BDcomics is a little blog I ran across today. I've had an interest in comic books the past couple of years, but could never bring myself to purchase the things :) However, someone pointed me to a little program called CDislplay which allows one to view scanned comic books. This girl also e-mailed me a couple of comic books that I could download, however she didn't offer me a good source of other books. A quick search lead me to BDcomics.
Granted, if you are geeky enough to figure out how to get everything working, well, you are probably geek enough to walk into a comic book store. However, if you are like me, and you just don't know where to start, and you don't want to throw away a lot of money learning, this combination is a solid start.
I am of the opinion that religious teachings are great if they are understood as myth. And I think comic books are more like the religious teachings of old. Comics have characters that are entertaining, and they are presented in a way that is relevant to our times. I think anyone willing to invest 10 minutes of thought will see the similarities. I'm also of the opinion that movies, music, and traditional books also serve the same purpose as those "holy books". But the comic books somehow are just more interesting.
Colossians 2:8 be damned :) It states, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." This old book just enforced traditions of the time, ignorantly assumed a limited world view, and introduced its own hollow and deceptive philosophy.
The biggest barrier I see in the world of comics is that there is such a huge gap between the geek and non-geek. I get the feeling when browsing comic forums that I am just too out of touch to even begin communicating with other readers of comics. But, now that I can read a few comics first, I have some degree of common ground to begin a chat for more meaningful conversation. Be forwarned, a couple of the comics that I've read may NOT be meant for little kids. Batman's "Killing Joke" comes to mind which has a rape (but let's be honest, the holy books of Islam, Christianity and Judaism all have there share of reality).
So, if you are ready to get yourself some reading material (and you are using Windows*):
Step 1 - download CDislplay. At present I don't know the first thing about the program, but I've read four comic books without knowing anything, so it's not a problem.
Step 2 - browse BDcomics and download some comics. This is the tricky part. None of the books are hosted at the site. Instead you get sent to a free host filled with ads. If you manage to hop through the hoops, it's worth the effort.
Step 3 - many of the comics are actually a collection of comic that first must be extracted. This gets really confusing. The files found at BDcomics often are rar files which first must be extracted, then you will find the cbr files inside. So, you will need a program to inspect the files downloaded to see what you got, and there may be some trial and error (some rar files merely need to be renamed with a cbr extention). Visit download.com and grab a free little utility to open rar files if your current computer setup lacks the ability (which is quite common on Windows XP). I am using ExtractNow to view the rar files. Lost yet?
Step 4 - if you have installed CDislplay and managed to get a cbr file or two from BDcomics, all you need to do is double click the cbr file to open the "comic book", and use your keyboards arrow keys and "Page Down" key to scroll through the pages.
If you manage to fight through all that, it's worth the time and effort, and you will be a smarter computer user if this all sounds foreign to you. I'd host the files myself in an easier to use format, but I fear this is all copyright violations :P So, maybe stopping at the local comic book shop and talking to the neighborhood geek may be easier :) But there are other options. If my above directions sound too damn hard, start visiting the pages linked above, do some reading, and walk through the process. Maybe run a quick search using some of the keywords on this page, and you will find a hidden gem or two that I have missed.
*If you don't have a Windows based computer, there are other programs to view these books. I personally do prefer a Macintosh these days. And I used Linux exclusively for the second half of the 90's. So, I can relate. A quick search will give you a few options.