You wanna talk about a gateway comic? Something that's tailor-made to appeal to new, young readers who may have never picked up a comic before (or an American comic)? Here's your gateway comic:
a Artist and storyteller already popular with teens and young adults? Check.
a User-friendly introduction of Captain Marvel without the baggage of complicated DC Universe continuity? Check.
a Finite story that will eventually be complete and not strung out over endless months to be occasionally derailed by changing creators and intrusive crossovers? Check.
a Scary, funny, high-adventure story? Check.
a Saga of a young orphan boy instituted into a wondrous world of magic, wizards, super powers, villains, and danger? Hmmm, that kinda sounds familiar, don't it? Check.
I therefore issue this challenge to every member of the comics blogosphere, blog writers and readers, to do this: if you liked Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil, pick up one extra copy this week or next and give it to a kid you know who likes Harry Potter, Eregon, A Series of Unfortunate Events, manga or just plain loves reading. Promise them that if they like it, you'll buy them every issue. And ask them to read it and tell you what they think. Do they want to read the next issue? And if they do, you have gotten them interested in comics. And, although it's a baby step to a massive world, superhero comics.
I'm giving this immediately to my 13-going-on-14 year-old niece Sara. Sara loves...make that adores...Harry Potter, Bone, Castle Waiting, the Batman animated series and the movie Batman Begins, but I'm pretty sure she's never read a superhero comic in her life. This one will probably be her first. And I can't imagine she won't love it, and I can't imagine she won't want to read the rest.
Make this happen, folks. Get the next generation interested in the medium that is our passion. Reward good comics by exposing them to appreciative new readers. Reward good readers by exposing them to great comics.
And if you do, tell me about it here. I'd love to hear the stories and pass them onto other readers. Despite what I said at the end of last night's review, it's not Judd Winick who we need reading this comic: it's the kids in your life.