A First Comic Book Experience With Coda

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It has come to my attention that there is a huge comic book fan base among my fellow contributors, which made me want to have my first comic book experience. I found it intriguing and took it upon myself to check out a local comic book store to see if I may find something interesting.

However, before sharing my first comic book experience, I must also share my first visit to a comic shop. I wanted to purchase my first comic book at an actual physical comic shop, not online or at a chain. Doing this certainly added to the experience, especially since I had no clue what I was doing let alone what I wanted to read.

Where The Adventure Began…

I decided on Metropolis Comics in Bellflower, California, a store I’ve had bookmarked on Yelp for quite a while now. It was a scorching summer Friday in Southern California. While walking along the sidewalk on my way to the store, I thought,

“Why did I do this in the middle of the afternoon, right when the heat is at its peak?”

After a five-minute walk from my car, I made it to the store, sweating profusely upon entering.

Not knowing what to do, I walked around the store, looking very clueless. Their surveillance cameras must have caught the lost look with a hint of awe on my face. I approached the employee present with an intention of asking for a recommendation. Instead, I confessed and told him I’m completely new to comic books. He kindly helped me and asked what I usually like to read, to which I replied fantasy.

He first recommended Saga and Sandman, both series I have heard great things about. I asked if he could show me an underdog series, something not as popular. He excitedly introduced me to Coda by Simon Spurrier and Matías Bergara. He described it as a combination of Mad Max and The Lord of the Rings, and that sold me.

Coda #1 & #2

Coda undoubtedly embraces elements of fantasy most readers may expect. You’ve got your magic, Ylfs, green potions, even a not-your-average cute unicorn, and much more. It centers around a man called Hum and his journey traveling on a wasteland seeking a way to save his wife, Serka.

Yes, the main character’s name is an onomatopoeia. Moreover, the story reads like a letter to Serka but also seems to send a message to the readers. At some parts, I felt like the letter was directed to me as opposed to Serka, and even comments on society.

In the first issue, readers are introduced to the world and the heroic but pretty chill protagonist. Hum is yearning to be reunited with Serka,  desperate to find a way to rescue her in a post-magic wasteland. He’s willing to do anything no matter the consequence of the action, which leads to the plot of the second issue.

Where he seemed heroic in the first issue, he becomes trapped and a bit vulnerable in the second. It was quite a turn in the story, which made it more interesting, further intensifying the complexity of the plot and characters. The sarcasm is very apparent, which is usually difficult to detect through text. Though, the combination of text and illustration easily portrays the occasional sarcastic tone in the story.

My First Comic Book Experience

Since this is my first comic book, I didn’t know whether I should be wearing gloves while reading to prevent damaging the book. I didn’t know whether to put them back in the plastic packaging they came in and I was even hesitant to rip open the tape sealing the packaging.

There were parts of the comic book that I wanted to take out and frame. I thought they would be nice to look at every once in a while. I have a feeling I would be reminded of this story if I were ever to solo travel. Perhaps because despite it being a fantasy world, it still touches upon reality through what Hum writes to Serka, as if the story is reality disguised in fantasy. It takes readers on an adventure and, come on, aren’t the best parts of life the adventures we experience?

During checkout, the friendly staff member raved about the artwork in Coda. After reading them, I must say the praise was well-deserved. The artwork in any work of literature does not receive enough recognition. Furthermore, the details in the artwork are what fascinated me the most.

The ones paying tribute to descriptions of actions, as well as illustrations of various creatures introduced, were mesmerizing. It complimented the story beautifully. Every now and then, I found myself observing the details of a page a little longer before turning the page.

Will I Read More Comic Books?

Yes! Coda is just the beginning of my comic book journey and I have no plans of discontinuing this new adventure I’ve begun. I’m excited to discover more stories presented in this medium. Coda is a not just a combination of two popular worlds of fantasy. It is a combination of everything fans of fantasy admire about the genre.

There are numerous parts of the story that reminded me of my favorite movie scenes or my favorite books. It captivated my attention instantly and I was easily engrossed in the world Spurrier and Bergara built. Please do check it out if you’re looking for something new to read.

I look forward to reading more issues to see where Hum’s journey leads him if that’s even his real name.

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Creature Feature: Rick Baker, The Monster Maker
Creature Feature: Rick Baker, The Monster Maker