Let’s talk origin stories. In comics, the classic origin stories are back-story. The mythos behind a hero — or villain. Who caused the wrong they need to right? How did they get their powers or their awesome crime-fighting technology? Where did they get their cape, and does it need to be dry-cleaned?
But what about the reader? How did they get started on their journey to read? Questions over what made a reader pick up their first book, and what attracts them to what they’re reading now inspired me to go out and ask.
I was lucky enough to have Reid Cain, owner Dr. Cain’s Comics and Games in San Luis Obispo let me sit in for a couple of hours and interview some of his customers. Click on any picture to start the slideshow.
Owner of Dr. Cain’s Comics and Games, Reid Cain sits at the front of his shop. Cain makes an effort to make customers feel welcome, and often provides recommendations based on what they’ve read before, or what they may be looking to read. Photos by Michelle Zaludek.
Kevin Rivas reaches for a book in Dr. Cain’s Comics and Games.
Breanna Castillo first got into comics after watching comic-based cartoons. She’s currently reading the New 52 run of “Harley Quinn” and “Bee and Puppycat” amongst others. “I just really like [Harley Quinn’s] attitude. She really sassy,” Castillo said.
Jason Eatmon was introduced to comics by a friend. “It used to be that I just followed X-Men,” Eatmon said, “then I grew up a little.” “I love the story,” Eatmon said in regards to what draws him to a new book.
Mike Todd said his parents would bring him comics when he was younger and he was mostly drawn in by the art. “After that, [my family would] go to swap meets and there was a guy who would help me find stuff,” Todd said. Todd is currently reading runs of Deadpool, Transmetropolitan and Spiderman, amongst others.
Josh Oney started comics with Adventure Time. “I think then I ended up reading Deadpool,” said Oney. Oney attributed the art and the genre to what draws him to a book.
“My first book was ‘[Batman: The] Dark Knight Returns’ by Frank Miller,” Mark Smith said. Smith said he’s generally drawn to writers and particular characters when shopping. “If I like a writer’s work in one thing, I’ll probably pick up their other [comics],” Smith said.
Daniel Griffith has been reading comics “since around 07 to 08. Around when the Spiderman movies were coming out.” Griffith is currently reading runs of Avengers, Batman, Spiderman and X-men amongst others. “It’s a cascading effect,” Griffith said.
Kevin Clark read comics as a kid, but got back into them about three years ago because of his son. “I like a lot of the old-school characters,” Clark said. “And the illustrating.”
“I started off with ‘Amazing Spiderman,'” said Kevin Rivas. Comics have become a social experience between Rivas and a friend, who recommend books to each other.
A final look at Dr. Cain’s Comics and Games.