Aug 16 2012
These days I’m finding it harder and harder to find new shows, movies and games to watch. I’ve been working my way through the “classics” of each genre, and though I know more are out there to discover, they’re getting harder and harder to find.
That’s why I’m considering dipping into something I never got into growing up, comics. The vast majority of the time, they were deemed to violent for me to read, so I’ve missed pretty much every major storyline in comic book history. That’s a problem considering what I do for a living.
I recently was chatting with our own Ugo Strange, and asked him for a recommended reads list for comics if I was trying to play catch-up. The resulting document was far more than I asked for, and I figured it might be good to share for anyone else out there looking to do something similar. His recs are almost all DC I believe, but if someone out there has a Marvel (or other studio) counterpoint, I’m all ears for those as well. Check his list out below, see if you agree, and pick a few of these up and we can all read together. First up for me? Crisis on Infinite Earths as that seems to be a rather major one.
Thanks to Wikipedia people don’t have to be as clueless as they are about comics and a small touch of research will help you greatly as you explore the world. There is A LOT I could go on and on about but first things first and that’s the basics. Also, I can only recommend titles I’ve read myself, so there are certain teams I follow more so than others, and I only recommend buying trade paperbacks since I can never remember the numbers of individual issues and since comicbooks are sequential stories, trade paperbacks are your best bet let’s dive in.
I started with “Crisis On Infinite Earths”, but for someone just now coming in that would be a little intimidating, because it gives you A LOT of information and A LOT of characters REALLY fast. The background of the story is DC Comics acquired several other comic publishers along with their characters (Blue Beetle, The Question and many others) however these characters weren’t brought into DC continuity. In order to bring them in and have all the stories take place on ONE single Earth, they created “Crisis On Infinite Earths”. You’re a sci-fi fan so I don’t have to explain the concept of a parallel universe to you. “Crisis On Infinite Earths” essentially gets rid of all the other universes and leaves only one. These other universes also retain duplicates of our Heroes, so there is an Earth-S which is a universe where Captain Marvel is the sole hero, there is an Earth where the heroes genders are reversed, you get the idea. If you’re willing to dive in head first into A LOT of mess “Crisis On Infinite Earths” is a GREAT place to start and thanks to things like wikipedia you won’t have to be lost.
If you’re not interested in diving in “Crisis On Infinite Earths” then I recommend Geoff Johns’ run on “Teen Titans”, but I STRONGLY encourage you to pick up “The Judas Contract” before you get to those. Reading list is as followed:
The New Teen Titans” The Judas Contract
Teen Titans: A Kid’s Game
Teen Titans: Family Lost
Teen Titans: Beast Boys & Girls
Teen Titans: The Future Is Now
Teen Titans/ The Outsiders: The Insider
Teen Titans: Life & Death (Hold off reading this one UNTIL you read “Infinite Crisis, because this is a tie-in)
Teen Titans: Titans Around The World
Teen Titans: Titans East
This team of The Teen Titans features a character known as Conner Kent a.k.a Superboy. He was one of the characters introduced after “The Death Of Superman” arc, which if you’re interested I’d suggest that too just to get some background on those characters. I’m telling you this so you won’t be like “Why is Superman dressed like that ?”. As for Batman from what I hear any of his books are good but the ones I’d recommend:
Batman: The Long Halloween
Batman: No Man’s Land
Batman: Face The Face
Batman: The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul
Batman: Batman & Son
Batman: The Black Glove
Batman: R.I.P (hold off on this one because it’s a tie in to “Final Crisis”)
Keep in mind I am VERY sketchy on the reading order of these but I am 100% certain of the ordering of the last 6. I also hear “The Night Of Owls” story arc is very good, I plan on picking that up once the trade comes out and if you’re interested I’ll give you my fully assessment. Moving on, if you wanna get a hold of some team books to get introduced to a lot of character without too much stress, check out The Justice League of America and The Justice Society Of America. Although I don’t own any of their books myself (because I’m broke) I am familiar enough with the stories.
JLA: Tower Of Babel (Excellent read)
JLA: The Tornado’s Path
JLA: The Lightning Saga (although THIS is a tie-in to The Legion Of Superheroes and The JSA, so I’ll recommend those as well below, but you can read this and not be too confused)
JLA: The Injustice League
The list goes on and on. As for The Justice Society Of America
JSA: The Next Age
JSA: The Lightning Saga (See what I mean)
JSA: Thy Kingdom Come Parts 1-3 (this is a 3 part series loosely tying to Alex Ross’s one shot, alternate earth story “Kingdom Come”, good read, although it is outside DC continuity)
JSA: Black Adam & Isis (Don’t read this until you read “52″ and “Black Adam: the Dark Ages”)
The list goes on and on from there.
Legion Of Superheroes, I mostly followed Mark Waid and Barry Kitson’s Legion (better artwork in my opinion and Brainiac 5 looked perfect) If you keep in mind that there are ALWAYS alternate universes in The DC Universe your head won’t explode as much when you start reading “The Lightning Saga” as it re-introduces the Post-Zero Hour Legion. “Zero Hour” is another story I’ll get into later when we cover MASSIVE cross overs. Anyways for Legion Of Superheroes check out:
Legion of Superheroes: Teenage Revolution
Legion Of Superheroes: Death Of Dream Girl
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes: Strange Visitor from Another Century (this is sort of an “Infinite Crisis” tie-in but you can read it)
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes: Adult Education
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes: The Dominator War
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes: The Quest for Cosmic Boy
Legion of Super-Heroes: Enemy Rising
Legion of Super-Heroes: Enemy Manifest
JLA: The Lightning Saga
Superman & The Legion Of Superheroes
And the list goes on and on…
And now for MASSIVE cross-overs. As I’ve mentioned before “Crisis On Infinite Earths” gets the ball rolling on that, this is the oldest of all the books on this list and it’s also the beginning of The Crisis trilogy in DC comics. So I’d suggest before picking up “Infinite Crisis” you’d better read “Crisis On Infinite Earths”. The Crisis Trilogy reading list will go like this:
Crisis On Infinite Earths
Zero Hour: Crisis In Time
Identity Crisis (although not the best story, it sets up a few things down the road)
The OMAC Project
Day Of Vengeance
52 (NOT the NEW 52, but a comic book series titled “52″ it’s 52 issues available in 4 trade paperback books EXCELLENT read!)
World War III
Black Adam: The Dark Ages
Death Of The New Gods
Exhausted yet ? Hopefully I did what you asked. I would elaborate on these more, but I always find it best for new readers to discover the world for themselves rather than listen to me pontificate on what’s there. Like I said Wikipedia is your friend here and also DC.wikia.com will be a boon to you as well. Happy Hunting, Good Luck and God Bless!
Thanks Ugo, for putting all this together. So, who’s going to rep Marvel out there?
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