Getting your friends (even your girlfriend) into comics isn’t hard!Posted: September 29, 2006
As a comic book store clerk, at the comic book store with the best subscription service in Maryland (shameless, I know), a sometimes get asked the question, “What should I get for my wife/girlfriend/sister/daughter?”
This is a loaded question, because there’s no hard and fast rule for what women, as a group, want from a comic book. The same goes for men, boys, children, rocks. Everyone is different (snowflakes?) thus you can’t just pigeonhole people because of their gender.
Thus I find myself replying to the “What should I get for my wife/girlfriend/sister/daughter?” question with, “Well what sort of TV does she like?” What sort of TV a person loves generally can show what sort of overall taste they have in fiction.
If she’s a Buffy fan, there are plenty of Buffy comics out there, plus she might enjoy Astonishing X-Men (since Joss Whedon writes that). If she’s a soap opera fan we’ve Noble Causes and Runaways. Loves the Sopranos? There’s always Bendis’ Daredevil. Maybe she’s a Law & Order fan? Well we always keep the Gotham Central trades in stock, plus Powers, and maybe she’d be interested in Alias (Bendis again).
This method works for people shopping for their husband/boyfriend/brother/son too.
The point of this (other than to shamelessly point out how well stocked the store I work at is) is that there’s plenty of comic books out there for everyone. The above list doesn’t even cover any real indie books. If you don’t just look at books with people in tights, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t find a comic book for anyone.
Often when the topic of ‘how to get girlz to read comix too’ comes up, a bunch of “girl-friendly” books are discussed. Bone, Runaways, you know the familiar names. Enviably Sandman will come up.
Sandman is a great comic; perhaps one of the greatest, comic books ever published. It’s extremely accessible (especially starting with the 3rd or so volume) and a great missionary tool in spreading the gospel of comics. Yet Sandman isn’t just great “girl-friendly”, a great comic book for everybody, whatever their gender.
None of those fabled “girl-friendly” comics will be friendly to all women. Not even Bone. Sorry. Everyone’s tastes are different. It’s common in male geek-culture to view women as a monolithic force, that if we (men) just find that one magic bullet, that one “girl-friendly” comic everything will come up roses.
That magic bullet doesn’t exist. If you want to get your girlfriend/wife/sister/etc. into comics, buy something for her in a genre she likes. It’s that simple.
Now for some anecdotal evidence.When my girlfriend said she’d try her hand at reading some comics the first thing I gave her was my copy of Tales of the Slayers (since she’s a big Buffy fan). Then, yes, I did give her Sandman because I knew it would be right up her alley (and she does like it a lot). But I also gave her a copy of the first Owlie volume (because you can’t go wrong with a cute vegan owl). One of my female friends stared with Batman: Hush. I gave my old soft cover copy of Watchmen to another. Yet another borrowed my New X-Men hardcovers for forever. Another of my friends loves Star Wars comics, Promethea, and stuff by Bryan Lee O’Malley. I could go on.
Some of those comics are traditional “girl-friend” books. Others are not. The one thing they all have in common is that they are good comics. That’s the key to getting anyone from your best friend to your wife, girlfriend, or sister into comics; you have to give them good comics.
If you pick a good book that fits their tastes you may have just won another person to the comic book medium.