Whether you’re new to reading comics, have been at it for decades, or fall somewhere in the middle like I do, a comic book club is a pretty cool thing to be part of. I’m fortunate to have an awesome local comic/record store that hosts a few different monthly comic book clubs. Even though I’ve only been to two meetings, but I’m completely hooked. We’re currently arranging new meeting space, so it’s been a while between gatherings and I miss it already. Here are a few reasons why you might like a comic book club, too:
If you’re new to comics, it’s a good way to dip your toe in.
With a new reading each month, you’ll be introduced to a variety of comics. You could discover a writer or artist you want to see more from, which will lead you to other new books to check out. Or, you could find creators you really don’t like and want to avoid in the future, which is also helpful. If you love a book and want more like it, you will be conveniently surrounded by a group of people who are probably ready to bombard you with recommendations. In fact, if you want any kind of recommendation, there is likely to be at least one person in the room who can help.
Even if you’re not new, it’s a great way to discover new comics.
Or the impetus to finally get around to reading one you’ve wanted to check out. This was the case for me with my first meeting, when the reading was Volume 1 of Squirrel Girl. I’d read online about how great it was, of course, and was interested in reading it, but since I lean less toward superheroes and general cheerfulness and more towards sci-fi / horror / weirdness, it just wasn’t a priority. I was wrong, and I truly apologize to Doreen Green for my wrongness. Holy cow, do I love her. I might’ve never even gotten around to reading Squirrel Girl if not for the book club, and I would have been robbing myself of a charmingly detailed book, a deep and delightful bunch of characters and at least one rad squirrel.
You’ll meet some cool new people, too.
It’s 2016, so doing things out in the real world is sometimes scary, but there is much to be said with getting out from behind the screen and actually interacting with humans in real life. And hey, meeting new nerds isn’t so scary, right? Right. You’re the sort of person who thinks a comic book club sounds fun, and guess what? So are all the other people who attend comic book club gatherings! Common nerdiness, right from the start! You even have a pre-planned topic of conversation, so it’s a pretty easy interaction, as far as joining a group of strangers is concerned. Before you know it, you’re happily talking about comics and completely at ease with potential new friends. Plus, you can always drag a friend along for moral support, which I totally did. Turns out I would have been just fine if I had gone alone, too.
You’ll learn a lot.
Just like in regular book clubs, or any conversation amongst a group of people, different perspectives will shed light on things you may not have noticed. With comics, there’s the double layer of art and words to interpret, so there’s much more detail that you might miss. You could read a character or scene one way, while someone else sees it completely differently. Talking actually helps our wee human brains to further process and understand things, so you’ll connect dots you hadn’t even noticed when you first read the book. You’ll be told that the Ryan North who writes Squirrel Girl is the Ryan North responsible for Dinosaur Comics, and so many little things will explode with sense-making.
It’s always interesting to find out how others react to a book, to find those who love the things that you do, and learn why some others might not love it so much. There will inevitably be someone who knows a ton about a character’s history, the writer, or artist who will gush all over the place, enlightening you in ways you never even imagined. Not much is better than watching and listening to someone talk about why they love the thing they love.
It forces you to do something just for yourself.
We hear a lot about self-care and taking breaks these days, and not without reason. A monthly date with a group of people who also like comics is one way to trick yourself into unplugging and unwinding for a bit. It’s good to get together with people and talk about a piece of art, to laugh and not be stressed out, even for an hour. And if you have the meeting to go to, you’re going to want to be prepared, which means you have to carve out the time to just sit and read the book. So, right there, that’s at least a couple of hours of stress-and-internet-free me time, innocuously on your calendar disguised as a thing that could be viewed as an intellectual pursuit. Who wouldn’t love that?