I previously made a post about how I got into comic books. To sum it up, it was a very long, drawn out process, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With all these awesome movies coming out that are based on comics, it’s tempting to start reading them. It’s also very overwhelming when you find out that the world’s most favorite superheroes have an average of 600+ issues each. You really don’t have to start at volume 1 issue 1 to appreciate comic books. That’s why I’ve written a guide for how to stay current on your comics.
Step 1: Movie Night!
This is an easy way to get a back story on the superhero comics you want to read, and a good way to find out which superheroes you don’t want to read about. I would suggest watching Avengers first. If you’ve found an Avenger you really like, you can watch their individual movies. Next, I would suggest the Batman trilogy. It will introduce you to a ton of characters in the comics. Then, I would watch Man of Steel to get a good feel for Superman. You should also watch either the first Spiderman movie with Tobey Maguire or Amazing Spiderman that came out recently. Those two movies will introduce you to a lot of characters in the Spiderman universe. For extra credit, I highly recommend watching every episode of Comic Book Men. The first two seasons are on Netflix and the shows don’t take long to watch. The show basically fills in a lot of knowledge that you can’t get from just watching movies.
Step 2: Jump Right On In!
I did an experiment this past week. I was feeling kind of down because I had gotten very far behind in my reading in the Marvel Universe and even further behind in DC. Instead of piling on the reading, I decided to just read a bunch of DC and Marvel comics that came out last week to see whether I understood anything about them or not. I wanted to see if I could enjoy them anyway, or if I would be too lost. The results were pretty positive. I read the following:
Teen Titans #24
The Flash #24
Batman the Dark Knight #24 *
Daredevil #32 *
Iron Man #17 *
Justice League #24 *
Red Lanterns #24
* I absolutely adored these issues and would have missed out on them had I not jumped right in.
Out of all these, the only one where I didn’t understand what was going on was Teen Titans. The funny thing is, I don’t know anything at all about The Flash or Red Lanterns, but the way those two comics were written, I caught on to the story pretty quick and I enjoyed it. Here’s a pro-tip: Marvel comics typically have an introduction at the beginning of each issue that lets you know what’s been going on in the story so far.
Step 3: I Still Don’t Get It
Maybe my advice so far didn’t work. Here’s your backup plan. Let’s say you didn’t understand Iron Man. Just go to Google and type in “Iron Man backstory” or better yet “Iron Man wiki.” Wikipedia is your friend when it comes to comic book characters. Just take 10 minutes of your time and skim the wiki on Iron Man. Also, a lot of people make YouTube videos that sum up the life story of a certain superhero, so you can search that way. In fact, I’ve been toying with the idea myself.
Step 4: What Are You Waiting For? Go Buy Some Comics!
You could go to your local comic book store, compliments of Google Maps, but some of us don’t have a comic book store to go to. There are plenty of online comic book stores that can help you out with buying physical issues of comics you’re interested in, like Midtown Comics and Things From Another World. You can also subscribe to comics that you know you like through the DC or Marvel website. You also have the option to read digital comics, which are usually cheaper, by buying through websites like Comixology.
Well, that’s it as far as my advice is concerned. Some of you are probably like, “But Amy, Marvel and DC are not the only publishers for superhero comic books.” That’s very true. That’s why sometime in the near future, I’ll be writing about the very best non-DC non-Marvel comics. Until then, enjoy some X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy and get ready for those movies!