Hello there and welcome to New to Comics.
My name is Stéphane Emrys Moungabio; film-fan and avid comic-book reader. I was born in London, before moving to North Wales at the age of eleven to start secondary school near my mother’s home town. When I was eighteen, I started a degree in American Studies at the University of Leicester. It lead nowhere, but we all make mistakes, right?
Fortunately, it was while I was there that I realised I had an interest in writing. Primarily I focused on the topic of film, but my interest in comic-books kept poking through. I went on to do a Masters degree in Professional Writing in Cornwall, which is where New to Comics was born – but we’ll come back to that later.
Alongside this here site, I also have my own blog Moungabio Movie Talk, which, although not as much as a focus for me as this site, is a good place to find the occasional film review or keep track of what I’m writing elsewhere.
Because on top of these two sites, I also volunteer as a contributor for VultureHound, where I also act as a subeditor for the film section. More recently, I also started contributing to a second site, Cultured Vultures, hoping to hone my skills writing film features.
If you like what you see on this or any of those other sites, have some suggestions or just want to talk about film or comic-books, feel free to contact me on Twitter or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
About New to Comics
But enough about me, what’s this site, you ask?
Well, New to Comics is intended to be a gateway for people who want to get into comic-books but don’t know where to start. Each week, I’ll look at a different character or theme, such as Watchmen, Thor, Superman or Wonder Woman – picking out a story that’s regarded as essential reading or a good starting point and break it down. I’ll give some background information, lay out the basics of the plot, and give my verdict on what it’s strengths and weaknesses are and whether or not it’s worth reading.
But I want to really hammer down on that ‘gateway’ aspect, because although reviews (or ‘breakdowns’ as we call them here) are all well and good, that isn’t necessarily helpful in light of the fact that with such a wealth of material at your disposal, just jumping in might seem a bit scary. So on top of the breakdowns, I’ll also be writing little bios on the character of the week, and keeping an updated ‘New to Comics Dictionary’ that will explain any terms or information that may be relevant to fully understanding the stories we look at.
Of course, that doesn’t mean this site is exclusively for people who are new to comics. Long-time fans are very much welcome, and I always relish the opportunity to discuss each book with others who are also passionate about this medium.
The Fantastical History of New to Comics!
You may have noticed that, despite me saying this site was born while doing my MA that this is the first post. Or you may have thought nothing of it, as I actually am yet to point out that, at the time of writing, it’s been over a year since I left university – hey, wait a minute…
Oops. Looks like my ineptitude has been outed, so with that, it looks likes the perfect time to delve into the (not so) dramatic history of New to Comics! It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, I’m sure:
THE GOLDEN AGE – Way back during my degree, for some module of which I forget the title, we had to create some sort of blog to put ourselves out there, as the ‘Professional Writing’ degree was equal parts honing our craft and learning to sell ourselves in a totally legal and decent way (which is a shame really, because the opposite way would probably have made us more money).
I figured, what with my liking comic-books and all, that a comic-book review site might be the way to go. And thus, BLack nERD REVIEWS was born. Seriously, that was the title. Blerd Reviews. As I said, we all make mistakes. I even designed a logo and everything. The site reviewed comic books every week, and had those handy character profiles I mentioned earlier. It got the job done and I passed the module.
THE SILVER AGE – It was that very same year that our tutors started pushing us to start mulling over possibilities for our final project. And thus, BLack nERD REVIEWS WAS REBORN! Albeit, with a different title: New to Comics. And this time, I went ahead and bought the domain name because I was just that confident in it. Content on the site increased, and I even dabbled in film reviews. But just continuing to make a site that I had already made obviously was not enough for a final project. So things got physical.
As in, I decided to turn New to Comics into a magazine. Calm that dirty mind, you.
Of course, I didn’t actually have to start my own magazine business to get my degree, but I did have to put together a comprehensive, eighty-page (I think, it’s around here somewhere) business plan, complete with charts, samples, advertising opportunities and printing costs. It was alright, to be honest.
Especially considering I knew nothing of business prior to that project. And, even better, it got me a distinction.
I know, I’m proud of me too. It’s one of my very few memorable achievements.
Unfortunately, having done all that work, I decided I wanted a break, and thus New to Comics was laid to rest.
THE BRONZE AGE – But never fear, there is yet another step in this thrilling tale before we make it to the present day.
About a third of a year had passed, and I had returned to Wales. My friends were mostly off living their lives wherever they had settled after university, my girlfriend was still finishing her degree in Cornwall, and I had graduated to become… a cleaner.
I won’t lie to you, I was pretty bloody miserable.
So I once again took refuge in comic-books. I brought the site back for the second time. I’d wake up in the early hours of the morning, go to work, be back also relatively early – miserable from all the urinals I’d scrubbed and poopy toilets I’d have to unblock and do some reading and writing.
This ‘Bronze Age’ didn’t last very long though. On account of the fact that, getting a Masters Degree and moving on to be a cleaner when the majority of your friends seem to be having relative success doesn’t do wonders for your self-esteem. And without self-esteem, I found my motivation lacking. And so, for the second (third?) time, New to Comics died. And this time, I took it offline completely.
THE MODERN AGE – But of course, that wasn’t the end. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this. I’m not a cleaner anymore. In fact, I’m on my second job since I quit being a cleaner. I worked in a second-hand DVD store for a bit, before moving in with my girlfriend and starting work at a cinema.
With enough hours to just about sustain my life and keep my bank account afloat (well, relatively, I haven’t been in positive figures in years) but enough free time to try and focus on writing, I made it my goal to bring back New to Comics, and bring it back properly. I planned, I purchased, and after recently turning 24, I committed.
So here we are. I’m giving it another shot. If it doesn’t work this time, then I should probably just put it down for good. But I want it to work, and so I hope you’ll join me in this, the latest adventure in the New to Comics saga.
Oh, one final thing.
Around the ‘Bronze Age’, I became a little overzealous and signed myself up as an Amazon Affiliate. I do most of my comic-shopping on Amazon after all, and thought it might be a useful way of monetizing the site.
I feel like my outlook on life is a pretty rational one, however, so I don’t expect you to give me anything. However, as I have already signed up, and if you think you would like to help the site out in any way, then the option is here. And also, I have to put this part in for legal purposes:
‘Stéphane Emrys Moungabio is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.’
It doesn’t cost you anything; how it works is, if you buy something via a link I present, then whatever you buy will cost the exact same amount as normal, except Amazon will give me a slight percentage in advertising fees, which I will, in turn, spend on more comics to keep the site going. So if you like what’s going on here, and you’re feeling generous, then I thank you in advance, both for helping me, and hopefully, for helping give New to Comics the thriving life it deserves.
Thanks for stopping by!