Instead, this is How I Got into Comics, also explaining my excitement for Rebirth #1 and my love of comics and DC in general (I will be adding a review of Rebirth #1 soon; it was also mostly written last Wednesday immediately after reading the comic, but I just haven’t had time to finalize it).

So, without further ado:

I love comics. And when I say love I mean really, really love to the point of comics being one of the most important things in my life, even if that seems weird—it’s true. And it’s more interesting to think of how short I’ve been a fan, only about a couple years now. I feel like they’re something I’ve wanted all my life and after finally experiencing them, just fell in love. But before I talk about comics specifically, I have to go back a little bit.

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I’ve been a nerd pretty much my whole life, in one way or another. I simply didn’t 18tolkienpic-superjumbocompletely accept and embrace that until I got to college. Part of that comes from being homeschooled and as such incredibly shy and introverted with few friends (and some other more personal reasons), so for most of high school I really just wanted to fit in, and sort of buried my nerdiness. But as long as I remember I’ve loved “nerdy” things. I was introduced to LOTR at a young age, and that remains my favorite book/film trilogy, and Tolkien is still my all-time favorite author. LOTR has just had a huge influence on me in general, as that was and is one of the most important things in my life—again, as weird as that sounds. But in relation to this post, it was one of the first “nerdy” things that I became incredibly obsessed with and excited about, shaping my entire life.

The next biggest “nerdy thing” I also fell in love with was Batman.  I actually never experienced him when I was really young—I never saw the ’89 film or the animated series or anything. My first introduction was with Batman Begins, probably about a year or two after it came out (really it was once I was deemed “old enough” to see it by my parents). I fell in love immediately, and I must’ve watched it a hundred times before The Dark Knight came out just a little while later (which was my freshman year of high school—I barely saw movies back then but convinced my dad to take me to TDK). And oh man was TDK amazing—again, a film I’ve probably seen a hundred times since, as it never gets old to me  (and it’s actually the first film I remember seeing in theaters, without thinking too hard about it; I know I’d seen others, but that’s the first memorable one).

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Now, when The Dark Knight Rises came out I was fully a Batman fan, even if I wasn’t yet into comics (in my opinion, because of how much that character meant to me—I get there’ll be people who’ll say I wasn’t a true fan, but I’d argue that I was because of the level of passion, even if I only had this one set of films). I loved Batman, and was completely obsessed, and even though I still only had the Nolan films at this time, I honestly really, really loved Batman. So when The Dark Knight Rises was coming out, I was insanely excited. To this day it remains the best theater/film experience I’ve never had, including the build up to it as well as seeing the film itself.

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I was so excited for this movie. It’s hard to even illustrate how excited I was. Part of it was also my love of Nolan, as Inception was another of the only theater experiences I remember before I really started getting into film, and that film too had a big effect on me. I still remember when, almost a year before TDKR came out, the first teaser was posted that was mostly footage from Batman Begins. And I went crazy just over that. Then the actual trailers came, and the same happened. I watched every trailer dozens of times, and also hunted down every TV spot. I pre-ordered tickets to an IMAX showing and just couldn’t wait. When it came to the actual film experience, I also was insanely satisfied. I remember standing in line, sitting in the actual theater…I bought a shirt they were selling before the film began, and I was just ready.

the-dark-knight-rises-imax-posterAnd I loved the film. I honestly thought it was perfect, and no one could tell me differently. It was also my first IMAX experience, and that itself was an incredible event. The second time I saw it, again I thought it was “the greatest movie ever.” It wasn’t until the third viewing (and the many subsequent ones) that I started to realize, yeah, it did have some flaws. And sure, it does, and it’s not perfect, but I still really, really love that movie, and I think it’s really just my love of Batman that initially clouded my judgement (similarly, I also really enjoyed Batman v Superman because of Batman and Wonder Woman, even though just after I came out of the theater the first time I had a bunch of other problems with it right away—but again, the movie seemed a lot better to me because of Batman [and Wonder Woman, in BvS’s case]).

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So that’s my background for my love of Batman. But I still wasn’t into comics yet when TDKR came out.

960145Though, despite what I just said, I do have to mention how I was actually technically a comic fan for a long time, and that’s because of the comics for the LEGO line Bionicle. They published free comics with the LEGO magazine, and I loved them. I guess I never realized just how much was possible with comics because I loved those ones but never sought out more. I was a huge fan of the toy line Bionicle and of LEGO in general, and even wrote my own fanfiction. It sounds silly but with the books and comics, Bionicle actually had a fairly rich mythology for a kid’s toy line. And I loved it. It’s what got me into writing, it was another factor of my nerdiness, and the comics probably helped my “hidden” love of comics in general.

My first introduction to mainstream comics, however, was in the spring of 2013 when I the-walking-dead-amce28099s-original-soundtrack-vol-1-covertook a Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror literature class where we read the first volume of The Walking Dead. Now, I really enjoyed it, but I still never sought out more immediately, and I’m not completely sure why. I know part of it was simply that I had started obsessing about reading books a couple years earlier (I had always loved to read, but became obsessed junior year of high school), and there were so many books I still wanted to read (and I mean, there still are), that I couldn’t possibly try to get into comics. But, that didn’t last long. About a year later I was just hungry for more Batman, no longer having the promise of TDKR or another Batman film coming soon to tide me over, and I was recommended to read Hush, by Loeb and Lee.

batmanhushMan, Hush is amazing, and possibly the best choice as an intro to Batman comics for a Batman fan. I’ve actually still only read it the one time, but it had such an effect on me, and still affects me (I hope to write a review of it at some point soonish). I also read The Killing Joke, Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, The Sandman, Vol 1: Preludes and Nocturnes, and a couple others, all at about the same time (January and early spring 2014). But I still wasn’t getting super into comics yet. I read the handful of famous graphic novels I just mentioned and that was basically it, even though I really enjoyed most of them (I did not really like TDKR the first time I read it, but that’s a story for another time—I did, however, love all of the others). At least, that was it until Free Comic Book Day 2014.

 

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I had been meeting with a group of friends every Saturday to write, and for FCBD we decided to go to a comic store together (which is another reason I hadn’t gotten into comics earlier—I was sort of afraid/daunted to go into a comic store alone and with little-to-no knowledge). But that FCBD was amazing. I don’t even remember what the free comics were (edit: after longer consideration, there was a Rocket Raccoon one by Scottie Young [which also helped 614qfaigial-_sx323_bo1204203200_me get into comics—more on that later], Guardians of the Galaxy, and some other stuff that I really just don’t remember), but I do remember that I picked up a couple other things: 1) the first three or four issues of Sandman: Overture, as I was a huge fan of Gaiman’s prose work, loved Sandman, Vol 1, had heard about this comic, and kind of came across it unexpectedly while just browsing; 2) the first two TPB volumes of Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.

Thus, me as a comic fan was born.

I mean, basically. I’ve mentioned before how much I love Snyder and Capullo, and how sandman-00much they’ve meant to me, and it’s really true. It wasn’t the first comic or graphic novel that I read, but after picking up Vols 1&2 of their Batman run when I immediately needed more and was hooked. I bought the other volumes shortly after and started collecting the single issues. Which, I do have to go back to Sandman: Overture because that, too, had a big influence just in terms of me collecting single issues, as they were the first single issues I ever purchased.

So, Batman, Sandman: Overture, and Rocket Raccoon were the first comics I added to my pull list, and I’ve never looked back—all three of those series remain some of my all-time favorite series, and I think the fact that they were the first three I started collecting really influenced me, as I became hooked on all of them (all three of which are incredibly different from one another, showing me how amazing comics can be in so many different ways).

I’ve become obsessed with comics since then, trying to collect as many as possible and dive head-first into Marvel, DC, Image, and more. And it’s been a hard and slow immersion, but I’ve loved every second. My proudest moment so far was finally getting every single Snyder/Capullo Batman comic (i.e. the single issues) less than a year after I started, thanks to back-issue bins at various comic shops, ebay, and used bookstores.

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My current collection of Snyder/Capullo’s Run, #0-52 (minus doubles, variants [except for #1, which I only have the variant of], and specials like director’s cuts, etc. which I left out of this picture)
So I was now a comic fan. A new one, but a fan nonetheless.

But let’s get back to diving into Marvel and DC. Man, it’s hard, confusing, and not cheap. But all worth it to me. I’ve still barely scratched the surface, but I’m leagues ahead of where I was at the beginning.

Which, to talk about DC specifically, I actually loved the New 52 at first, because it was a hard reboot only a couple years before I got into comics, meaning I could more easily jump on board, which was great. The problem was trying to get into pre-New 52 stuff, which was just as daunting as all of Marvel was. I also fairly recently realized that I read a lot of the great books of the New 52, so it seemed that the whole New 52 was amazing until I realized those were the only good titles (not to mention all of the negative ways they portrayed some of their characters and ruined histories in an overall sense). So again I started feeling lost, trying to figure out all the pre-New 52 crises, etc. (which I still haven’t touched).

But let’s jump to Marvel for a second. It was equally hard and equally easy to get into Marvel, and I had some of the same experiences. I found a few great current titles (like Hawkeye by Matt Fraction, Rocket Raccoon, etc.) and stuck with them. All this time it was still incredibly slow going for both Marvel and DC because of all there was. And each had their own advantages: Marvel had their films that I absolutely loved, making me want to learn and read more because of that, whereas DC had Batman, who, as I’ve already established, I was obsessed with.

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But then came Secret Wars for Marvel, which was amazing. More importantly, maybe, were all the new series that came with it, as I was able to immerse myself in the current stories, and that was great. After Secret Wars came the All-New, All-Different line which was also pretty great, especially because my comic shop offered every #1 for half off, so I picked up most of them just to experience everything. And that was great—I plan to pick up the TPBs of a few of their titles (X-23, Iron Man, Daredevil, Amazing Spider-Man, Vision, etc.), which was exactly the reason for picking up all of the #1s. It gave me a great place to start. The only problem was that, even with the rebooted universe, I was still finding it hard to stay caught up because of how many titles and characters there are. Plus, I still wanted to get into more past Marvel books, and jumping into that world was also daunting. Which all meant I needed to really concentrate more and dedicate more time (which sounds like a negative thing when I put it like that, but I mean that positively, as I love concentrating on comics and trying to dive in head-first).

“Unfortunately” (depending on your point of view), I just realized I’m more of a DC fan. Now don’t get me wrong, I really, really love Marvel, but I just wanted to get into DC more. Both DC and Marvel would require an incredible amount of “work” (again, in a good way), and because of limited time, funds, etc., I could really only focus on one—which I decided would be DC. Which again, probably just goes back to Batman, as most of my nerdiness in general comes from Batman.

I guess another factor is just how crazy the Marvel universe is to me (in a good way), as there’s been so many iterations of every character and just so many different characters period. DC has a lot of characters too, but I guess I’ve just always felt that I’ve known the DC ones better, or can at least grasp them more easily. Marvel just seemed more complicated to me, as even trying to read Spider-Man was hindered by determining which volume one I wanted (though again, DC of course has its own issues in terms of trying to follow along, once again just reaffirming my feeling that I had to focus on just one). So I guess it just came down to the fact that DC has Batman and Wonder Woman, and I want to invest in those two characters more than anything (and, as such, in their universe as well). This isn’t me saying I’m going to stop reading Marvel or anything like that—I love Marvel, and will continue to buy what I can, especially the current comics that I’m more familiar with. But diving into their history and getting fully immersed will have to take the backseat for now.

But, like Marvel, trying to get into DC was incredibly confusing. DC has had an incredibly rich history—a beautiful one—but one hard to get into with limited time/funds. All of the crises and worlds and everything just left me really wondering what to do and where to start.

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Enter DC Rebirth.

Like I said, at first I loved the New 52 because it was perfect for a new fan like me. But after a while and expanding my reading, I started to realize and understand why so many people didn’t like it. Yeah, some of the line is amazing—most of what I read—but besides those few, overall there were a lot of problems, and problems with the world as a whole, too. Which put me back to square one: I shouldn’t just stick to the New 52 because there’s so much better outside of it. But if not the New 52, where to start?

Thankfully, Rebirth solves that problem. Where to start? Rebirth. It’s hard to even begin to describe how excited I am for Rebirth, and for a number of reasons. First and foremost, like I said, it gives me a place to start with the whole DC universe. A whole slew of #1s, and not just weirdly-timed/planned #1s like the “DC You” was doing, but instead what seems to be a unified rebirth of their characters/universe that takes it back to its roots. And it’s not a reboot, so it’s not ignoring all of the history that I’m trying to get in to.

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Which leads into my next point: I love Geoff Johns, and he really does seem to be leading the charge here, having sat down with all of the creative teams. This whole event is something incredibly important to him (I mean, just the name for one thing when taken with his previous series). And it shows. His passion for this makes me excited, as he seems to really understand and love the DCU, and his own Flash and Green Lantern Rebirths were fantastic and did amazing things to those characters, bringing them back to their DCU glory (something that even I, a fairly new comic reader, saw while reading those even though there wasn’t a huge impact for me—I still realized that there was a huge significance to those stories).

Next, I really like the twice-monthly schedule, as I want to dive head-first into new series that I love, and this allows for that. There’s also the creative teams to consider, and a lot of them make a lot of sense or at least are really intriguing. By far I am, of course, most excited for Scott Snyder’s All-Star Batman with his team of artists. I’ve always loved his original villains and his take on classic villains, so him spending time on various Batman villains is amazing. I love that two-face was his first choice because he never touched on the character during his New 52 run in a major way like he had with Riddler and Joker. I also love the rotating team of artists, hopefully each one being tied to a specific villain, but we’ll see how it works out. I have to say I’m most excited for Jock, as he’s quickly become one of my all-time favorite artists with Wytches, Detective Comics, Green Arrow: Year One, etc. Just his one-shot of Batman #44 was amazing, and worked perfectly because it was a different moment in the timeline so it didn’t distract from the current time-period that Capullo was drawing.

At a close second, though, is Wonder Woman. I loved what I read of Azzarello’s run, and had just decided to start collecting in single issues when the Finches took over because it was a new story arc, and…man, I tried so hard to love it, because the art was great and I loved her new costume. But it really just wasn’t great. Ah, well.

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But enter Greg Rucka, who had a very well-acclaimed run on Wonder Woman (that I haven’t read, but can’t wait to go back to, especially with the new editions being released), and I love his idea of doing half Year One and half present day. This really makes use of the double-artist team extremely well, and it will be great for WW to have her own “Year One” story.

The main Batman series sounds great because of Tom King, and Detective Comics sounds really fun as well, with Batwoman and Batman running a “school” of sorts for the Bat-family. I’m more excited for the regular Batman series because of the creative team, but I’m more excited for the idea behind Detective Comics, as I love the Bat-Family. Trinity also sounds great, and at the least the art will be amazing, and a bunch of other titles have me really excited. There could be a little more variety and diversity, but I like how they’re going back to their core characters (while adding newer ones, like finally having a female Green Lantern, etc.), and having only 30-something series to start makes it easier to jump into. I hope they just keep expanding and diversifying their line.

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Lastly, the early reviews for the Rebirth one-shot have been great. I’ve avoided reading any spoilers, but I like looking just at the general consensus which it seems amazing.

All those things just make me so incredibly excited for Rebirth #1 and the whole Rebirth event as a whole. It just seems so amazing—it’s an easy jumping-on point that also promises to bring DC back to what it was, as Geoff Johns basically apologized for the New 52 in his introduction of the Rebirth Previews magazine. So it’s perfect for me. I know exactly where to plunge right in and it’s not a new, different universe like the New 52 was. I’ve been wanting—needing—to collect DC for a while, but all I’ve been able to do so far is Snyder’s Batman. So, as a new fan I’m so incredibly excited.

But as a fan of DC and its history—not a long-time one or super knowledgeable one, but simply a very passionate one—this is also really exciting. Johns has placed emphasis time and again on using this to go back to the rich history that DC is all about and using that history instead of ignoring it. And this Rebirth just makes me even more excited to go back to that expansive history and experience that past, particularly what I haven’t yet. There’s no longer any pressure to try to dive right in and figure out exactly how to dive in because I have Rebirth to do that. Instead, I can simply catch up on all the history at my own pace.

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There’s no pressure to get into DC (because I want to do it as fast as possible), because I can get into it through Rebirth while simultaneously slowly going back at my own pace and getting immersed in all of that. Which was the problem for me because I wanted get completely immersed but there was just so much it was always hard to know where to start. I read Flash and Green Lantern Rebirths, for example, and they were great, as I said, and fun, but had no real impact because I hadn’t read what came before, even though I did still appreciate the concept. And this takes off all the pressure and lets me do that at my own pace—I can immerse myself in Rebirth to get into their universe while slowly discovering the past, as now I no longer need to dive in immediately because Rebirth gives me current comics that aren’t the New 52, but rather are comics celebrating DC’s history.

That probably all seems incredibly muddled, so to quickly sum up: Rebirth gives me a current way to dive into DC’s universe and history, taking the pressure off of trying to figure out all of the past as I can just enjoy Rebirth for now and slowly make my way through the past.

The last thing I want to mention is just the cover of Rebirth #1 Special that was revealed. Just the cover is amazing and makes me excited. The Trinity so greatly displayed, Aquaman looking awesome, etc. There’s all the new things it teases, such as the 2 new GLs, particularly the female one. And it’s great how many female characters are prominent (still not as many as I’d like, but such a better ratio that the Justice League has always been, for example), and what that promises for the future, too, with new series like birds of prey, Superwoman, etc.—again, still not enough female-centric series, but a step in the right direction. And, just the set-up and background of the image itself is great. I love the colors and I love how they’re all reaching toward a bright light, with lightning heavily featured… I love it.

And of course, there’s the inside of the Previews book, too. I love how the creators of the various series are creating their own costumes, rather than Jim Lee making all of them, as it seems to promise at least slightly more creative control. And revealing all the creative teams and synopses makes me simply unable to wait. I’ve flipped through that Previews magazine dozens of time, so incredibly hungry for them to all finally come out.

That’s how excited I am. Just the promo image would’ve been enough, but everything else just adds to it and makes me incredibly giddy. I’m counting down the hours until tomorrow.

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2 thoughts on “The Road to DC’s Rebirth #1: How I Got into Comics

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