Meet Your Host: Alliance JohnAA lifelong comics fan (save for that brief, shameful "too cool for comics" period in high school – thank you Rolling Stone for running the feature on Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns which brought me to my senses), I've done a stint managing a comic store (Big Planet Comics in northern VA, for which I've continued moonlighting for over ten years now), and have conducted interviews with noted comics creators Eddie Campbell, Bryan Talbot and Craig Thompson (all for Mars Import).

Purely as a fan, I've traveled to comic conventions in seven states over the years, including an unbroken attendance streak at the mighty SPX in (or near, depending on the year) Bethesda, MD. What have I learned during all of this? Well, first and foremost, that comics people are good people. Seriously, pretty much across the board –from creators to fans to retailers to distributors, and everywhere in between– it's practically a truism. There's just something about the magic of the artform that attracts good folks. I've met some of my very best friends through a common love of comics, and I expect the same is true of many of you as well ... and that alone speaks volumes.

Somewhere along the way –roughly coinciding with the rise of trade paperback (TP) collections– I stopped collecting comics, and became entirely a reader/evangelist. I still read dozens of comics every month, but I wait for the TPs to add them to my bookshelf. Old collector habits die hard, after all, and where I used to be hesitant to loan friends actual comics, I have no such compunctions with loaning TPs ...and I've found that non-comics readers also tend to respond more positively to the familiar look and feel of a book than to an actual comic.

As you'll see, we've got our own thoughts as to what's the best way to bring in new readers to comics (and the best books to hook 'em with), but we'd love to know what you think, so by all means, use the comments and let your voice be heard.