Getting Past the First Bite

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As soon as our kids were old enough to refuse the food we were giving them, we learned this lesson: getting past the first bite is the hardest part. Often, because both of my girls are possessed of my wife’s adventurous taste buds and not my more conservative tongue, once they’ve actually tried something they are likely to want more.

That is the way it is with me and new forms of entertainment, particularly serials. If you can get me past the first issue or episode and into the second, chances are you’ll hook me. But I enter into just about every TV show or comic book nowadays with prejudice: I am hoping, from the get-go, that it will let me down. I’m a busy guy, and I don’t have time for new things.

Such has been the case with two of the most recent serials I’ve tried to get into: the comic book series Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and AMC’s television adaptation of The Walking Dead.

The first issue of Saga came out in March 2012, right around the time I decided that I was done with comics (again). Cover prices were too steep, the stories weren’t grabbing me as much anymore, and the first issue of this book was long, filled with new characters and situations to contemplate, and, in my mind at the time, not worth the mental or financial investment.

Nearly a year later, after hearing Merlin Mann rave about it on podcast after podcast during my intolerable commutes, I decided to pick that first issue up again. Making things easier for me was the fact that it was free on Comixology, my comics e-reader of choice, meaning I didn’t have to dig out my physical copy. And, lo and behold, rolling the morsel of Saga #1 around on my tongue nearly a year after I first spat it out and said, “Not for me,” I decided that, like Sam-I-am’s friend before me, I liked it. I really, really liked it.

And I would read it in a boat. And I would read it with a goat. And I would read it in the rain. And in the dark. And on a train. And...

Oh, sorry. Got carried away.

Point is: this book is damn good. I’ve been catching up on its 8 issues at a clip of about one issue per day, but I sense that pace is about to pick up and I’m going to be left salivating at the end of it. I sense it’ll be like Lost for me, which I binged on for a month during the Season 3 winter break in order to catch up. I’m going to get caught up and then I’m going to be looking around for a flying DeLorean to help me get my fix.

This, of course, gets me wondering if I’ve given The Walking Dead a fair shake. I’ve watched its initial double-length episode one and a half times now, but never when my mind was entirely open to the idea of starting something new, like it is now. Maybe that’s the next thing I try. We’ll see.

All I know for sure is that, from now on, when I’m getting ready to try out something new, I’m going to imagine the faces of my children refusing bacon the first time. And I’m going to remember to follow my own damned advice and give that first bite a second chance.