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Enggboy New Reader
10/2/15 1:02 p.m.

Hello All,

Seeing as this place is like a really helpful Siri ("Hey GRM, where can I get good hummus in Baton Rouge?"), I thought I would poll the forum-ites for some help on where to start if I wanted to get into reading some comics.

I have never read comics seriously, just a few Archie's when I was a kid, and the newspaper funnies (I love Calvin and Hobbes), but I thought it may be fun to start reading some now on my bus/train commute. The trouble is: where do I start?

I have enjoyed the Avengers movies, and the Agents of Shield TV show, so I am thinking that the Marvel universe may be more in line with my tastes, but where should I start/what should I look for to make sure I don't try to pick something up halfway through a story arc, or something that needs a lot of backstory (that I won't know) in order to be understandable/coherent.

Any help you could drop on me would be appreciated!


mrhappy HalfDork
10/2/15 1:07 p.m.

Anything by frank miller or alan moore. Id start with millers batman books.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/2/15 1:08 p.m.
mrhappy wrote: Anything by frank miller or alan moore. Id start with millers batman books.

Yep, start here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Knight_Returns

And it's still available new: http://www.amazon.com/Batman-The-Dark-Knight-Returns/dp/1563893428

ultraclyde UltraDork
10/2/15 1:09 p.m.

My wife just started reading too. She picked up some kind of reader app for her android tablet and has been able to sample a bunch of stuff that way and define her tastes.

If only I could remember the name of the app....

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/2/15 1:10 p.m.

I managed a comic store back in the mid-90's, although I don't buy/read much of them anymore. The best advice I can offer is to go to the store get a few books and start reading. Over time, certain writers and artists will appeal to you. A good way to jump in is to buy graphic novel "collections" of monthly books that cover a story arc, sometimes over a few volumes.

Karacticus Reader
10/2/15 1:17 p.m.

Some non super hero-ish things:

Neil Gaiman's Sandman (takes a bit to find it's legs)

Essex County (Canadians, sentimental)

The Five Fists of Science

The Nightly News

Planetary (ok, superheros)


Y: The Last Man

Gearheadotaku PowerDork
10/2/15 1:25 p.m.

For less capes and more laughs, try "Empowered" by Adam Warren. "Danger Girl" is a good one too (can't remember the artists).

Try some Manga. "GunsmithCats" by Kenici Sonoda is awesome. Lots of well drawn muscle cars and good action scenes.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/2/15 1:27 p.m.

And I admit, I haven't bought a comic since college. Back then we collected Dinosaurs for Hire and The Trouble With Girls.

Duke MegaDork
10/2/15 1:35 p.m.
mrhappy wrote: Anything by frank miller or alan moore. Id start with millers batman books.

Yeah, you can do a lot worse than this. I'd also look into Neil Gaiman's Sandman compendium editions. I've been mostly out of comics for a decade or more, so I'm not current. I second the suggestion to just go to a few comics shops and browse. See what's appealing and buy a few.

moparman76_69 UltraDork
10/2/15 1:36 p.m.

I haven't been into comics for 10-15 years. I'm a marvel universe guy though. Which characters are you drawn to most? Are you looking for reading material or collectablity or both?

The Marvel universe works on the theory of alternate dimensions, to try and bring different artist depictions of characters into a cohesive universe. The Marvel movies made by Marvel/Disney are considered one version of Earth, while the Fox mutant movies are considered another, while different comic story arcs are in other "alternate Earths."

If you want reading material and somewhat of a preview of the upcoming Marvel movie universe events pick up the graphic novel collection of the civil war series of comics. The story spans several comics (X-men, Iron Man, Spiderman, Fantastic Four, etc.) and the original issues were highly collectable when they first were issued.

If you want more Wolverine, you can get Graphic Novel versions of Origins and The End. I'd start there and then jump into his title series.

Also I'd hit up used bookstores. They usually have the non collectable issues for .50 to a buck in price.

bastomatic UltraDork
10/2/15 1:59 p.m.

Let me preface this by saying I don't like traditional superhero comics for the most part. But I did love all of the Frank Miller stuff.

If you don't mind nudity, Saga is just about the best thing out there. Fiona Staples is the artist, and she's definitely got her own style. She's also illustrating the new Archie, which looks just great.

I liked Alan Moore's Swamp Thing books. Any of his titles are great though.

Sex Criminals and Mind MGMT are extremely well-written non-superhero books. Both are available in Trade Paperback collections now (TPB).

Someone above mentioned Jeff Lemire's Essex County. I LOVED his series Sweet Tooth, which has completed its run and is available in TPB. He has a couple new titles out, and I'm really enjoying his comic "Descender" right now.

Seriously though, pick up the first book of Saga.

Duke MegaDork
10/2/15 2:21 p.m.

I just finished the SAGA Book One compendium, and yeah, it's pretty darn good.

I will also say that some of the best comics aren't necessarily in print. Check out Dreseden Codak.

Morbid HalfDork
10/2/15 2:30 p.m.

The only comic series' I've ever followed are the recent Marvel Star Wars editions. I'm actively purchasing/reading Marvel Star Wars (current issue is #9, so still fairly new), Lando (current issue is #4) and Star Wars Shattered Empire, which brand new in the last couple weeks. I got behind and didn't get the Kanan, Darth Vader or Leia series', which I'm ok with right now.

As far as finding something that interests you, think about the movies/fandoms that you like and pick something up. Usually starting in the middle of a series isn't a big deal, as you can pick up what's happening fairly easily. With all of the comics available right now, it's likely your favorite show has a tie-in series as well.

WilD HalfDork
10/2/15 3:16 p.m.

I've picked up a few "graphic novels" as an adult and I also recomend The Dark Night Returns or Watchmen as good places to start. There is a lot of other popular stuff out there available in book form, The Walking Dead, Sandman, Batman: The Killing Joke, Bone, etc...

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/2/15 4:02 p.m.
Morbid wrote: With all of the comics available right now, it's likely your favorite show has a tie-in series as well.

True. If you're a fan of the series/movie Firefly/Serenity, there are a few graphic novels out for it, authorized by the creator (and written by his brother, I believe).

Javelin MegaDork
10/2/15 4:04 p.m.

I've also just gotten back in it with Star Wars, Darth Vader (excellent), Lando, and Shattered Empire. They are all extremely good!

Lesley PowerDork
10/2/15 4:12 p.m.

The Watchmen, anything by Bernie Wrightson, Jeff Jones, or Moebius. Heavy Metal and Epic magazines are a fabulous way to discover new artists.

Appleseed MegaDork
10/2/15 5:09 p.m.

I might add that once you pick a series that you like, trade paperbacks can get you caught up/ fill in the back story much cheaper than buying individual back issues.

Also, go to your local library. They will have many collections to look at. That way you can find out what you like with no cost to you.

Ironically, I'm reading Dave Stevens' The Rocketeer right at this moment.

failboat UberDork
10/2/15 5:27 p.m.

I've never really been into comics or graphic novels, but when the watchmen movie was coming out I wanted to read the "book" first. For someone that has no experience with such things it was pretty good.

vwcorvette Dork
10/3/15 8:50 a.m.

Any of the collected works by Walter Simonson during his run on THOR, beginning with #337.

vwcorvette Dork
10/3/15 8:51 a.m.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
10/3/15 9:54 a.m.

I'd say worry less about a particular universe, and look for particular writers and artists who you gravitate towards. Here are a couple great writers and some of their best works:

Alan Moore (if you like dense, intellectual, heavy, and frequently darker stories)
Batman: The Killing Joke
V for Vendetta
Swamp Thing

Frank Miller (dark, sharp artwork with good story)
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Sin City

Mike Mingnola (bold, asymetric art with mythological stories)

Neil Gaiman (clever, grand, quirky stories)

Other great series worth getting into: Bone
Y, the Last Man

Bone and Watchmen are both some of my all-time favorite works of literature, and I was an English major.

Bone is in my top-5 favorite books, along with Good Omens, The Hobbit, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Stranger in a Strange Land. It is one of the finest works of epic literature since Lord of the Rings. It is elegantly simple like a really good Pixar film or a Looney Toons cartoon, where it makes is so humorous and whimsical that you don't realize until you're fully engaged how deep, nuanced, and serious the full story is. You could share it with an elementary school student (although Empire Strikes Back levels of PG violence will lead to discussions with younger children), and both thoroughly enjoy it. The pacing and depth is perfect, where it starts lighthearted and slowly gets heavier, more complicated, darker, and more serious... but with the weight always relieved at just the right time.

Watchmen is one of the most brilliant works of literature I've ever read. I was an English major and usually end up spoiling the endings of stories for other people, because things are usually predictable. Watchmen managed to have an original ending that I was not able to predict. It managed to actually get under my skin. It is seriously dense to the point of requiring a second read to realize everything you missed (like, understanding WTF is up with the "Tales of the Black Freighter"), and it is VERY adult. It is a very meta comic, questioning and being critical of super heroes and of cold war politics.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
10/3/15 9:59 a.m.

I love the rat creatures.

nepa03focus HalfDork
10/3/15 10:13 a.m.

I just got a book of Calvin and hobbies comics at a yard sale, I was pretty pumped.

Lugnut Dork
10/3/15 10:37 a.m.

Sandman, definitely. Preacher is great. I am more Marvel-leaning than DCC-leaning, and Iron Man has always been one of my favorites. If you read by Kindle, they have graphic novels and collections available. There is one that has the first, I dunno, whole bunch of issues and you get to see the original old getting hurt in Vietnam origin story. Demon in Bottle is a pretty important Iron Man story.

If you want to be a little more in the know for the MCU movies that are coming out, all of the Civil War stories are conveniently packaged into graphic novels now. There's a timeline for them somewhere because they're a little tough to put into a good reading order because they all kind of happened and came out at once.

I really enjoy Fable, where fairy tale characters are chased out of their worlds and come to New York. It's like that show Once Upon a Time, but good and consistent, with strong characters.

Saga is terrific.

If you liked Hugh Howey's Wool stories, there's a comic adaptations of those.

But definite thumbs up for Fable.

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