I had planned to write about my first comic—Classic X-Men #3 with that gorgeous picture of Storm, surrounded by what seemed like millions of exciting new heroes for my young, ten-year-old self to discover. But I’ve talked about my love for Storm before, and I’ve gone on and on about Classic X-Men enough. The fact that my brother started me down the road to comics is old news.
But the recent revelation that many people, some comfortably into adulthood, have ventured into the world of comic books for the first time thanks to Shuri #1—now that’s something to talk about.
Today, I bought my first comic book ever. MCU brought me in, @Nnedi encouraged me to stay. (Also made sure the store would be getting @eveewing's Ironheart. So that'll be #2) pic.twitter.com/KJQcqLR5eP
— 🩸🦷 Shannon Skoglund (@sairen42) October 19, 2018
Pouncing on Skoglund’s exchange with people who had made a similar first purchase, I got in touch with Shannon Skoglund, who graciously agreed to answer a few questions about this experience.
What was it that drew you to this particular comic?
I knew the author Nnedi Okorafor from her novels and novellas. I particularly like her Binti trilogy. And I knew Shuri from the Black Panther movie, and liked the super-smart princess. So when I saw that Okorafor would be writing that character, I couldn’t resist. I bought the comic because I wanted to support the future of awesome women writing comics about awesome women.
Where did you purchase Shuri #1?
I bought it from a local comic book store that was recommended to me by a friend. He mentioned a couple, and this one was just a few miles from my office.
What kept you from buying comics before?
It always seemed really complicated—knowing the issue number or story arc, plus staying up on when they were released. I just didn’t know even how to go about getting them or how to be sure I’d get the right thing. I’d read comics, but only the collected issues that were on the shelf of the library. I also wasn’t sure how welcome I’d be at a comic book store, as a woman and a novice, but that ended up being a total non-issue (no pun intended).
What did you think about this particular comic? Do you plan to continue reading the story? Why or why not?
I liked the story. For me, I’m not coming in with a lot of predefined ideas about who Shuri is or how her story should go. I know the movie, and I read Roxane Gay’s World of Wakanda, but that’s it. So I feel like I’m just along for the ride, wherever Nnedi wants to take us.
As far as the reading experience, I definitely wanted a lot more, though. I guess that’s the big difference between buying a single issue versus getting a collection of 4-6 issues at once. Being more used to reading novels, it’s much less satisfying to read the serialized stories. I’ll keep reading, but I might wait for more to come out and not try to keep up every month. I’m excited to buy Eve Ewing’s Ironheart, when it comes out, for my second comic book.
The influx of superheroes movies and other comic-based characters making it to both the big and little screen has opened up a door that Marvel is working to take advantage of by bringing in popular contemporary authors, but, while Skoglund’s interest and desire to continue reading makes my comic collecting heart swell, the problems with some aspects of the industry’s current marketing model remain glaringly obvious. Hopefully, more people will brave the somewhat confusing waters and discover a whole new world of literature.