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Welcome to the official website of Jacks Of Trades. Jacks Of Trades is a podcast that reads, reviews, and rates graphic novels and trade paperbacks from major and indie publishers. We're not experts. We just Love Hanging out and talking comics.

Producing Unknown Subject Matter

Producing Unknown Subject Matter

Producing Unknown Subject Matter
How I Learned to Stop Being Confused and Read Comics

About 10 weeks ago, Mike brought it to my attention that Amazon/Kindle was selling digital copies of comics for stupid low prices. We are talking full books/trades for as low as $2.99 that only just came out in the past few years. I did not know a lot about industry-standard pricing, but that seemed really low. About $20.00 later I had bought virtually all of what came as “high recommendations” from Mike – books that either were great starting points or did not require much previous knowledge to be appreciated. When the dust settled, I was left with the following:

  • Thor: God of Thunder. Vol. 1 (God Butcher) and Vol. 2 (God Bomb)

  • Hawkeye. Vol. 1 (My Life as a Weapon)

  • Iron Fist: The Living Weapon. Vol. 1 (Rage) and Vol. 2 (Redemption)

  • Civil War. Miller's 2007 epic. 

Up to this point I had read probably 10-15 issues of comics in my life. I can literally list every single one I've ever read (mostly because the majority were in the past 6 months). I was finding some cool ideas, unique storytelling, and even a little appreciation for the art form, but comics and graphic novels simply hadn't grabbed hold of me yet in the same way movies, books, podcasts, etc. had so far. That all changed very quickly as I tore through these books while traveling in July.

First I read Hawkeye. Hawkeye was beautiful. The artwork was stripped down, the character was engaging and personal, and the story was gripping yet pensive. One thing I loved when I could tell I was missing some gaps, they really didn't detract from the story. I soon found myself using terms like “engaging” and “gripping” to describe the story, and a new found interest in the lore and backstory that lay beneath the surface. Prior to this book I had experienced little emotion during my forays into comics. Hawkeye really did ignite something for me.

Thor: God of Thunder .  Image Source

Thor: God of Thunder. Image Source

Next came the God of Thunder himself. Thor was a true page-turner. The artwork exploded off the page. The detail, the way they worked with shadow and light, the pain and despair of The God Butcher, the development of the various Thors...the list goes on. Thor is by far the moment I realized, “Wow. I really like comics as of now.” I could not get enough. I was reading it between meals, on the bus, before bed, you name it. The scale was so epic (yes, it is a played out term, but come on, it is so applicable). I felt I was in the presence of gods in it – you really feel the scale, power, and awe throughout the work.

Iron Fist. Image Source

Iron Fist was one I kept putting off. The TV show was boring/borderline offensive (I quit halfway through the season), I basically had never heard of him outside of one Deadpool book I did on Jacks of Trades (and even then it is not like I got much character development there), and the concept simply did not get my attention. I was so, so wrong. Iron Fist was absolutely brutal. Nothing was off limits, the rage and pain of the protagonist was palpable, the story was insane yet constantly justified...again, the list goes on. What I loved in particular about Iron Fist was I got my first real lesson in, “It's only too weird if they can't piece it together bythe end.”

I'll round out with a few words on Civil War. It had gravitas and the art work was awesome. It was fun to jump into such an iconic work that's been adapted into a film (though there are obviously huge differences between this 7 issue book and the movie). It was a great way to round out what I read. I was missing lots of context, I did not know all the characters, I did not know all the politics, but my experience with the other books primed me to get past that and see what I could get out of it rather than avoiding it because it was “too overwhelming.” If I had started with it I doubt I could have just plowed through it. After the previous three books I just could not put it down

So there you have it. Some insight into a cool experience I had: Breaking into comics. Maybe you will find it useful, maybe you will not, but I thought it was worth sharing. I wanted to step up my game to be a more productive producer for Jacks of Trades and found a new, fantastic medium that I can not wait to continue exploring. I encourage you to read these 4 books, no matter how new you are, and thanks for reading (and listening!) this blog post!


Why do some Comics have 10 Different Covers?

Why do some Comics have 10 Different Covers?