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Ms Marvel Comic + figure
Ms Marvel Comic + figure
Original photo by Ashmita Shanthakumar
Culture > Entertainment

The Collegiette’s Guide to Comic Books

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Point Park chapter.

I’ve been obsessed with superheroes and villains since I was a little girl. Batman has always been my favorite. I love the Joker and his girlfriend Harley Quinn! I feel at home inside comic book stores and surrounded by cosplayers. The first Comic-Con I went to was in my hometown of Cleveland. It was the first year Cleveland hosted the event and it was full of comic book enthusiasts and cosplayers. I even met my favorite comic book writer, Sean McKeever, who was kind enough to listen to me ramble on and on about Harley Quinn and he even signed some stuff for me and my sister.  

I love comic books so much that I decided to help anyone else who was interested in owning some. It hasn’t been long since I started “collecting” comics myself, so I’m still fairly new at this, but I can give some tips that can help you understand certain terms better.

What is the difference between a comic book and graphic novel?

A comic book is a thin book filled with comic strips (remember those comic strips in the Sunday paper? Just think about all of those making a whole comic book). A Graphic novel is a lot thicker and has a hardcover. Imagine you had ten comic books in the same storyline (or arc), those ten books would make one graphic novel. So a graphic novel is pretty much just a bunch of comic books in wrapped up in a single book.

Which is better comic books, or graphic novels?

You’re really getting the same thing, just packaged differently. If you want to eventually make money off your collection, go for comic books. If you want to read a whole arc in one sitting without waiting to get buy each individual comic book, a graphic novel is a great option. Also, graphic novels are great to travel with.

How do you store comic books?

I don’t fuss too much over my comic books and graphic novels because I’m not looking to make money from them in the future. But I still try to keep them safe. This means keeping them out of direct sunlight, the light will ruin the color and paper. Store them in plastic slips, and make sure they are in a cool dry environment.

Are they expensive?

It depends. If you’re just going into your local comic book shop and pick up the new The Walking Dead book, you’re probably only going to pay $3. If you buy one from 40 years ago that is in perfect condition, no damage whatsoever, you will probably pay a good amount. It all depends on how the owner kept the books and what book it is. Just think if you found the first copy of Superman in perfect condition, it would be worth a lot.

Where should I buy them?

In your local comic book shop of course! It’s easy to get them online, but why would you do that when you can talk to an expert in person and build a long-lasting friendship. Plus, it’s important to support local businesses. Bill & Walt’s Hobby Shop is located right near campus at 245 4th Avenue, and they are absolutely the most helpful!

I hope this helped spark an interest in comic books!