How to Get Her to Read Comics

(Note: Everything I am writing here is based on my own experience and from what I have learned from others. Some of what I write might be applicable to your situation, some of it might not. If you get dumped, it’s not my fault, but it does mean that s/he wasn’t right for you anyway. Additionally, while I am writing about boys dealing with girls, the tips should be applicable for the reverse situation, and, finally, if you are going to be insulted (for some reason) that I use the term “girls” then replace it with “womyn” in your head or copy then paste the article into an editor and do a find/replace. Thanks.)



Boy meets girl. Boy and girl start dating. Boy wants to introduce girl to comics.

Aw, buttercup. You met a special someone. You two are getting along great — she even knows you read comics! She’s cool. You like her–and you actually think she would like comics, but you aren’t sure how to broach the topic. So…what to do?

Well, you are off to a great start. The good news is that girls love it when you want to share something in your life with them, especially when it’s something they know precious little about and you know a whole bunch about. Women like it when their man is really good at something, and it shows that you are thinking about them when you make the effort (“making an effort” goes a long way in a relationship, believe me) to involve them.

The photo to the left is an actual picture of my wife, Whitney. She never read a comic book before she met me. She now reads comics regularly (the words “comics” and “regularly” mean different things a girl, we’ll discuss more below) and she is looking forward to going to Comic-Con International next month…our fourth year! So, yeah, it does happen. You wanna go to the comic book store with your girl? Read on.

The Gateway Movie
First thing’s first: Take her to Iron Man. This Friday. Women love this movie. Make a night of it, take her to dinner, do it right. Now, staying for the clip after the credits might be a bit much–she will most likely need to go to the bathroom. You may be able to get her to stay if you invite her girlfriend to come with her–they will talk until the end of the credits about Robert Downey, Jr., and then you can watch and save the scene for future reference, say, if she reads Ultimate Spider Man. (Making something a game or a contest — also something women like–saying, “Now, you think you can remember this scene?”)

Note: If she didn’t like Iron Man, you have your work cut out for you. Keep reading, we’ll have to discuss some other “gateway” movies in the comments. But really, every single woman I know who has seen Iron Man has loved it. It’s kind of amazing.

Her First Book.

This is important. If she likes a movie based on a comic book, she’s gonna obviously like an actual comic book…right? Well, not really. You have to be careful with this first time; if she hates it, she could very well just decide that comics are not right for her. So think about it and choose wisely.

If she likes the ideas of costume superheroes, you have quite a few options. Recommend (and buy) trades for titles that you like and are knowledgeable in (very important! She will have questions and she will be expecting you to answer them!). I started Whit off with the recent Avengers trades because it has male and female characters, there are relationships, and despite how lame most of us think The Sentry is, that particular story was really interesting and appealing to her.

If she looks through a costumed superhero book and thinks that it looks kind of silly, laugh, admit they do look silly (“Yeah, basically they are wearing their underwear on top of their clothing, I know,” works here) and suggest something like Runaways. Runaways is good because it is not a classic super hero tale–and the costumes do look weird and silly, at least in the beginning. As you will see, Runaways is a great book for many reasons.

Let me just offer a word of caution. As you know, girls like talking about relationships, so you may be tempted to buy her a book that is more overtly about relationships, like Strangers in Paradise or True Story, Swear to God. Now, this might work, but I have found that girls already have many sources of straight-up relationship stories: their friends, movies, Sex and the City, and magazine like Us (yup, really). If she reads a “relationship” comic, she will compare it to these other sources that she knows very well (and is already happy with) and the comic might not fare well by comparison.

Size Matters.
It’s true, and, in this case, smaller is better. I have found that girls tend to like to bring books with them, in their purse or pack. They also tend to be very hard on physical objects, so if you are care, at all, about the condition of the books she reads, buy her her own copy. Seriously. If you do so, you will not have arguments about her ruining your book. Additionally, if you don’t know by now, girls like it when you buy them little gifts. Again Runaways is good here. Small size, strong binding, easy to put in a purse, and there are several of them. Perfect, really. Yes, the Absolute DC: The New Frontier is awesome and we all should bow down to its glory. However, it is awesome precisely for all the reasons why it is bad to give to your girlfriend: It will not fit in her purse, it’s heavy, and when it’s ruined, you will be very sad. Regular trades are totally fine–they are basically magazines, so if you cannot find it smaller go with the regular size trades.

Oh, remember, too, that odds are she won’t care about being up to date with the current happenings universe, so, again, trades win. If you don’t believe me, get a regular comic you care nothing about and ask her to read while she’s in bed, before she goes to sleep. Seriously, do it. You’ll have spine-bending, cover-folding nightmares for a week.

Color Gooooood.

Girls like color. They like colorful clothes, they like colorful flowers, they like colorful walls–they just like color. Same with books. In my case, I have found that Whit is much more interested in reading books with lots of great color (All Star Superman is her favorite comic of all time), and, again Runaways wins out here. Now, yes, I know, there are lots of women out there who like moody black and white stuff and yes, they will like black and white books. But all I know is that Whit has four Runaways books trades and one Strangers in Paradise trade. Coincidence? I think not.

Story Wins.
You are not going to recommend her a lame book, so I won’t go too much into this, but believe me, women love great, imaginative, compelling stories just as much as we do (if not more). If you get her a book with awesome stories and engaging characters, she will be hooked. Do not test out “okay” or “just read a few and you’ll see” titles. Only provide her with the best books for the first 8-12 months.

Look, comics are a big part of your life and I have found that when couples that share the “big things” in their lives together, they tend to be happier together. Just be patient. Don’t buy all of the Runaways trades and pester her to read them. Don’t expect her to start debating the relative merits of Civil War and “One More Day” right away, if ever. Also, don’t expect her to want to read comics all the time. I know, it sounds crazy, but she might want to read other kinds of stories.

I mean, you know how she tries to get you to watch romantic comedies? It’s the same thing. She wants to watch a sappy movie with you not because she thinks the movies are fabulous pieces of cinematic art that you need to understand. It’s just something she likes to do with her girlfriends, or when she’s alone and feeling kinda blue, it’s just something that she likes and now she wants to watch them with you. So, be warned, you may end up watching a lot of Sex and the City episodes while getting her ready for The Long Halloween or Identity Crisis. So watch them with her. You don’t have to love 27 Dresses or whatever the movie is called. If she’s gonna read comics, then you gotta give a little.

And If she doesn‘t like comics, don’t press it (again, just buy her one book at a time) and don’t get upset if she doesn’t “get” it. She will think it’s cute that you are trying to get her into comics and she’ll tell all her friends about it and all her friends will think you are great and she’ll feel great about that and she’ll probably be game to trying a different book later on. So, just have fun with it. You tried, and that counts.

Finally, next time you go on a road trip, load a few iFanboy podcasts on your iPod and ask her if she wants to hear ’em. Believe it or not, I played a few for Whit and she got really into the concepts and stories the guys were talking about and asked all about the books being discussed. As you know, girls love talking, and if she hears a bunch of funny people talking about comics, it might get her interested.

Good luck! If you have other tips or questions, post them in the comments!


Mike Romo is an actor living in Los Angeles. Whitney, his wife, works for Jet Propulsion Lab, has a NASA email address, and is much cooler than he is.

Comments

  1. What a great article!  I’ve never cared about having a girl read any of my favorite comics until I got married about a year ago.  So much of what is talked about here was my strategy.  Until we lived in the same house, my wife (also named Whitney) didn’t know how much I read comics until we lived in the same house, so it was easy for me to go with the "this is something I enjoy and I’d love to share it with you" direction.  I’m sure that worked better than just a "i think you’d like this" plan.  In any case, she’s read a few, like Identity Crisis, the first few Fables trades and liked them, but as Mike said, she’s also interested in a bunch of other books and magazines, so I am being strategic and not overwhelming her with all 19 Ultimate Spider-Man trades.  The way I figure, we should be married the rest of our lives, so I will have plenty of time to turn her on to the choice stories.

    Also, the note about color holds true for my wife as well.  One time she asked me why all the art for all the spider-man comics was all the same, which led the way to me going over the basics of comic book art and allowed me to show her examples of my favorite artists and some I wasn’t so keen on.  Interestingly, she liked the older stuff like Kirby and Romita the best, yet didn’t like the look of the essentials beacuse they looked "boring."  Hmmm, come to think of it, those 19 trades of ultimate spider-man are pretty colorful…

    This was all before we saw Iron Man, which she wasn’t at all interested in, but still stood in line with me for 2 hours to see a sneak preview, and then loved it and told all her friends to go see it.  We didn’t see the Sam Jackson cameo at the end because, indeed, she had to go to the bathroom.

  2. I can only get my girlfriend to read non-superhero comics. Over the course of our relationship I have got to read Y: the Last Man, Blankets, Black Hole, and We3.  She has loved all of them but is still very selective about what she reads.  I think this summer she might read Preacher and Watchmen.

  3. As a girl who has been working on the same sort of conversion (getting my boyfriend into comics), I found that Preacher was as good a gateway drug for him as it was for me back in the day.  Also, it kind of surprised me how ravenously he devoured Strangers in Paradise next (despite frequent comments as he was getting into the later trades about how the story was beginning to stretch credulity). I would say Runaways, Young Avengers, and Ultimate Spider-Man are great picks for both sexes, and especially once you reach the end of USM’s first hardcover collection with the infamous "fat jokes" fight scene, you’re never going to stop reading that comic!

  4. I’ve tried and failed in this endeavor for more than 16 years. It might have had something to do with the the fact that the first thing I passed her was V for Vendetta. Cree-peey. But she did want to go see Iron Man and she enjoyed it. So that was interesting.

    Fun Home is possibly the only comic book she’s actually read from beginning to end. But I think ultimately the opportunity for her to make fun of me about my love of comics far outweighs any interest she might have in them. And I’ve learned to accept that.

  5. It’s important not to gloss over the idea that "she even knows you read comics."  Don’t hide  your interest in comics.  Whether you wear an iFanboy t-shirt, move a comic from the seat of your car or , if you’re really brave and your shop is clean, stop by a comic shop to pick something up on the way to somewhere else — find an excuse to let her know about your hobby.   If it freaks her out, she’s not for you.  If you give up comics so you can meet her expectations, we’ll accept you back when she inevitably dumps you.   The iFanbase is cool that way (although much headshaking will be involved.)

     

     

  6. In terms of introducing comics to a girlfriend who is skeptical of the medium, I cannot recommend Scott Pilgrim highly enough. The "X-Men movie to Joss Whedon hardcover" transition also has a high success rate in my home.

  7. And Persepolis. That one was a qualified success. I think anything that offers a gateway in, a path for discussion that’s not all about super-villains and "Clobberin’ Time!" not that there’s anything wrong with super-villains and super-slogans.

  8. Now we need an article on how to get a girlfriend and I’ll be set.

  9. How is it that I’ve seen the entire Sex and the City series, You’ve Got Mail, The Holiday, and Project Runway, yet my wife has yet to crack open the Anita Blake and Sword of Avalon comics* I’m still picking up for her? Unfair, I say – unfair!!

    *Quality aside, they’re by her favorite authors 

  10. Nice pull. -wink-

  11. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I have found that Fun Home is a good choice, and I think pretty recommendable for either gender.  

    Great, great column. Mike, please do more of these.  You’ve got a great handle on this topic.    

  12. I am currently having some luck with getting my wife interested with Fables.  She also read Superman: Secret Identity and really like it.

  13. When I saw it one of the millions of times with a few friends, one of the girls actually let out a "Awwww…" when he told Pepper he doesn’t have anyone else to trust with his arc reactor (metaphorical heart) and then made that face.  And she was HATING Stark before that point. So, yeah, Iron Man’s a good one.

    And for certain girls, I think Hellboy (specically Pancakes) is all good.  And that one JMS Spidey trade where he meets with MJ in the airport is a good one… just don’t tell her they’re split now via devil magic.

  14. @MeanOldPig and others.

    The Escapists hardcover is awesome! 19.99 for a small, portable well bound book with LOTS of color and a dabble of superheros, which are merely substainiate a larger character driven piece. There’s also a touch of romance without sap. Good comicbookings and a smash hit with the ladies.

  15. Great suggestions, guys–yeah, The Escapists trade is really quite good, I agree. I was really wracking my brains about movies last night before posting, I kept wanting to mention Spiderman 2, but MJ’s not…I dunno, she’s just not as interesting as she should be…it’s got a romantic ENDING, but…

     I blew it my not mentioning Persepolis–great catch.  I actually got that for my mom for the holidays, but I am not sure she read it. Of course, this was no an article about how to get your parents to read comics–not really sure how to do that one.

     The Joss Whedon angle cannot be emphasized enough. Buffy is a great gateway TV series, so the trades for that would be an natural fit (the Season 8 ones, at least).  I just don’t know the Buffy books all that well.  I have been trying to get the Astonishing X-Men trade for her, but I admit, I am waiting for the paperback version.  I agree, Scott Pilgrim is a great choice–especially for girls in their 20s who like alternative music.  

     great discussion–thanks for the encouraging feedback, too!

     

    -mike 

  16. I always appreciate when my fiance feins interest in comic books, but I’ve never really had much of an interest in getting her involved.  This is kind of "my thing" and it gives me something to do that doesn’t directly involve her.  While I’ve worn her down through video games (we play Wii together all the time and she can’t help but watch me play GTA IV), it’s nice sometimes to get some space for myself and read comics.  That’s what her quilting and scrapbooking are for. 

    I think that if someone wanted to involve a significant other in their hobby, you have laid out a great way to do it.  Keep up the good work Mike!

  17. …um…at the risk of going embarrassing myself…

    I think I am a woman.  I mean, I know that I am a man…believe me, I know – but based on Mike’s description of women – I might be a woman.

    Seriously – I think that story is key.  It’s the same with movies.  Many women, and me (apparently) can see through thin plot lines and get bored easily.  So looking at a story that has strong character development and some types of relationships is key.  Relationships don’t have to be lovey-dovey, they just need to be a relationship that she can understand and want to read about.

    In my wife’s case – ongoing stories = BIG FAT WASTE OF TIME!  Trades/graphic novels are key.  She wants to be able to read the story and not wait another four weeks for another.

    Just remember…especially those of you without significant others (because it can work for men, too) – your beloved will have their individual tastes.  It is important that you show them books – but make sure you know "sort of" what they might be into.  It will make the process so much easier.

  18. My wife is a bibliophile. A hardcore one. Always was, always will be. She knew that I loved comics from the get go and she respected that. But it was not until after 6 years of dating and 4 years of marriage that she approached me and asked for something to read from my collection. Basically, she reached a very rare moment where she had nothing to read. She always has something to read. Knowing her tastes quite well, I threw Moore and Gaiman at her right off the bat. Ever since that time, she has had more ‘moments’ where she is looking at my collection for stuff to read. Currently, she is a Fables junkie and she likes the quick reading that the 30 Days of Night universe provide.

  19. Nice article, Mike!

    I’ve actually had some success with various girlfriends reading comics (um, over a long span of time, not to sound like a player, :D), and I generally agree with everything you’ve said here.

    I completely agree that you have to first see if she’s into super-heroes. For my ex-wife, I knew she had a fascination with the old Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman TV shows. She just never thought comics were something she could read. Bingo — primed for comic book heroines!

    I’ve also found that what you say about story is equally true. We sometimes get very comfortable in the byzantine continuity of super-hero universes, and we take for granted certain storytelling points. Try getting someone else to read these…? And you’ll quickly realize where they fall short. For me, books like Sandman have worked wonders. 

    Even today’s Pick of the Week, Local, makes for some great reading with NO foreknowledge.

    Last thing? Read comics together. It might sound silly, but reading a comic book TO a girl…? Can be intimate and fun, and if she has questions, they come up organically as you’re reading together… makes for a much smoother transition to reading comics. 

     

     

  20. you missed a really great one

     Pedro and Me

    especially if she was watching real world back then

  21. Runaways has solved this problem for everyone.  Not only does it introduce her to comics, it also immediately gets her into super hero comics.  We no longer have to find a way to transition from Bone to The Ultimates.  Runaways, Runaways, Runaways!

    Then again, my girlfriend already wanted to read everything, so what do I know? 

  22. Also, when I get a new trade, my girlfriend and I like to pass it back and forth between issues so that neither of us gets too far ahead of the other and we can talk about it without spoilers.  It’s not as intimate as actually reading together, but it’s still a fun way to share comics.

  23. runaways is a great series to start girls with.  i’ve had all my sisters read it and my girlfriend.  it’s such a great series.  i find trying to get my girlfriend into ongoing comic series is pointless so i stick to suggesting stuff i’m sure she’ll like and original graphic novels.

  24. Speaking as a certified girl. . .whenever I hear this question, I wonder why the person wants ‘her’* to read comics in the first place. I can think of a range of good and bad reasons — from  "It’s important to develop common interests in a relationship" to "I want her to get my jokes" to "I want her to understand why I *had to* spend the vacation money on every single DC Absolute edition," to "I want her to cosplay Star Sapphire to my Green Lantern."  

    Maybe you really do think she’ll like comics — well, what makes you think that?  Women’s tastes aren’t monolithic, any more than men’s.  And the person who isn’t reading comics because she’s watching ‘Gossip Girl’ is different than the person who is too busy re-reading all the Russian classics for the third time.  These people might both like comics** but, chances are, you’ll need a different approach.  If your girlfriend rushes home to wach ‘Lost’ every week and spends hours on the Internet talking about it, she probably won’t be scared of something with heavy continuity or a large cast.  If she likes history, link her to an interesting article about comics in the 50s, then show her some Golden Age reprints to illustrate the point.  If she’s into graphic design, show her the books in your collection with the most interesting art.

    My suspicion, though, is that most fanpeople want their significant other to like comics less so because she’ll like it (though it’s nice if she does), but so they’ll be able to talk about them together.  It makes sense — you want your s.o. to be your friend, and maybe one of your favorite things to do with your friends since you were a kid has been to go through your haul on Wednesday afternoon and compare notes.   That’s a worthy goal, but if what you want comics-talk to strengthen the ‘friend’ part of your relationship, make sure it’s a discussion, not just a monologue. 

    By all means, tell her your opinion; but ask for hers, too.  She may not know continuity as well as you do; but maybe because the characters are new to her, she sees something about them that you never considered.  Go ahead and explain why Jack Kirby was important, but be ready to listen next time she wants to talk about why she loves Jane Austen.  Or Judith Krantz.  Or Bret Easton Ellis.  Tell her all about why Hawkeye was your hero when you were 12.  But do you know who her hero was when she was 12?  Have you asked?  It might  just be a good story.   And when you’re done — maybe you have a new comics fan, and maybe you don’t.  But you’ve had that conversation, and chances are good that’s what you were really looking for in the first place.

    Sorry this comment is endless, but as you can probably see, I relate a little.  Thanks for getting the discussion started. 

    *I appreciate the note that this discussion applies to either gender, but I’ve seen the question of ‘comics for girls’ or ‘how do I get my girlfriend to read comics?’ so often that it’s hard to read it as gender-neutral.

    **Or they might be the same person, in which case she’s awesome.

  25. Ah, Caroline. I was hoping you’d show up.  Very articulate post. Ancedotally, I find that the root of your post, namely that the conversation which can be begun through comics can become more important than  the comics themselves. rings true. I introduced "Buffy" to a friend of mine and she gave me a volume of Neruda, etc etc. Turns out she didn’t like Buffy, (while I loved Naruda) but that didn’t matter. We then just started exchanging books/music/movies. When I learned of her interesr in Victorian Lit, I steered her towards  to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and liked it well enough. The great thing about comics is that I think there’s really something for everyone.

  26. What I’d like is an article about how to find a girlfriend who reads comics.  Like how do you meet comic book reading girls?  They should have an internet dating site for that or a dating game thing at comic cons or something.

    I’d just like to meet a girl who has similar interests as me. It seems the only time I meet/date girls is when I do a play. Unfortunately, 90% of all actresses are crazy!

  27. My girlfriend is coming back from a semester in Argentina tomorrow and I decided that on her bus trip from Minneapolis to Chicago she should get aquainted with comics. I mailed her a package with Watchmen and the wonderful comic adaptation of Paul Auster’s City of Glass. The girl loves film and my strategy is to tell her that love of film and love of comics go together like beer and cheeseburgers.

     I really think the strategy is not to try and force what comics you would start with (for me, Transmetropolitan) and try to skew it towards her interests. My boo likes David Lynch and noir, so City of Glass is a wonderful jumping on point. She also loves to be pretentious so I told her comics were snob-chic… especially Watchmen. 

  28. @FluffiiNFluff "snob chic" – love it.

  29. Blankets was the first comic book that I got my fiance to read (back when she was my girlfriend). Since then she has only recently read Heroes Volume 1 (because we are currently watching season 1 on DVD). She has expressed interest of "what can we read together". So far I haven’t found much but she will read over my shoulder while we are lying in bed as I read my stack for the week or whatever current TPB I am working on. My experience with girls and comics is that it is hit or miss and not much in between.

  30. I just want to take this opportunity, for people who have come along recently and might have missed it – the relationship show we did last year.  It touches on many of these things:

    http://www.ifanboy.com/podcasts/video/iFanboy_-_Episode__23___Love_

    And if you like this kind of thing, maybe Mike will make this a regular subject and maybe we’ll do another video show about relationships and comics.

  31. @ohcaroline – you bring up very valid points. And I should point out that my reason for getting different girlfriends to read comics (in my previous comment) was to share common interests. However, there’s an important point that goes along with this:

    It’s not technically IMPORTANT to get your significant other to read comics, but you must also ask why aren’t they ALREADY reading comics.

    Comics are just a medium, after all. It would be pretty rare to see a column titled "How to Get Your Girlfriend to Watch Movies."  She may not share your tastes, but she undoubtedly already watches movies. After all, most people don’t assume that all movies are action movies, and they don’t write off movies altogether because they’ve decided they don’t like action movies.

    This is not true of comics (although this equation has changed rapidly over the past 10 years). There remains a huge MISCONCEPTION about comics, and it’s a misconception that’s often held by women (though it’s not gender-specific). The misconception is made up of two elements: 1) comics are all super-heroes and 2) super-heroes are for kids. Neither is exactly true, but because of this, they don’t see it as a medium, they see it as a genre.

    So for me, it’s not about trying to get someone else to accept me. There is an element of intimacy and shared interests, yes. But there’s also the point where I’m overcompensating to overcome a prejudice about one of my favorite mediums. After all, if she likes Veronica Mars or Chuck Palahniuck or Pan’s Labyrinth or David Lynch or soap operas… I PROBABLY know of a comic book that would match her interests, right? So why WOULDN’T I recommend it?

  32. I have a sad story.  My wife read comics every Wed. along with me then suddenly she lost interest even the ones she loved like Iron Man and Walking Dead.  I did get her to read 6 issues of my Invincible Ultimate Collection Vol 1 recently but she has not picked it up in many weeks.  Her reason for the sudden change was "I still like comics I just don’t feel like it right now…"  For me its not getting her into but back into comics.

  33. As much as I admire the intentions of this article, it honestly seems a little cliched.  Nearly every point you make feels stereotypical, and frankly, vaguely sexist.  While this is an isolated case, and surely doesn’t prove anything you say to be ineffectual, I turned a woman I was seeing on to comics last summer with the oversized Stray Bullets hardcovers.  They didn’t "fit in her purse" and they aren’t "colorful", but they’re just good comics.  She soon asked me for more David Lapham, and more down to earth stories.  From there it was a slippery slope into spandex-clad adventures.

    Turning a woman on to comics is just like turning anyone else on to comics.  It’s all about personality or, even moreso, curiosity.  By that I mean, the people that are open to comics will ask you about them, be they male or female, if they can see that you are a reader.  The current cultural climate has been bringing comics into the forefront of the minds of those who would normally stroll past a comic shop with a whimsical dismissal more and more each day (or rather, each time Marvel makes another movie).  Certain writers are treated like rockstars, and I don’t mean industry rockstars like Grant Morrison, but in the eyes of the general public.  Matt Fraction was the subject of an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer not too long ago, and he was treated as normally as a young, up-and-coming musician would be.

    My point is, if someone’s going to like comics, then they will.  If they just aren’t into it, then that’s it!  End of story.  One of my coworkers is one of the biggest Neil Gaiman fans I’ve ever met, but he’s only read his novels and seen the movies he’s worked on.  I lent him some Sandman trades that I felt he would really enjoy, but he just doesn’t like the medium.  I imagine it’s like seeing the paintings done by your favorite musician.  I enjoy Marilyn Manson, but I hate his paintings (and interestingly, vice versa in the case of Kurt Cobain).  Family members, significant others, friends, siblings, co-workers, etc.; if they really wanted to read comics, they would have by now.

    Also, as a side note, a lot of the methods mentioned in the article, and in the comments above, remind me of classwork.  If you really want to help a non-reader join the fold, don’t make it into work.  Make it fun and easy.  Leave books lying around where people tend to reach for something to read.  I can’t tell you how many people asked me questions about Mike Carey’s Lucifer after they read a few pages of my trades that i left in the crapper!  Also, sex sells.  D’uh.  Sexy comics can pull anyone in, and I’m not just talking about tits.  Sin City would still be one of the sexiest comics around without the nudity (but, admittedly, it helps). 

  34. My girlfriend (now wife) first started reading comics when I gave her the Invisibles then she got into superheros with Ultimate Spider-man. Now she reads pretty much my entire stack every week.

    The one thing that slightly annoys me is that she doesn’t have any opinion about any of them. She just reads them and moves on to the next issue. The best response I got was last week when she said that Kick-Ass #3 was "the best comic she had read for ages" – Nice!

  35. Comics my wife has been drawn to:

    Tezuka’s Dororo and Phoenix

    Bone

    Hellboy (this one was a surprise)

  36. @Sam Morgan– BEST comic in ages?  That’s f–ked up.

     Sorry, I had to go for the easy joke.

  37. I really love this thread —

    @DaveCArr – thanks for the nice words, and I love the story about Neruda.  I wouldn’t even have thought of ‘exchanging’ poetry for comics, but the fact that the exchange turns into something you wouldn’t think about is what makes it a fun game. 

    @dacampo – that’s a great point.  I was mostly responding to the specifics of the relationship aspect of the question, but it is basically a variation on how/why would you get any of your friends to read comics. One of the results of this thread is that I decided I really ought to get my sister a copy of ‘The Escapists’ for her birthday.  I’ve been wavering on this because she has never been a comics reader.  Not that she’s ever said she doesn’t like them, I just doubt she’s even picked one up.  But she’s a voracious reader, always looking for new books, and she’s read and loved everything by Michael Chabon.  So, really, somebody who will read and reread a 400-page bookabout fictional comics creators might conceivably be interested in a graphic novel spin on the same subject.  And if that takes, I might try Ultimate Spider-man.   

  38. I’m with Dave in that often I feel like I am trying to prove that this is something she (or really any of my friends) would like.  Dave’s right on with the distiction of medium vs. genre.  Knowing her tastes, if I know she’ll like a movie I’ve seen, I watch it with her.  What’s the difference between that and a comic story I know she will like?

  39. I actually had a copy of the "Strangers in Paradise" Treasury Edition laying around and the girlfriend looked at it while I was at work. She thought it looked cool, so when I finally got around to getting the first two books, she really loved ’em. I was very pleased. 

    She also loved Iron Man, which surprised me. Of course, she reminded me that she dug the Spider-Man movies as well and so might be interested in seeing Incredible Hulk this weekend, so I think I’m doing well. 

    As soon as the SiP trades run out, I’m thinkin’ Y: The Last Man, maybe.

     

  40. i have been introducing some comics to wife over the past couple years – she prefers non-superhero stuff.  1st read Y the last man, which she totally loved.  she didn’t really care for ex machina.  enjoyed persepolis and fun home.  we just read the alias trades which she liked as well.  I think i will try Runaways or strangers in paradise next – love this thread, if anyone has more book suggestions for me that would be great – thanks!

  41. great article!!!

    Runaways not only got my girlfriend reading comics, it also made my two sisters and my niece into comic readers ( that’s 4 girls who are now reading comics and 3 of them excited to be going to WW Chicago this year). Other books that helped keep them reading were: mary jane and spidey loves mary jane, the marvel fairy tales books, bone ( the new color edition), buffy season 8 ,etc.

    my girlfriend is the one that has full blown fallen in love with comics (she even bought her own copies of absolute kingdom come and new frontier) and is collecting single issues.

    my little sister and niece have taken over collecting my runaways and mary jane and bone from me.

    so if they have an open mind then i welcome the chance to show them a comic book that they will love.

     

  42. The Escapists is probably the most girl-friendly trade that comes tio mind for me. Also, if she’s into history and superheroes then The New Frontier probably is for her.

    Also, every girl I’ve been in a relationship with loves Buffy like I love Battlestar Galactica so I’ve been thinking of picking up the Season 8 trades to just have laying around. You know, as a conversation starter.  

  43. @SixGun  — As a caveat, though, a lot of Buffy fans hate the comics — either on principle, because of specific story points, or because they have trouble making the adjustment from real life-to-drawn. 

  44. this is very very informative and very helpful. with some good ideas and good references. this will come in handy sometime someday. thanks for the great article

  45. My girlfriend does read comics.  It’s been tough, but now she devours everything i put in front of her.  It’s pretty great.  Ultimate Spider-Man is the perfect gateway drug. Surprising enough, she fell in love with Y: The Last Man.  If you’re girl can stomach some of the violence and craziness in that book, then its perfect.  Yorick’s just so damn charming, gets the girls every time.  Almost every girl that I’m friends with I’ve given a comic at sometime.  They all love Yorick even if they didn’t like the book.

     She’s even reading Secret Invasion now.  I couldn’t believe it.  Yes, I have to act like a walking wiki article because of all her questions, but its still fun to watch her enjoy it. 

     Another great pic is Blankets.  ya know, a first love, discovering your sexuality type story with really indy looking art and a lot of soul. If you haven’t read it i suggest taking it for a spin before you hand it to your girl. 

  46. @Tork – I don’t think I’ll be telling my missus she is f–ked up! Though you are welcome to! 😉

    She particularly like the scene where Dave bottled out of jumping from rooftop to rooftop with – "Finally someone pointed out how dumb that sort of behavour is!"

  47. @anson17 — Huh, I think "Y" is a good book, but I really really disliked Yorick for about the first 20 issues.  Charming is not the word I would use.  He’s like the infuriating little brother who can’t get his act together.  But I suspect there will be a Y show soon, so I should probably leave that for later, except to say it’s hard to generalize.  But I can think of women I know who devour everything in the Vertigo line.

    Also, I keep meaning to mention ‘X-men: First Class’ in this thread.  Particularly the second volume, which really highlights the Silver Age marvel heroines.   

  48. @ ohcaroline.  Yeah I can get what you mean.  The first couple of arcs he is a bit frustrating.  I meant his character and not his direct actions in the story (if that makes any sense at all.) Oh, and there’s going to be a Y movie not a show as far as I know.  Apparently Vaughn is working on a script for it (along with his script for Runaways and Ex Machina which are all in some form of pre production at the moment.) My whole circle of friends (girls and non-girls) are excited but they’re all angry that Shia Lebouf is being looked at to play Yorick right now.  Ugh. Must he ruin everything I love?

    Surprisingly my girl is fascinated by all things Neil Gaiman.  You should see her eye my Absolute Sandman Vol. 1 every time she’s over.  Its a little scary.  

    That being said, one of the books i forgot to mention that hooked her was Marvel 1602, which I know not too many people seem to have read, but I loved it, particularly the characterization of Daredevil (blind, acrobatic, smart-ass bard.  Just brilliant) My girlfriend is a huuuuuge history nerd so it appealed to her in that sense and made her want to know more about the "real" versions of the characters.  She now knows the number 616 and what it means.  I couldn’t be more proud.   

  49. It is interesting to hear everyone’s ideas or stories on "How to get Her to Read Comics".  This topic is something that I really don’t have an idea on how to help people accomplish.  There is no sagely feminine advice here (thanks to ohcaroline for helping to take care of that).  I found comics on my own- I love to read and I love art, so it was just kind of natural for me.  I did not discover a liking for comics via a boyfriend’s guidance.  In fact, I vaguely remember an ex responding to my questions about them with a vague statement that they were for guys and not girls so I didn’t need to know.  Oddly, that was his response for a lot of things, and one of the reasons why we are not still together.

    I suppose that I could look at it from the viewpoint of trying to get my boyfriend into comics, but for some reason it seems like it would be easier.  With a nod to the equality issue, I know that is not really fair to think.  The truth is that until I encounter this situation I am not sure how I would get someone into comics, and what works for one person might not work for the other.

  50. @Anson  –Oops, to clarify, I meant a Y show on ifanboy, once Ron and Conor have read the last trade. 

    And Gaiman’s a really good one to mention, b/c he’s also well-known in fantasty/sf circles, and while there is still kind of a stigma about comics for many women, that certainly doesn’t apply to the prose versions of some of the same genres.  Goes back to the great point someone made above about genre vs. medium, and also my comment that a lot of women I know like Vertigo books, which are really closer to SF/F in genre than to superhero books.

    @CasuallyDrowned  I know what you mean.  The main thing I remember hearing about comics when I was a teenager was that I shouldn’t go to the shop myself or I’d be sexually harassed.  That was the early 90s and you’d think that image had changed, but I was told something similar just a couple years ago when I was looking for a store.  The funny thing is, nothing like that has every happened to me at a shop or at a con; I’ve encountered some shitty customer-service, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t gender specific.  But it’s unfortunate that the stereotype is still that pervasive.   

  51. @ohcaroline It is funny how something that is seemingly harmless, such as buying comics, can look so different depending on your point of view.

  52. hey guys!

    I apologize for taking so long to respond, I was dealing with WWDC all last week and while I was reading the comments, I didn’t have the time to provide a halfway thoughtful response. 

    So, first off, great advice here and what great recommendations!  @actualbutt, I am sorry you felt that my piece of was even vaguely sexist, that was obviously not my intention. I wrote the piece because I thought it would be an interesting discussion.  Many people who read comics want to share the comics they read, but for some reason, it seems that it’s harder to suggest a comic book than a regular book or movie or band. And I did make an attempt to mention that this is "challenge" exists regardless of what gender the "sharee" is.  But, really, typically, it’s the guy who wants to share the comics with the non-comic book fan girl, hence the title of the discussion. Also, without sounding too defensive, it was meant to be a tad tongue-in-cheek and humorous while at the same time being true–I stand by my statement that girls who are new to comics are going to be less resistant to small, colorful books that fit in their bag than black and white floppies that they have to fold up and fit in with the rest of their stuff.  Maybe not for every purse-touting gal, of course, but, I bet for most of them!

    Comic book fans have a desire to share the stories and characters they enjoy with their friends and family and I think ohcaroline really made a great point about thinking about the "why" behind that instinct. I am sure if iFanboy was a music podcast, we would get the same kinds of discussions going (How can I introduce my S.O. to <band>?).  I think, perhaps, the thing that differentiates comics from other mediums is the judgement and prejudices that people seem to have.  I was reading in a cafe and bumped into a (guy) friend and he made a crack about me needing to grow up after he saw the stack. People do have associations with comics that encouraging stereotyping and categorizing of the people who read and talk about comics a lot, and that stuff can get in the way of actually sitting down and enjoying a good book.  

    I have to chime in with daccampo and teddysetgo — reading together is a GREAT idea. Whit and I always read together when we go out for breakfast and it’s a lot of fun, especially when we’re reading the event comics together.

     And that’s really it, to be honest–we share comics, books, movies, music, restaurants with our S.O.’s because we want to share the aspects of our life that make us who we are, you know? Some things are easier to share than others, hence the article, but again, the thing that really strikes me about comic book fans is that we are always more than happy to make a suggestion to a someone new to comics, we are always excited to talk about the stories and the characters, and I think that exploration can be really fulfilling when done between two people that are forging a relationship together.

    Great discussion. Given the number of articles that are getting posted, I was worried that one was going to fade into the background just as it got interesting, but that was definitely not the case. I actually do have a few suggestions re: meeting a girl and ways of keeping a relationship strong and fun; I think I will post that in July if people are interested; I think it would be a pretty fun conversation to have!

     -mike 

     

     

     

  53. Am I the only single guy on iFanboy?

    Seriously. 

  54. Lot of married dudes here…

  55. jujoji – I know, it’s kinda scary. But, on the other hand, it does dispel the whole stereotype that comic book people never get girl/boyfriends, right?

     

  56. @mikeromo – This was just a fantastic article, and has sparked one of the most insightful bunch of comments I’ve seen on this site. Just reading everyone’s thoughts made me thankful to be part of such an intelligent, sincere and thoughtful community.

    I didn’t personally comment as, being a single dude, I had nothing to bring to the table (I once converted a former girlfriend into a Star Wars maniac, but I don’t think that counts). Just wanted to say how great the writing in this piece was. Good job, sir, and more like this please! 🙂

  57. I have to agree with ActualButt here. It’s horrible that half the population is just generalised and stereotyped in this article. Girls aren’t all about lipstick and chick-flicks and won’t automatically be inclined to be more into some fluffy cutesy comic than a violent horror comic. If someone looked at me and said "hey, you’re a girl so here is a nice comic about love and relationships" I’d think they were being pretty sexist.

    "Girls like color. They like colorful clothes, they like colorful flowers, they like colorful walls–they just like color." lol what? no i don’t. Also, I hate Sex And The City and I don’t own a purse or handbag.

    If you want advice on how to get your girlfriend into comics then try this: find out what she is into and then think of a comic that fits her interests. What are her favourite films, books, tv shows etc? My sister and best friend (female) are both vegetarians and big into animals so I’ve mentioned to them that they might like We3 and Pride of Baghdad. My sister is very feminine and girly – but I still think she would enjoy The Killing Joke for example. She probably wouldn’t be into V For Vendetta but I bet my best friend would be.

    Us girls have personalities you know and you can’t go round stereotyping us all like that. We aren’t all the same as your wife.

    Also, I really wouldn’t push the idea of your girlfriend reading comics too much. If I wasn’t into something and my boyfriend went and bought me a gift related to it, it could come across like he was trying to force aspects of his character on to me. If your girlfriend falls asleep at the mere mention of comics then just leave it. Chances are, if she is the slightest bit interested in what you are reading she will ask… you know, since we all love talking a lot apparently.

  58. My wife’s first comic was Walking Dead, and now she is a Rick Grimes fanatic.

    Next, she read all of Preacher.  Jesse Custer is on the top of her all time Top 5 Badasses list — yes, she keeps a list.

    Then Y the Last Man and The Boys.

    In other words, violence and maybe a bit of a love story in there (The Boys being the exception).

    My wife is awesome.