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Comic Books for Beginners?


ScottyB
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Recently I've been doing a lot based around comic adaptations such as watching films and playing games, and it's got me wanting to start reading the comics; I've tried to research where to start but I'm totally lost as where to begin. So would someone please give me a nudge in the right direction, primarily on Batman/Spiderman/X Men.
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The only one I know too much about is Batman really and, in that sense, it really depends on what you're after.

 

Broadly speaking, I'd say start with either The Dark Knight Returns or The Long Halloween, then The Killing Joke and Knightfall (which is, very roughly, the story of the movie The Dark Knight Rises), all of which are available in large-paperback form from beginning to end, so there's no need to buy each individual comic.

 

If you want something much shorter and MUCH weirder, try out Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On A Serious Earth which is absolutely f*cking mental. Think Batman meets American Horror Story.

 

I'm saying that all assuming that you basically know how Batman and his pals roughly are, because most of those books I've recommended have little to no back story (apart from The Killing Joke, which is entirely backstory).

 

If you want absolute from-the-off backstory to the Batman character, there's about a billion origin stories, but the most universally accepted one right now is Batman: Year One, which is also awesome.

 

So, yeah, I'd say, if you want the full story, go, in order;

 

1 - Batman: Year One

2 - The Dark Knight Returns

3 - The Long Halloween

4 - The Killing Joke

5 - Knightfall

6 - Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth

Edited by John Hancock
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I know next to nothing about Batman, so I'll let jonny boy have that one, but I will say that the new 52 thing at DC is only a year or so old, so it wouldn't be too much hassle to get hold of 12 back issues or anything.

 

As for Marvel, MARVEL NOW! has just started, so it might be worth starting fresh again. There's a new Avengers/X-men team called Uncanny Avengers, and there'll be new Captain america, Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-man and Avengers titles coming out over the next couple of months (Spider-man's current run will finish with issue 700 and then restart with Superior Spider-man in January.)

 

As jonny said it depends where you want to start, there are loads of Spiderman back issues I could recommend, but with Superior starting in January I don't know how much of it will be necessary, rumours abound that Peter Parker won't be Spider-man in the new title.

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My favorite Spider-Man series (and probably favorite comic series full stop) is Evil That Men Do. It's more adult than a regular Spidey story, has a deep and interesting plot along with good action, and a healthy smattering of guest characters. It won't introduce you to the current continuity in any way if that's what you're after but it's a great story in it's own right. I'd also recommend the first run of Ultimate Spider-Man (before Miles Morales took over the mask). Bendis and Bagley are amazing together and I don't think I can remember a bad arc in that series.

 

I can't comment much on Batman but if you have an iPad or another device that has Comixology on it there's the Legends of the Dark Knight series that I really like. They're just short, self contained stories about Batman that come out every week or so for 69p.

 

I read loads of the old X-Men but I find it gets very confusing very quickly since there's so many of them. Personally, I'd take a look at Ultimate X-Men. The original one not the new one. I read all those and they're much easier to follow since the Ultimate universe is smaller and newer than the regular Marvel universe so it's not had as much time to get too convoluted (or at least it hadn't back then). I think the characters are better rounded and more realistic in Ultimate X-Men too since they were conceived in modern times rather than the 60s.

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The Black Mirror is pretty awesome, one of my favourites, and I really liked Joker by Azzarello. Joker only has a minor appearance from Batman though. And BM doesn't have Wayne as Batman, still they are great stories. Court of Owls is great for the most part. I always liked ''The Cult'' too, not a lot of people rate is as highly as me though.
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and I really liked Joker by Azzarello. Joker only has a minor appearance from Batman though.

 

 

I'm planning on getting this one as well. I don't mind that Batman is hardly in it because I love the Joker & he is a strong enough character to have a book revolve around him and from the reviews I've read its a dark portrayal of The Joker which is always the best way to go

Edited by Edgehead
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This time last year this could easily have been my thread, and I had some incredible fortune to walk into a comic shop (my local one :)) the week DC's New 52 launched, so I picked up Detective #1 and Batman #1 the week after.

 

I always wanted to read Batman comics but didn't know where to jump in. This was perfect timing.

 

Detective started off phenomenally with the Doll-Maker who cut off the Joker's face, and then kinda petered out and the writer was replaced after 12 issues.

 

Go to your comic shop and pick up Batman #13 that's just been released. It's a huge deal as it's the next big Joker story and it's already giving me a big fat boner, not to mention countless geeks worldwide.

 

Issues 1-12 was the aforementioned "Court of Owls" tale, and that's a belter too. If you've got £30 on you, you should easily be able to pick up the first 13 Batman (by Scott Snyder) issues.

 

Cheers!

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This is sort of where I am now. Having not read comics since I was a kid a friend overseas sent me the first 15 (I think) walking dead graphic novels. I loved them - forgot how much I enjoyed comics when I was younger.

I've watched a few superhero films in the last few months and realised how much I like them.

I've been told I'd enjoy the Batman comics/books so might just take the plunge!

Any other suggestions would be welcome.

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There's a graphic version of Game of Thrones out at the minute that's pretty cool. I like Empowered, even thought it started out as some kind of fetish/bondage strip, it's turned into a really awesome little story. And it's drawn by the dude who did the US version of Dirty Pair.

 

Chew is excellent, although it sees to have petered out a little over the last 3 or 4 issues. Invincible was pretty cool too, but that also has gone a bit off recently.

 

I recommend The Boys, which is Garth Ennis' latest. That's great, but really grim and violent in places. Much like Preacher. Which is something else you should read. You also can't go wrong with the Scott Pilgrim books, I Kill Giants, 100 Bullets, and all the Marvel Zombies books have been pretty fun too.

 

I'll be back when I've thought of more no doubt...

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If you like The Walking Dead then try Haunt. It's by the same writer and has Todd McFarlane doing the artwork. Also, as much as I think the guys a bit of a nob, Mark Millar is yet to write a bad comic series. There are a couple that are a tad self indulgent, but Kick Ass and Nemesis are two of the best one off comics I've ever read.
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I thought there were a couple of absolutely jaw-dropping moments in it (the dogs head, and the photo from prison) but it seemed like all the little references and nods to past comic books were gone, and in it's place was 'lets see how much blood and guts we can fit on each page', with no real substance behind it. To me, it felt like it was really rushed. Shit is maybe too harsh a word, disappointing is probably better.

 

Having said that, Hit Girl is awesome.

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Frank Miller before he went bat shit crazy was really good; the afore mentioned Dark Knight Returns (avoid DK2 though) - Batman Year One, Any of the Sin City books, Dardevil Born Again - all worth checking.

 

Check out Watchmen and From Hell and V For Vendetta by Alan Moore as well, the movies were good but the books are better.

 

Torso by Brian Michael Bendis is well worth a read too; as is classic Iron Man "Demon In A Bottle" and "Armor Wars" - and for "out there" try Transmetropolitan.

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Taken Hancocks advice and ordered Batman Year One. Part of me hopes I hate comics, because this could turn into a very expensive hobby.

 

Oh f*ck yeah. I've spent at least £150 on comic books this year, and my Amazon wish-list is telling me I have another £150 to go before I can ever be happy or feel like a complete person.

 

My current to-buy/read list is;

 

Hellboy: Library Edition Volume 1

100 Bullets: Book 3

The Walking Dead: Book

Alice In Sunderland: An Entertainment

Marvel Platinum: The Incredible Hulk

Marvel Platinum: The Avengers

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1910

The Horror, The Horror: The Best of E.C. Comics

Chew: Omnivore Volume 2

American Vampire: Volume 2

The Walking Dead: Book 8

Edited by John Hancock
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