New Year’s Resolutions for Comic Book Readers
I’m not really a New Year’s resolution type of person. If I feel like starting a new project or adopting a new attitude, I get on it right away before I get distracted. But this year, I figured I might as well break my no-resolutions resolution, at least as far as my reading life is concerned.
2021 saw a pretty big shift in how and why I read comics. In April, I was absolutely thrilled to be made contributing editor here at Book Riot. (Hold for applause.) With that great title came great responsibility — namely, I have to write many more articles than I did as a contributor. To keep my inspiration level up, I began reading comics at a much faster rate. I also began exploring avenues for acquiring comics that I hadn’t before, such as subscribing to DC Universe Infinite (I already had Marvel Unlimited) and spending time skulking around Comic Book Plus.
Maybe these changes are why it finally occurred to me to make some resolutions regarding my comics reading for 2022. Things are already in flux, so why not flux some more? Here are four things I am going to try to get done in the next 12 months.
Resolution #1: Read Whatever I What
Well, this is easy! I’ve never been one to interpret “must-read” lists literally. I don’t care how famous or beloved a comic is, or if it was written by someone super famous: the real question is, is this likely to keep me entertained for as long as it takes me to read it? If the answer isn’t yes, nothing else matters.
There is an exception to this rule: if I’m researching an article, I may pick up a comic that I wouldn’t normally bother with. That’s what happened when I wrote about the Cold War in comics and decided it wouldn’t be complete unless I read some war comics. But even then, I’d say it still fits within the bounds of this resolution: war comics may not be my cup of tea, but they do relate to — and help me better understand — a broader topic I’m interested in.
Resolution #2: Read More Historical Comics
I love historical nonfiction just as much as I love comics. So why haven’t I read more historical comic books? Search me!
Technically, I have already started on this resolution: in 2021, I picked up Soviet Daughter and Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio, among others. (Told you I was bad at resolutions.) But there are so many more that have caught my attention — March and its sequel, Run; and Redbone, about the band — and that I hope to read.
This is, of course, subordinate to Resolution #1. If I suddenly lose interest in historical comics and develop an obsession with, say, comics about food, I will abandon historical comics without a smidge of guilt, regardless of how many I have or haven’t read.
Resolution #3: Read More About Comics
A quick scan through the articles I write for Book Riot will tell you that I love older comics. But I know comparatively little about the people who made them or — aside from the great crackdown that led to the 1954 creation of the Comics Code Authority — the behind-the-scenes goings-on.
In 2021, I put together this list of autobiographies about comic book creators, but I’ve only read one of them myself. In 2022, I’d like to increase that number by at least one and/or maybe find some other books that tell me more about the real stories behind the fictional heroes.
Resolution #4: Be Less Cynical
This one is going to be hard for me, but I think comics — or DC, at least — have earned it. In 2021, they announced two major characters — Tim Drake/Robin and Jon Kent/Superman — are bisexual. I actively mocked Superman’s coming out as impossible before it actually happened! So I’m going to work on accepting the idea that maybe, just maybe, comics are starting to enter the 21st century and realize their readers want and appreciate diversity in all its forms. The next time I start hearing rumors about some big, progressive change to DC’s (or even Marvel’s) line-up, I’ll try to let myself believe it.
How about you, graphic novel lovers? Got any comics-related resolutions for the new year? Let me know on Twitter!