The Case for Reading Everything


I was explaining to a shop regular recently that I don’t have a great grasp on continuity. I have always been a pick-and-chooser when it comes to comics: I see something that interests me, I pick it up, I read it until it is no longer interesting. Find something new, repeat the process. As a result, I’ve read a little of everything. DC, Marvel, Indies, you name it. I just can’t tell you the timeline.

Does this make me a bad nerd? I mean, if we’re counting “true nerdiness” as the ability to recount, with encyclopedic knowledge, the entire continuity of Batman from its inception, including any cross-universal stories or reboots, then yes. It has, in the past, made me the target of “Fake Geek Girl” allegations, as if the combination of being female and not being able to name all the Green Lanterns made me doubly guilty of being a poseur. I figure I have a fifty-fifty shot at winning any trivia contest.


But there is a case for being comics-omnivorous. I can pretty much recommend anything to anyone based on what they’ve read already. Instead of being locked into a knowledge of only Marvel books (though I admit more of an allegiance to Stan Lee than to DC), I can tell a person looking to get into Superman to read For All Seasons, I book I read and adored, despite knowing almost nothing about Supes beforehand. Tastes lean more towards independent productions but like sci-fi? Check out Saga. Looking for more heavy aesthetic and emotion? Habibi, sucker. Love Nightcrawler? Read X-Men Vignettes Vol. 1, there’s a great Kurt story in there.

Broadening your horizons can give you a fresh perspective on the books you already read and love; or fill a desire you didn’t even know you had for something different. Friends who aren’t loyal comic readers might be more inclined to read a trade of something that appeals to their unique tastes, and you can share your passion with them easier. So next time you’re in the shop, venture out of your comfort zone. Wander away from the new releases shelf and check out a trade from 2005. Take a risk– the rewards are worth it, even if you don’t know everything about it already. Trust me.