Wayne’s Worlds: When I Read a Comic…

When I read a comic book, I hope to encounter a few important things!


George Perez, Alex Ross, Greg Capullo, and Kevin Maguire, Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller, Batman, local comics shop, JLA, SupermanThe first thing I want to experience when I open and start reading a comic book is to find characters I care about! What happens to them is important to me! Otherwise, it’s worse than a videogame, in my opinion. Bang-bang-bang doesn’t hold my attention.

A good example of this is what took place in the pages of an early issue of JLA. Batman was pouring some kind of liquid on the ground. As soon as he was done, he was surrounded by several Superman-level people, and they were obviously intent on harming him. I was horrified! How could he survive this?

“Any last words?” one of them asked him. “A few,” he responded.

In just a few sentences, the Dark Knight laid out everything that had been happening behind the scenes in the previous issues. I won’t spoil it here, but he left his foes speechless. Then he held up a match, struck it, and dropped it in the fluid he had poured. It burst into flame, an obvious problem for the bad guys.

Batman then put his fist into his other hand and said, “Ready.”

I cheered! In fact, I can remember exactly where I was, what day it was, and what time it was! That’s how significant this sequence was to me. It’s one of my all-time favorite Batman happenings!

Granted, that doesn’t take place in every single comic I read. But I hope to care what’s going on with the characters I come across—so much so that I can’t wait to turn the page and see what happens next!


George Perez, Alex Ross, Greg Capullo, and Kevin Maguire, Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller, Batman, local comics shop, JLA, SupermanI firmly believe in the old adage that “art attracts a comics fan’s attention, but it’s the story that keeps them coming back” for more!

Clumsy art can keep me from plunking down my hard-earned shekels. On the other hand, a great cover can pull me into a book, but if the inside art isn’t even close to the level of the cover, I feel deceived.

My favorite artists include George Perez, Alex Ross, Greg Capullo, Bruce Timm, and Kevin Maguire, just to name a few. I see their artwork in a comic, I’m there!

I know that those artists simply can’t draw many issues each month. I am happy to see other artists who are getting better over time. That’s how those guys started out, after all.

I judge artwork along two lines: facial expressions and action sequences. If I can tell what a character is thinking or feeling through the artwork, I love that! Also, if I know what’s happening in a battle or right without having to figure it out, that’s a sign of great artwork to me!

When I see both of those happening in a comic, I’m more than satisfied! I’m often elated because it can be so rare to find these done well.


George Perez, Alex Ross, Greg Capullo, and Kevin Maguire, Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller, Batman, local comics shop, JLA, SupermanI often point out in this column that comics are a habitual thing. When I go to the comics shop each week, I expect to see certain comics on the stands and/or in my pull box. I like to joke that when I enter a comics shop, the cash register automatically opens!

Especially with the recent pandemic and the resulting paper shortage, that hasn’t happened as much as I would prefer. See, I print out a list of the comics I see are supposed to be available so I can be sure I get what I want. I’ve missed too many issues in the past, so I need to be armed with this info! It really helps!

However, in the real world, my comics issues don’t always get to the store I frequent when I expect them. It happens. They either check the status of the book (Did it come in? Is it delayed?) or see if some copies made it to the stand instead of my pull box.

I do like to tell the “Dark Knight Returns” story here. When Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns debuted, it was on time. The second issue came a month later. Then the third issue arrived six months after that. It was a year before that fourth and final issue showed up. I was worried I’d never see it at that point. AUGH!

Real life often gets in the way of comics. The thing to do is be honest and upfront about this as much as possible. Get the word out through the comics press or social media. Comic fans like me are very forgiving, particularly if it is a quality book worth the wait.


George Perez, Alex Ross, Greg Capullo, and Kevin Maguire, Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller, Batman, local comics shop, JLA, SupermanI often point out that I’m not hyper-critical of condition (Is a book bashed into submission by being sat on or something?), but I do like my comics in a decent state. I’d estimate maybe a 9.2 to a 9.8, if at all possible.

If a comic turns out to be one I want to keep, I’ll often get the hardcover or the trade edition of it.

I have, in years past, driven all over the states I’ve lived in or the metropolitan area I’m near just to get copies of some comics. The aforementioned Dark Knight Returns is a good example. I went to every Waldenbooks I could find to get copies of that first issue when the local shops were sold out.

Time has passed, though, and the hunt isn’t as much fun as it used to be! I prefer these days to take my books home, sit in a comfy chair, and read them. It’s rare when that doesn’t happen these days, which I appreciate.

On the other hand, there are some books I don’t care what condition they are in—I just want to read the story! There’s one Indie comic I’m a huge fan of, and I’ve even begged the writer/creator to please send me one in the worst condition possible if I pay cover price for it—just get me one!

These are the highlights when it comes to my expectations when I crack open a comic book. Yes, I’m disappointed as well as happily surprised depending on the comic. But it’s all part of being a fan, I think!

About Author