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I had a big think about this in the summer, but recently, I've been thinking about how comic books attract new readers and how welcoming they are. There's an old saying about how "every comic is somebody's first" and comics have to have a go at making it possible for new readers to pick up any book, even if its midstream. There's a lot of advertised "jumping on points" and Marvel's .1 initiative has been a pretty uneven way of their characters, concepts and stories.

In superhero movies, there's always a desire to do an origin story as a way to make the story accessible to new readers. This always frustrates me, especially since Colleen Coover's told the definitive Spider-man story in one panel and six words and Batman's isn't much more than "My parents are deeeeead." We don't need to see James Bond start his military training and changing to HMSS to know that he's a badass, so why have we got to see Green Lantern get his ring? Why can't we just see him be a space cop?

DC's relaunch has made a big deal about being new reader friendly and has by and large jumped into stories. Apart from Supergirl, I'm not aware of any origins being retold, which is nice.



The story recap )

The concept recap )

The character recap )

The novel recap )

Are comic books really less new-reader friendly than other media? I know that it doesn't take much to pick up a movie and watch it, and that sequels rarely do recaps (though the credits sequence in Incredible Hulk was pretty bloody good). What about for TV? Is it easier to jump into a TV series midstream (and not just soaps, but one with an ongoing narrative like The Shield or Fringe) than it is to jump into an ongoing comics series?

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