Comics Newsletter

Comics: The Perfect Readathon Material

Jessica Pryde

Contributing Editor

Jessica Pryde is a member of that (some might call) rare breed that grew up in Washington, DC, but is happily enjoying the warmer weather of the desert Southwest. While she is still working on what she wants to be when she grows up, she’s enjoying dabbling in librarianship and writing all the things. She can be found drowning in her ever-growing TBR and exclaiming about romance in the Book Riot podcast (When in Romance), as well as on social media. Find her exclamations about books and pho on twitter (JessIsReading) and instagram (jess_is_reading).

Readathons are wonderful. You have an excuse to read ALL DAY and then some. The next Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is this Saturday, the 29th, and I’ve got the perfect plan: I’m going to catch up on comics. Not only do I have at least 30 trades that I’ve bought over the course of the last year and not gotten to (not that I’ll make it through those in 24 hours), but I plan to spend a third of my time on Marvel Unlimited. A dedicated day of reading is difficult to manage, but comics make it a lot more productive. (Not to mention, you get way more titles checked off of your to-read list!)

There are multiple reasons that comics are the perfect material for a readathon, particularly one that is supposed to last the majority of 24 hours.

The obvious one, of course, is that they’re shorter and you can get through more than one in a sitting. Their shortness is what leads to their other benefits:

  1. Variety. When you’re participating in a readathon, you are committing. Your time, your brain, your book choices. If you are someone like me, who really needs a change of scene every few hours, then the goal to finish Anna Karenina is probably not the best one for this type of reading activity. Instead, picking out a big stack of snackable stories can provide you far more variety in your day of reading than a few sizable books might.
  2. Numbers. Dewey’s Readathon isn’t one for numbers of books or pages completed, but if you do find yourself participating in one in which one of the challenge is to complete a certain number of books, comics are your way to go. If you read single issues and you’ve got a few months’ worth of backstock, even better. In my case, since I’m setting aside the time anyway, I might as well get the best out of it for my TBR shelf/floor stacks/coffee table.
  3. Breaks. When you’re reading prose, sometimes you go a lot of pages and the end of the chapter is not in sight. If you’re a frequent snacker, or you drink a lot of tea/coffee/water and use the bathroom a lot, you might find yourself pushing through on your reading, even when you want to stop. Now, there are some pretty hefty graphic novels out there, too, but you doubtless will be reading something a bit lighter, in both weight and tone. So you’ll find more places to take small breaks for another handful of Oreos or an apple. Or just a short walk around your reading space. Then fill the kettle and read another issue before it starts to scream at you.  
  4. Playing Catch Up. If you hadn’t figured out by now, I am ridiculously behind, both in current series and just in my own collection of comics. There’s nothing like using a coerced reading period to catch up without other distractions.

We all have our own strategies. Some people might set a goal to read all of the Batman they can. Or read only female-centered stories, or only works with at least one woman on the creative team. I just need to jump universes. If I start my day with Wonder Woman Chronicles (hmm…good idea) then my next read should be The Divine or Saga. After that, maybe a quick issue of Silk or Darth Vader from Marvel Unlimited, and then back to Volume 2 of Wonder Woman. I tend to get genre fatigue pretty easily, so that variety I talked about is really important to my reading success. 

The last thing you’re going to need is a good set of tunes (if you’re that kind of reader). I read much better with a soundtrack than I do in the quiet. Don’t pick something that requires a lot of higher brain power or that you’ll just want to listen to instead of reading–so guys, I’m sorry, but no Hamilton on Saturday, okay?

Sometimes just reading a single book in a readathon can be overwhelming. So why not catch up on your comics? You can still sign up for the 24 Hour Readathon that is happening this Saturday, or if you’d rather wait until you’ve perfected your strategy, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future. Either way, happy reading!