- Word of Mouth - If you have buddies that read comic books, then ask them! My friend that reads comic books will send something my way that I must check out and more often than not a good friends recommendation can help you make a good purchase.
- Reviews - Most comic book sites (including this one) produce reviews of new and upcoming comic books. Taking a look at these is a great way to see if the comic is right for you. Check out our comic book reviews section on the About.com site.
- Sellouts - I have big misgivings when a publisher announces that their comic book sold out at Diamond Comics (the biggest distributor of comic books in the USA). But when a publisher announces their second, third, or fourth printing of a comic book, you know there is something there. That many print runs means the comic book is selling like hotcakes and could easily deserve some attention.
- Eisner Awards - Each year at Comic-Con International, they host the Oscars of comic books, the Eisners. Named after the father of the graphic novel Will Eisner, a panel of judges goes through stacks of comic books to find worthy candidates for book of the year, best short story, best writer, etc. These lists of "best of" are a great place to start when you are looking for new reading material. The comics will probably be a bit older, but that could be a good thing as you might be able to score them on the cheap. The downside is that if it is really popular, it might be sold out and hard to find.
- Same Author/Illustrator - When I was a kid, if I read a book and enjoyed it, I hunted down everything the author wrote and read that too. If they wrote one good book, chances are the others are good to right? Same thing can apply to comic books, especially with the writers. If you enjoy one of their runs, you certainly might enjoy another. The great thing is that many writers jump from publisher to publisher or character to character and write vastly different storylines so things should stay pretty fresh.
- Store Recommendations - You may need to be a bit careful as the store's job is to sell you comic books, but they often have employee's post their picks. Again, if they have similar reading tastes to you, then these are a great way to check out new stuff.
The biggest issue here is that if you are waiting on others to tell you about cool comic books then some of these comic books will have jumped off the shelves before you can get to them. If getting that first printing is an issue, you may run into the problem of having to pay top dollar for that mag. 30 Days of Night and Mouse Guard were comics like this that blew up rather quickly and left readers waiting on second printings to get into the story.
At any rate, get out there and find some new comic books to whet your appetite and keep reading.